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23 mars 2015 1 23 /03 /mars /2015 17:20
USS John P Murtha (LPD 26) Photo Huntington Ingalls Industries

USS John P Murtha (LPD 26) Photo Huntington Ingalls Industries

 

20 March 2015 naval-technology.com

 

The US Navy is set to christen the tenth San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship on 21 March at the Huntington Ingalls Industries' (HII) shipbuilding division visitor control centre.

 

The ship is being named in honour of late John P Murtha, who represented Pennsylvania's twelfth congressional district from 1974 to 2010.

 

Having served in the Marine Corps for 37 years, Murtha saw service in the Korean War and in Vietnam, and earned the Bronze Star with Valor device, two Purple Hearts and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.

 

Launched on 30 October 2014, the LPD 26 is scheduled for delivery to the navy in 2016 and will join the first nine ships of the San Antonio-class.

 

USS Portland (LPD 27), the final ship of the current San Antonio-class, was keel laid in August 2013 and is currently under construction at HII.

 

Designed to serve as a key element of the navy's sea base transformation, the LPDs are being developed to enable deployment of the combat and support elements of marine expeditionary units and brigades.

 

Featuring a flight deck and hangar which can operate CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters and the Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft (MV-22), the LPD 26 will be equipped with a well deck capable of embarking and debarking landing crafts, air cushion, the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV), to deliver marines ashore.

 

The 684ft-long San Antonio-class ships have a displacement capacity of 25,000t and more than 23,000ft2 of vehicle storage, capable of transporting a landing force of up to 800 marines and their equipment.

 

The 11 ships will functionally replace more than 41 ships across four classes, providing the navy and marine corps with modern, sea-based platforms.

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23 mars 2015 1 23 /03 /mars /2015 17:20
USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG-54). Photo  US Navy, chief photographer's Mate Mahlon K Miller.

USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG-54). Photo US Navy, chief photographer's Mate Mahlon K Miller.

 

19 March 2015 naval-technology.com

 

The US Navy's Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54) has completed sea trials following a DDG midlife overhaul extended dry dock shipboard repair availability (EDSRA).

 

The 335-day EDSRA is said to be the longest and most extensive DDG overhaul in the history of Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF).

 

The US Naval Ship Repair Facility in Yokosuka, Japan, conducted and led the first ever availability of DDG EDSRA to upgrade the destroyer's systems and weapons, as well as perform other necessary repairs.

 

USS Curtis Wilbur combat systems officer fire controlman 1st class Deffey Moore said: "It is incredibly important right now for the junior sailors to work with senior personnel to learn not just about their new equipment but underway life in general."

 

Built by Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine, USS Curtis Wilbur is the fourth of seven Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers assigned to Destroyer Squadron 15. Curtis was commissioned in Long Beach, California, on 19 March 1994.

 

The destroyer is permanently forward-deployed to Yokosuka in Japan where it supports the security and stability of the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

 

Curtis Wilbur commanding officer, commander Hans De For said: "Curtis Wilbur worked with all of the ships on the waterfront to get our Sailors underway during the avail.

 

"With their help we were able to successfully complete this yard period with enough qualified watch standers to excel during sea trials."

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23 mars 2015 1 23 /03 /mars /2015 17:20
Northrop Grumman Names Alan Lytle Vice President, Undersea Systems

 

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – March 20, 2015 – Northrop Grumman Corporation

 

Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has named Alan Lytle vice president, Undersea Systems business unit, for the company's Electronic Systems sector, effective immediately.

 

In his new position, Lytle will have executive responsibility for all Undersea Systems programs and products involving the design, development and production of advanced undersea capabilities including submarine sensors, unmanned maritime systems, minehunting systems and torpedoes. He will be based at the company's facility in Annapolis.

 

Lytle joined the company in 2010 as director, Undersea Systems special defense programs. In 2013, he assumed the role of director, business development and strategy, focusing on emerging and growth markets in the undersea domain.

 

Prior to joining Northrop Grumman, Lytle was a principal investigator and program manager at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. His primary research areas were field robotics and 3D imaging systems. Lytle is also a U.S. Navy submarine officer and served on fast attack submarines before transitioning to the Navy Reserve. He currently holds the rank of captain.

 

Lytle earned bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees in engineering from Virginia Tech. He is also a graduate of the Naval Command and Staff program at the Naval War College.

 

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in unmanned systems, cyber, C4ISR, and logistics and modernization to government and commercial customers worldwide. Please visit www.northropgrumman.com for more information.

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23 mars 2015 1 23 /03 /mars /2015 13:50
MBDA, une entreprise pionnière de l’Europe de défense

 

23 mars 2015 par Jean-Dominique Merchet (Article paru dans L'Opinion des 16/17 mars)

 

Le constructeur de missiles, très intégré, plaide pour que les Etats acceptent la spécialisation de leurs activités industrielles

 

Si une entreprise incarne ce que pourrait être une Europe de la défense, c'est bien le constructeur de missiles MBDA. Avec toutes les ambitions et les limites de cette idée. L'ambition : une société parfaitement intégrée, codétenue par le franco-hispano-allemand Airbus, le britannique BAE Systems et l'italien Finmeccanica, qui est l'un des principaux acteurs mondiaux dans le domaine des missiles, en concurrence avec les américains Raytheon et Lockheed-Martin. Mais une entreprise qui vit, au quotidien, les petites misères de l'Europe. Son PDG, le français Antoine Bouvier, en convient (1). «Chaque pays européen veut garder ses capacités de développement de nouveaux missiles. Cette duplication des moyens rend difficile leur optimisation, contrairement à nos concurrents américains. C'est pour nous un handicap majeur», a-t-il confié lors d'une rencontre avec la presse. Sans compter l'absence de marché unique dans le domaine de l'armement, qui oblige de passer par les procédures d'exportation d'armement pour les échanges au sein même du groupe... Ou la volonté des Etats d'obtenir des retombées de leurs dépenses militaires nationales sur leurs territoires.

 

«Pour MBDA, l'objectif d'une spécialisation [de chaque pays - ndlr] est absolument fondamental. Nous devons organiser la dépendance mutuelle». Un enjeu politique qui dépasse largement les stratégies industrielles. La route est longue, mais les progrès pour modestes qu'ils soient, existent. Notamment avec le Royaume-Uni. En novembre 2010, Paris et Londres signaient les accords de Lancaster House qui posaient les bases d'une coopération entre les deux principales puissances militaires de l'Europe. Quatre ans et demi plus tard, on en voit les premiers fruits industriels au sein de MBDA. L'entreprise est parvenue à créer deux «centres d'excellence» intégrés. Désormais, l'une des pièces importantes du futur missile antichar français MMP, les «actionneurs de gouvernes», sera uniquement produit par MBDA en Angleterre, à Lostock. Dans le même temps, le banc d'essai des missiles britanniques air-sol Brimstone sera made in France, dans l'usine MBDA de Bourges. «Il faut que les Etats s'engagent à une pleine garantie d'accès» pour leur partenaires, y compris pour des marchés à l'exportation, affirme Bernard Bouvier.

 

Toujours dans le cadre d’une coopération franco-britannique, MBDA développe le futur missile anti-navire léger, conçu pour être tiré d'un hélicoptère. En matière de missile, l'Italie est un partenaire important de la France, avec les Aster, des engins sol-air dotés de capacités antimissiles, de la même famille que les Patriot américains. MBDA espère décrocher des contrats en Pologne et en Turquie. Alors que le prochain sommet de l'Otan, qui se tiendra à Varsovie en 2016, doit aborder la question de la défense antimissile, «il est absolument essentiel que l'Europe puisse apporter sa contribution» avec ses missiles, martèle Bernard Bouvier.

 

Le patron de MBDA n'ignore pas que «l'industrie de défense n'est pas une industrie comme les autres. Elle est l'un des piliers d'une stratégie de défense». Et il se réjouit que Bruxelles souhaite «renforcer l'autonomie stratégique» de l'Europe. S'il est toutefois un domaine qui échappe à l'Europe, c'est celui de la dissuasion nucléaire française, dont MBDA est l'un des acteurs de premier plan. L'entreprise développera le futur missile air-sol, successeur de l'actuel ASMPA, qui pourrait entrer en service dans une vingtaine d'années. En collaboration avec l'Onera - un organisme public - MBDA travaille sur des engins plus rapides, dit hypervéloces, et plus furtifs, afin de renforcer leurs «capacités de pénétration». Un domaine qui restera longtemps encore très hexagonal.

 

(1) Antoine Bouvier, le PDG de MBDA, a présenté lundi 16 mars les résultats annuels de son groupe. Du fait des baisses des commandes, son chiffre d'affaires a connu un «point bas» en 2014, à 2,4 milliards d'euros, mais il devrait remonter dès cette année, grâce aux succès à l'exportation. Son carnet de commandes se situe aujourd'hui à 12,6 milliards, soit quatre années d’activité. La rentabilité du groupe est «proche des 10%».

 

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23 mars 2015 1 23 /03 /mars /2015 13:20
Des satellites GPS de Boeing affectés par une erreur technique

Le premier GPS IIF de Boeing pour le compte de l'Armée américaine a été lancé le 27 mai 2010.

 

23 Mars 2015 par Dominique Filippone - lemondeinformatique.fr

 

 

L'US Air Force et Lockeed Martin travaillent à la résolution d'une erreur technique impliquant un système de contrôle au sol utilisé par certains satellites GPS IIF construits par Boeing. La précision des signaux ne serait pas perturbée par cet incident.

 

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23 mars 2015 1 23 /03 /mars /2015 11:30
Cheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Emir de l’Etat du Qatar - photo PR Elysée

Cheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Emir de l’Etat du Qatar - photo PR Elysée

Dans le domaine de l'armement, le jeune émir Tamim ben Hamad Al Thani fait lanterner la France.

 

23/03/2015 Michel Cabirol – LaTribune.fr

 

Sait-on en France qui décide au Qatar à l'exception de l'émir ? Pas sûr car cela semble aujourd'hui éminemment plus complexe... C'est d'ailleurs peut-être pour cela que la France avance en aveugle sur le Rafale à Doha, qui n'a toujours pas répondu à un courrier envoyé par François Hollande il y a une vingtaine de jours environ.

 

Mais que veut finalement Doha? C'est la question qui trotte dans la tête de la plupart des dirigeants des grands groupes de l'armement français. Car, près de deux ans après son accession au trône, le jeune émir Tamim ben Hamad Al Thani n'a conclu ni dans un sens dans l'autre aucune des campagnes commerciales qui sont très prometteuses pour la France, y compris celles où un protocole d'accord a déjà été signé comme pour les (hélicoptères de transport NH90 (Airbus Helicopters) et les avions ravitailleurs MRTT (Airbus Defence).

Toutefois, ces campagnes prometteuses le sont depuis plus de trois ans maintenant alors que la Coupe du Monde, prévue en hiver 2022, approche à grand pas. "Nous avons deux interrogations, résume pour "La Tribune" un patron du secteur, nous ne connaissons pas clairement les objectifs de Qatar en matière d'achats d'armement et nous n'avons pas identifié quels sont les leviers à actionner pour faire avancer un dossier quand il arrive au Palais". Car, clairement une fois qu'un dossier est transmis par le ministère de la Défense au Palais de l'émir, il se perd dans les couloirs.

 

Le Palais, une boite noire?

"Le Palais est une véritable boite noire, nous ne savons pas ce qui s'y passe", confirment des sources concordantes, qui connaissent pourtant très bien le pays. "Au Qatar, c'est extrêmement compliqué, souligne un industriel qui négocie depuis plus de 20 ans avec les Qataris. Et si l'on regarde ce qu'a fait Hamad Ben Khalifa Al-Thani dans l'armement, il n'a pas fait une seule opération d'envergure entre 1995-2013, mais en revanche il a beaucoup pratiqué la diplomatie financière. Conclusion, le Qatar fait très peu d'acquisition dans la défense à l'exception du domaine défense anti-aérienne pour protéger les installations gazières".

Ce qui fait dire aujourd'hui à certains grands industriels que la garde rapprochée de l'ancien émir, et/ou ce dernier lui-même tire encore les ficelles. Toutefois, Tamim ben Hamad Al Thani s'appuierait beaucoup sur le chef d'état-major des forces armées qatariennes, le général Ghanim bin Shaheen al Ghanim qui aurait sa confiance.

 

Une lettre de François Hollande à Al Thani

Du coup, la France rame. Mais le fil des discussions n'est pas rompu. Loin de là. En piste pour la vente de 24 Rafale (+ 12 option), Dassault Aviation et ses partenaires (Safran et Thales) ont récemment envoyé une proposition engageante (Best and final offer) à Doha, qui aurait fait tiquer. Dans la foulée, François Hollande a envoyé il y a une vingtaine de jours un courrier à l'émir Al Thani. Pas de réponse à ce jour, selon nos informations, alors qu'en novembre l'émir souhaitait pourtant conclure les négociations sur le Rafale avant la fin de 2014. D'ailleurs, il aurait été très mécontent que l'Égypte lui souffle le premier contrat Rafale, et l'aurait fait savoir à son équipe de négociateurs.

L'autre dossier prioritaire concerne la vente des trois frégates ATBM (défense antimissile balistique) de 4.000 tonnes, armées de missiles Aster 30 (MBDA et Thales) et de missiles mer-mer Exocet (MBDA). Un dossier à 2,5 milliards environ (sans les armements) qui avance plutôt bien.

 

Et les États-Unis?

Ce qui vaut pour la France, vaut également pour les autres pays. Y compris les États-Unis, qui ont pourtant convoqué les Qataris à Washington pour les obliger à signer des contrats. Mais à ce jour, selon les sources interrogées par La Tribune, rien n'a été signé, y compris les accords d'une valeur de 11 milliards de dollars annoncés en juillet 2014 entre Doha et Washington (missiles Patriot et hélicoptères Apache).

Lors de IDEX à Abu Dhabi en février, de très nombreux hauts responsables qataris sont partis en plein cœur du salon pour Washington pour négocier d'autres accords d'une valeur de plus de 20 milliards de dollars. Notamment l'acquisition d'environ 70 avions de combat F-15 de Boeing avec un volet support très complet, comprenant la mise à disposition de pilotes américains. "Les F-15 pourraient passer avant le Rafale", craint-on même à Paris.

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23 mars 2015 1 23 /03 /mars /2015 08:35
Soryu class submarines (photo kure-news)

Soryu class submarines (photo kure-news)


18 March 2015 by Aurelia George Mulgan, Professor at the University of New South Wales, Canberra.- Pacific Sentinel
 

In July 2014, the Abe government adopted the ‘Three Principles on Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology’, which approved Japanese weapons exports as long as certain conditions are met.

 

Based on this new, less restrictive policy on weapons exports Japan has concluded two major deals. The first is to supply surface-to-air missile parts to the US and the second to conduct joint research on air-to-air missiles with the United Kingdom. The proposed Australian submarine deal would eclipse both of these in terms of scale and significance.

 

Japan is yet to respond to the Australian government’s announcement that there would be a ‘competitive evaluation process’ to build Australia’s next submarine. But the Japanese Minister for Defense, Gen Nakatani, expressed a wish to hold talks with the Australian government regarding the matter. The Japanese government now understands that the submarine procurement issue is intertwined with Australia’s domestic politics and ‘is keeping a close eye on Abbott’.

 

Despite critical commentary in the Japanese press on the Australian government’s policy backflip, speculation continues that Japan’s Soryu-class submarines are the most likely candidate to replace Australia’s ageing Collins-class submarines. The expectation is that cooperation with Japan will continue because Australian companies are ‘incapable of building submarines on their own’.

 

In early January 2015, the Japanese press reported that the Ministry of Defense (MOD) had proposed joint development and production of the submarine with Australia. Instead of exporting a completed Soryu-class submarine, the proposal suggested joint development of new technology for material that absorbs sound waves and special steel that would be used to manufacture the hull.

 

Japan would be in charge of producing the main parts of the hull and assembling the submarines, while Australia would be in charge of producing some of the parts as well as the final building and maintenance. A Japanese MOD official noted that assembling the submarines in Australia would lead to higher costs and might affect the quality and safety of the product.

 

Other reports point to Japanese caution about completely handing over its submarine technology to Australia. Submarines are categorised as the ‘most sensitive of all sensitive information’. For this reason the Japanese military, and especially the Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) whose cooperation will be essential if the deal goes ahead, has major reservations about the deal. MSDF officers ‘don’t tell colleagues, let alone family members, where a submarine is headed after it leaves port’. Japan and the US, which share some information gathered by submarines, do not share the location or ability of each submarine.

 

But the Abe government judged that sharing Japan’s submarine technology with Australia would lead to a strengthening of the production capacity of Japan’s domestic enterprises. The fact that Prime Minister Abe decided to examine the provision of Soryu-class submarine technology to Australia despite opposition from the MOD was regarded as proof that he considers Australia to be a ‘quasi-ally’.

 

The Abe administration is gradually putting in place the necessary policy, institutional and financial support framework to enable Japan’s defence industries to become significant players in the international weapons and defence technology market. In 2015, the Japanese government will launch a Defence Equipment Agency in the MOD. The new agency will have centralised control over defence equipment development, acquisition and exports. It will lead the expansion of weapons exports and is part of the so-called ‘Abe line’ that links the development of defence enterprises with the government’s growth strategy.

 

The MOD’s 2014 Strategy on Defense Production and Technological Bases includes financial assistance for the overseas expansion of defence enterprises and funding to research institutions that work on developing technology that can be used in weapons and equipment. A new executive panel for promoting weapons exports and joint development was also appointed to the MOD in December 2014. It will help the ministry to respond to the many requests for a framework to support the private enterprises involved and establish a system to determine the needs and technological standards of partner countries.

 

While the government has given the green light to weapons sales, companies that manufacture defence equipment are more mindful of the difficult practicalities of particular deals and the need to gain real profits. Some have strong reservations about the Australian submarine deal. An executive of Kawasaki Heavy Industries remarked ‘there is no way Australia will be able to look after the submarines properly even if we give it to them’. But at this stage it is ‘almost impossible’ for a private company to become even partially involved in the operations of the Australian Navy.

 

If the agreement goes ahead this deal could signal an inseparable security relationship between Australia, Japan and the US with both Japan and the US supplying their relevant technology to Australia and cooperating in Australia’s submarine development.

 

For Prime Minister Abe, weapons exports are a key element in a broader strategy of building a network of ‘quasi-alliances’, which includes Australia, India and Southeast Asian countries, with the Japan–US alliance maintained as the strategic ‘trump card’.

 
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23 mars 2015 1 23 /03 /mars /2015 08:35
Korea Aerospace Industries FA-50 fighter (KAI photo)

Korea Aerospace Industries FA-50 fighter (KAI photo)

 

21 March 2015 By Jose Katigbak, STAR Washington bureau – Pacific Sentinel

 

WASHINGTON – The Philippines is planning to purchase 24 more combat aircraft, adding to the 12 FA-50 fighter jets it had ordered from South Korea in 2014, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said.

 

It did not specify when or from whom the aircraft would be ordered.

 

The FA-50s were the first order by the Philippines for advanced combat aircraft in decades amid the increasing tensions with China over disputed territories in the South China Sea.

 

The SIPRI report from Stockholm on Monday said the five biggest weapons exporters in 2010-14 were the United States, Russia, China, Germany and France, and the five biggest importers were India, Saudi Arabia, China, United Arab Emirates and Pakistan.

 

The top five exporters were responsible for almost 74 percent of all arms exports.

 

Read the full story at The Philippine Star

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22 mars 2015 7 22 /03 /mars /2015 12:50
A26 submarine - credits : Saab-Kockums

A26 submarine - credits : Saab-Kockums

 

March 20, 2015 By Gerard O'Dwyer – Defense News

 

HELSINKI — The Swedish government's approval of $700 million in new funding to bolster naval capacity forms part of a wide-ranging capital investment plan to significantly advance the military's surface warship presence in the Baltic Sea and submarine hunting capabilities.

The special funding is intended to be used by the Navy for core investment programs in 2016-2020.

In its funding proposal, the Armed Forces Command (AFC), envisaged a more expansive naval-strengthening plan costing up to $2 billion. The government's response has been to announce the purchase of two new A26-class submarines. The capital budget earmarked for the A26-class submarine acquisition amounts to $950 million.

Saab-Kockums, which signed in June 2014 a letter of intent covering the A26's design and development, is expected to secure the contract and deliver the two submarines by 2022.

 

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22 mars 2015 7 22 /03 /mars /2015 12:50
U.S. Black Hawks in Iraq. Photo:U.S. Department of Defense/Army Sgt. 1st Class Antony Joseph.

U.S. Black Hawks in Iraq. Photo:U.S. Department of Defense/Army Sgt. 1st Class Antony Joseph.

 

LODZ, Poland, March 20 By Richard Tomkins (UPI)

 

Sikorsky Aircraft and PZL Mielec promise to invest $200 million in Polish Military Aviation Works facilities if they win the contract.

 

Sikorsky Aircraft and its Polish subsidiary will invest in Polish Military Aviation Works facilities if awarded a government contract for new military helicopters.

 

PZL Mielec said the investment would be nearly $200 million and establish service and repair units for UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters in plants of Polish Military Aviation Works, or WZL-1, in the cities of Lodz and Deblin.

 

"For WZL-1 it will be a technological revolution," said PZL Mielec. "Above all, it is the acquisition of new technology and competence in the field of aircraft service and repairs, replacement of machines and devices, and most importantly a move away from the current 'Soviet' approach to the service of aviation equipment and replacing it with 'Western' methodology."

 

"The acquired competences are also the chance for WZL-1 to join to the global support and service network of Sikorsky Aircraft and achieve in the future opportunity for providing improvements and modernization to the worldwide fleet of Black Hawk helicopters."

 

The Polish military plans to acquire as many as 200 helicopters -- transport as well as combat -- in the coming years to modernize its aviation capabilities.

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22 mars 2015 7 22 /03 /mars /2015 12:35
RTAF to deploy IFS applications for F-5E/F engines maintenance management

IFS Applications will be deployed to manage the maintenance of the Royal Thai Air Force's fleet of 25 F-5E/F fighter jet engines. Photo USAF

 

20 March 2015 airforce-technology.com

 

The Royal Thai Air Force's (RTAF) Directorate of Aeronautical Engineering (DAE) has selected IFS to manage the maintenance of jet engines of the service's fleet of 25 F-5E/F fighter aircraft.

 

The company will deploy its IFS Applications 8 suite to maintain RTAF's fleet of fighter planes that includes 47 J85-GE-21B/C jet engines.

 

This solution is scheduled to replace the existing manual and paper-based processes. It will improve the accuracy of maintenance information available to engineers on the ground, ensuring availability of the aircraft at all times.

 

Royal Thai Air Force Directorate of Aeronautical Engineering said: "We chose IFS Applications because it offered us a comprehensive and proven industry solution that could help standardise our maintenance processes across the entire fleet.

 

"We were particularly impressed with the user interface of IFS Applications, and the solution is also being delivered in local language, which is a huge bonus for us in ensuring ease-of-use within the air force."

 

IFS South-East Asia vice-president Sridharan Arumugam said: "IFS has seen positive double-digit growth across Thailand for the past five or six years, and this is a key region for future growth for the company.

 

"This is a key aerospace and defence organisation in this region and is a testament to the company's global expertise in this industry."

 

In addition, the comprehensive enterprise resource planning solution is expected to aid the air force in managing processes with third party suppliers, and improving collaboration to ensure availability of right part at the right time.

 

First phase of implementation at the Engine Maintenance Division, DAE at Don Muang Air Force Base, near Bangkok, is anticipated to go live in January 2016, and the solution will then be rolled out to the Wing 21 in Ubon Ratchathani Air Base, which is the home of F-5E/F aircraft.

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22 mars 2015 7 22 /03 /mars /2015 12:20
SecAF: KC-46 First Flight 'Hopefully' Summer

 

March 19, 2015 By AARON MEHTA – Defense News

 

WASHINGTON — The Air Force secretary expects the KC-46A tanker to have its first flight sometime over the summer, a "several month" delay for a milestone on the program.

 

The timeline laid out for Defense News by Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James clarifies comments made Tuesday by Brig. Gen. Duke Richardson, program executive officer for tankers, that the tanker was going to miss the expected first flight date of mid-April.

 

"It is concerning me," James said in a Thursday interview. "My best belief, at this point, is it will be a several-month delay. So hopefully summertime is when it would occur."

 

This is not the first delay of a major test point on the tanker. The first test flight of a Boeing 767-2C, a test version of the KC-46A without the refueling boom and other tanker equipment, was scheduled for June 2014; it eventually occurred just before the New Year.

 

Executives for Boeing have emphasized that its focus is on a contractual obligation to provide 18 ready-to-go tankers on the ramp by 2017, and noted that first flight dates are targets, not obligations.

 

James did say that the KC-46 program has some good news, noting that the costs are capped and the company is largely on track for its major contractual requirements.

 

However, Richardson warned on Tuesday that the margin built into the schedule was essentially gone, and that any delay in getting that first flight up was a concern because of the need to get air worthiness certifications.

 

James echoed Richardson's concern about the lack of margin, and added that Boeing has submitted a new integrated master schedule, laying out its internal target dates, for review by the Air Force.

 

"The worrying news is that underneath those contractual and milestone requirements, there are a whole lot of other milestones," James said. "This is the internal plan for how do you get from here to there to meet the milestones. That's where there have been challenges and slippages and so forth, so that is the worrying part."

 

The KC-46A will replace the majority of the service's tanker fleet with 179 new planes, based on a Boeing commercial design.

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22 mars 2015 7 22 /03 /mars /2015 12:20
USAF funds sense-and-avoid technology development

The Air Force is funding development of sense-and-avoid systems for remotely piloted aircraft, such as this MQ-9 Reaper. USAF photo:Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson

 

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio, March 20 By Richard Tomkins (UPI)

 

The U.S. Air Force has given funding to an Ohio company to research and develop electro-optical sensors for sense-and-avoid systems for airborne remotely piloted vehicles.

 

The U.S. Air Force reports it is providing nearly $1.5 million in SBIR funding for development and maturation of sense-and-avoid technology for remotely piloted aircraft.

 

The funding, through its Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer program, was given to Defense Research Associates Inc. of Ohio, whose research focuses on electro-optical sensors for detecting and tracking potential obstacles to remotely piloted vehicles in flight, The Air Force said.

 

The company's research is expected to uncover other technologies to improve SAA systems and prepare them for transition to engineering and manufacturing development and initial low-rate production.

 

"In addition to the SBIR funding, this program leverages more than $2 million in additional funding from the Airborne Sense and Avoid program, managed by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base," the Air Force said. "These funds will help ensure the Phase II effort graduates into a Phase III program that successfully transitions its technologies into military or private sector."

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22 mars 2015 7 22 /03 /mars /2015 08:55
Leclerc-VBCI (Nexter- photo G. Belan) - LEOPARD 2 A5 (KMW)

Leclerc-VBCI (Nexter- photo G. Belan) - LEOPARD 2 A5 (KMW)

 

March 21, 2015 By Pierre Tran – Defense News

 

PARIS — Nexter and German family-controlled Krauss Maffei-Wegmann are on track to forge a cross-border link up in the land weapons sector this year, the French state-owned company said.

 

"On July 1, 2014, the shareholders of the two French and German companies signed a memorandum of understanding for an equally owned alliance. This project is progressing and should produce concrete results in 2015," Nexter said in a March 17 statement with financial results for 2014.

 

On the business front, the Direction Générale de l'Armement has awarded a contract worth some €330 million (US $349.4 million) to Nexter Systems to upgrade 200 Leclerc tanks and 18 tank recovery vehicles with delivery from 2020, the procurement office said in a statement March 12.

 

Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has written into his 2015 agenda an agreement for the joint venture deal in July or August, an announcement which caught some in industry by surprise.

 

The proposed joint holding company is named KMW and Nexter Together, or KANT. The Bode family controls KMW through the Wegmann firm.

 

An accord in the summer, however, seems unlikely as there is a political drag effect due to Nexter's privatization being caught up in an attempt to liberalize the ailing French economy.

 

There is no problem on the industrial front as Nexter and KMW opened up their books for due diligence and that detailed examination of their businesses will lead to a valuation of the two companies. That scrutiny is going ahead smoothly even if the conclusion might miss the April 1 deadline, an industry source said.

 

The due diligence allows the two shareholders to negotiate the valuation and whether amounts must be paid to bring each side to the 50:50 share in the holding company.

 

On the political front, France must privatize Nexter to allow the company to form the planned joint holding company with KMW. However, that will likely take longer than expected as the privatization has been written into a wide-ranging draft legislation proposed by Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron, a former investment banker who seeks to inject more competition into the domestic economy.

 

The proposed Macron law has run into strong political resistance from both the Union pour un Mouvement Populaire conservative party and left wing of the Socialist Party. That will likely delay the joint venture agreement to the autumn, the source said.

 

There was lively debate on Feb. 9 in the lower house National Assembly amid concern Germany would restrict exports of the alliance, particularly to Saudi Arabia, as the Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel has spoken against foreign arms sales.

 

Macron acknowledged there is a German "political sensitivity" on weapon exports "but the option taken is to develop strategic and commercial synergies with our German partner so that it is not a barrier to continue to define a common policy and to deal with this sensitivity, which is a reality, but to be frank poses more problems for Airbus than for this joint project."

 

KMW Chairman Frank Haun on Jan. 14 told the French National Assembly defense committee the alliance would work over the next five years developing a tank — whether it be called Leopard 3, Leleo or Leoclerc — and the new heavy armored vehicle could be delivered 2025-2030 to replace the Leclerc and Leopard 2.

 

The Russians are working hard on tank development, and Nexter and KMW could exchange their "very interesting" technology to build replacements for the Leclerc and Leopard, he said.

 

Fully automated artillery, smart munitions and laser weapons are among the new weapons on which the KANT alliance would work, he said.

 

Nexter Chairman Philippe Burtin told the committee the Scorpion Army modernization program will generate an average annual €200 million of work.

 

The companies will have five years to see if the alliance works and if not, they can back out, Macron said.

 

Macron told the French lower house Feb. 9 that under the bilateral agreement there would be five years of stability, which would allow each side to see whether the alliance worked. The joint holding company will take charge of commercial and product launch strategy, while industrial production will stay with the operating companies and under domestic management.

 

"It would be possible, after five years and before a decision which would aim to bring the operating companies to the level of the joint holding company, to go into reverse," Macron said.

 

The contract to upgrade the Leclerc tank was signed March 5, a DGA spokesman said.

 

The modernization will fit the tank into the Contact tactical radio and the Scorpion information and command system, the DGA said. There will also be new armor kits to protect against threats such as improved explosive devices.

 

The upgrades are intended to maintain the Leclerc's "first entry" capability in an international coalition beyond 2040, the DGA said.

 

Nexter reported 2014 sales of €1.1 billion, compared with €787 million a year ago. That 2014 figure includes the sales of Mecar and Simmel Difesa, two munitions firms bought from Chemring last year. Detailed figures were not immediately available.

 

The acquisitions boosted the ammunition activity to €883 million.

 

Exports accounted for 53 percent of sales.

 

Net profit rose to €118 million from €74 million, with the former boosted by the acquisitions. Orders rose to €1.2 billion from €612 million, with foreign orders making up 53.2 percent.

 

The order book stood at €5 billion, of which €2.8 billion are conditional tranches of contracts.

 

On March 18, 2014, Nexter said on the 2013 results that the order book stood at €2.6 billion or nearly three years of business.

 

Operating profit was 13 percent of sales, down from 14 percent a year ago.

 

In the Scorpion program, Nexter will work on development and building the chassis for the Véhicule Blindé Multirole, a six-wheel troop carrier named Griffon, and Engin Blindé de Reconnaissance et de Combat, a six-wheel combat vehicle named Jaguar. Renault Trucks Defense will work respectively on the engine and driveline, and Thales on electronics and communications systems.

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22 mars 2015 7 22 /03 /mars /2015 08:50
MFoCS systems photo DRS technologies

MFoCS systems photo DRS technologies

 

March 20, 2015 By Tom Kington - Defense News

 

ROME — After hinting for months that he would consider selling DRS, Finmeccanica CEO Mauro Moretti said on Thursday he was taking stock of the firm's improving results and putting off all decisions until September.

Moretti first suggested last summer he could sell the US electronics unit that Finmeccanica bought in 2008. Then, in January, he told analysts that he would seek a partner to help run the unit, while selling off activity worth €200 million (US $214.6 million), including DRS' Aviation and Logistics, as well as Training Communications and Network solutions units.

At the time, Moretti said DRS' volumes had halved since Finmeccanica bought the firm for $5.2 billion, citing slowing US defense spending.

There were also, he said, "Clear difficulties managing the business effectively as a true domestic player if you are not American."

After finding a partner, Moretti said, "We will look at longer term options." Analysts at the time said the partnership could be a prelude to selling.

But on Thursday, at a meeting with analysts to discuss Finmeccanica's 2014 results, Moretti appeared more upbeat about DRS.

 

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22 mars 2015 7 22 /03 /mars /2015 08:40
Russia's New 4th Generation Lada Submarine To Nullify USA's Naval Power


March 20, 2015 by asian-defence.net
 

The new Russian submarine, Lada, will end the era of USA's reign at sea. Washington will lose the main instrument of "power projection" to remote regions and may finally lose its global geopolitical role as well.

Anti-Russian militaristic hysteria has been snowballing in the West lately. Having noticed the revival of the traditionalist, imperial Russia that the deceitful Western Sodom has been humiliating and insulting for decades, the "free" European and American media filled their reports and pages with alarmist headlines about Moscow's "military preparations."

Should the Russians launch a rocket from the Plesetsk cosmodrome or from a submarine in the Barents Sea, or send its strategic aircraft flying along European borders, countless Western publications explode in accusations of "militarism and imperialism," "nuclear weapons rattling" "intimidation of the international community," and so on and so forth. Meanwhile, important news reports that are directly related to a change in the military-strategic balance of power in Eurasia, often pass unnoticed.

 

The message did not receive any attention of the general public. Even military observers paid no proper attention to it. Yet, the news marked a real revolution in the field of military submarine making.For example, on October 13, 2014, RIA Novosti news agency reported, citing a source at the military-industrial complex of the Russian Federation that Russia decided to launch serial production of air-independent propulsion power plants that would be used for future Project 677 "Lada" submarines."

 

Advantages and disadvantages of underwater hunters

 

Today, all submarines are divided into two groups by the type of power plants: submarines with a nuclear power plant (nuclear reactor) and diesel-electric submarines that move on the surface with the help of a diesel engine, and use battery-powered electric motors when navigating under the water. 

Nuclear submarines appeared in the Soviet Navy in the late 1950s. The first nuclear submarine of Project 627 called the Leninsky Komsomol was put into operation in 1957. Since then and to this day, nuclear submarines constitute the main striking force of the Russian navy. They carry a wide range of most formidable weapons in the world - from strategic intercontinental missiles and tactical nuclear torpedoes to high-precision long-range cruise missiles - the core of the Russian strategic forces of non-nuclear deterrence.

 

Nuclear submarines possess a number of outstanding advantages. A nuclear sub can stay under the water for a practically unlimited period of time; it has high underwater speed, impressive submersion depth and an ability to carry a huge number of various weapons and equipment. Modern large displacement nuclear subs can be equipped not only with weapons, but also with highly efficient sonars, systems of communications, electronic reconnaissance and navigation.

At the same time, the main advantage of a nuclear power plant - its power - is the source of the main drawback of nuclear submarines. This drawback is noisiness. The presence of a nuclear reactor (and sometimes two) on board the submarine along with a whole range of other systems and mechanisms (turbines, generators, pumps, refrigeration units, fans, etc.) inevitably produces a variety of frequency oscillations and vibrations. Therefore, a nuclear submarine requires sophisticated technology to reduce the noise level.

 

Yet, a diesel-electric submarine is almost silent under water. Battery-powered electric motors do not require turbines and other noisy equipment. However, a diesel sub can stay under water for a relatively short period of time - just a few days. In addition, a diesel submarine is slow. The shortage of power, in turn, imposes serious constraints on displacement, weapons, and other key characteristics of diesel-electric submarines. In fact, these subs can hardly be referred to as "underwater" vessels. "Diving" would be a better word as they stay on the surface most of the time on deployment routes. In combat patrol areas, diesel-electric submarines have to ascend regularly and start diesel engines to recharge batteries.

 

For example, Russia's state-of-the-art diesel-electric submarine of Project 636.3 has only 400 miles of undersea navigation. In addition, the submarine moves under water at the speed of 3 knots, i.e. 5.4 km/h. Thus, such a submarine is unable to pursue an underwater target. The sub relies on intelligence information first and foremost. Hence, the main technique to use diesel-electric submarines in combat action is known as "veil" when submarines are deployed in a line perpendicular to the probable movement of the target, at specific distances from each other. The entire group of submarines receives commands from an external command post, which creates extra telltale factors and reduces the stability of underwater combat groups.

It has long been a dream for many navy engineers to create a submarine with a fundamentally new power plant that would combine the advantages of nuclear and diesel-electric submarines: power and stealth, longer autonomous diving and low noisiness. 

 

 

Project 677 Lada: Major technological breakthrough

 

Russian submarines of Project 677 Lada with air-independent power plant will mark a serious breakthrough in this direction. The new submarine will take the Russian undersea fleet to new frontiers.

The Lada sub is not large - their displacement is almost twice as less as that of the famous Varshavyanka. Yet, its arms complex is unusually large. In addition to traditional mine and torpedo weapons (six 533-mm torpedo tubes, 18 torpedoes or mines), Project 667 is the world's first non-nuclear submarine, equipped with specialized launchers for cruise missiles (ten vertical launchers in the middle part of the body). These cruise missiles can be both tactical and long-range missiles designed to destroy strategic targets deep into enemy territory. 

 

The most important feature of the new Russian submarine is the new air-independent propulsion plant. Without going into details, we would only say that with these power plants a Lada submarine will be submerged for up to 25 days - that is almost ten times longer than of its famous predecessor - Project 636.3 Varshavyanka. To crown it all, the Lada submarine will be even less noisy than the famous "black hole" Varshavyanka, which the Americans dubbed so because it is almost impossible to detect it. 

 

NATO countries, particularly Germany and Sweden, have long been trying to equip their submarines with such power plants. German shipbuilders have tried to build small submarines equipped with a hybrid power plant since late 1990s. It includes surface speed diesel engine for recharging batteries, silver-zinc batteries for energy-conserving underwater navigation and air-independent propulsion plant  for energy-saving underwater navigation on the base of fuel cells that include tanks with cryogenic oxygen and metal hydride containers (special metal alloy with hydrogen).

The Germans succeeded in increasing the duration of underwater navigation of their submarines to 20 days. Presently, German submarines with air-independent propulsion plants of various modifications are in navy service in Germany, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, Israel, Korea and several other countries.

 

Swedish group Kockums Submarin Systems began the construction of Gotland class submarines with air-independent propulsion power plants based on the so-called "Stirling engine". Swedish subs can also stay under water for up to 20 days without recharging batteries. Stirling engine submarines currently serve not only in Scandinavia, but also in Australia, Japan, Singapore and Thailand.

However, both German and Swedish submarines pale in comparison with Russian Lada submarines. Project 667 Lada is qualitatively a new generation of submarines. 

 

Rubin Design Bureau - the main developer of submarines in Russia - designed the Lada to deliver salvo torpedo-missile strikes on marine and stationary ground targets both from torpedo tubes and specialized vertical missile silos. Due to the unique sonar system, the Russian sub has a significantly increased distance for target detection. It can submerge at the depth of 300 meters, develop underwater speed of up to 21 knots and submerged endurance of 45 days. To reduce noisiness, vibration isolators are used along with all-mode propulsion motor with permanent magnets. The hull of the submarine is covered with "Molniya" ("Lightning") material that absorbs sonar signals.

The Russian air-independent propulsion power plant will be a lot more energy conserving than its German analogue with up to 25 days of continuing underwater navigation. At the same time, Lada will be substantially less expensive than the German Project 212\214 sub. 

Before 2020, the Russian Navy expects to receive 14 of new 4th generation submarines

"Four to six of such submarines can completely block closed or semi-closed water area as of the Black, Baltic and Caspian Seas. Their advantages are obvious to any naval specialist," Vice-Admiral Viktor Patrushev said in an interview with RIA Novosti in late 2010.

 

The deployment of two or three groups of Lada submarines can fundamentally change the balance of power not only in the Baltic, Caspian and Black seas, but also in the North, in the Mediterranean water areas and in the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean. In the North, in the Barents Sea, Lada will cover the routes of deployment of Russian strategic missile submarines from any activity that US and NATO forces may show. This will significantly improve the combat stability of the naval component of Russian strategic nuclear forces.

 

Presently, Russian missile cruisers are mainly on duty under the Arctic ice, where they are virtually inaccessible to enemy action. The Americans can detect, track and attack our submarine only at the stage of its transition to the ​​combat patrol area. The Lada sub is ideally suited to counter US submarines as they hear them at much greater distances.

With regard to the Mediterranean, the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean, the presence of Lada-type submarines in those waters nullifies the American naval power that is primarily based on aircraft carrier strike groups.

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22 mars 2015 7 22 /03 /mars /2015 08:40
Mi-28NM helicopter

Mi-28NM helicopter

 

March 19, 2015 asian-defence.net

 

It could take Russia about three years to complete the development of a fifth-generation attack helicopter and start testing its prototype, a defense industry official said Wednesday. The Mi-28NM, a modernized version of the Mi-28N Night Hunter attack helicopter that is being upgraded to standards of a fifth-generation aircraft, has been in development since 2008. “I think we will need no more than three years to develop a new modernized version of the Mi-28N helicopter,” said Andrei Shibitov, chief executive officer of the Russian Helicopters company.

 

Shibitov did not specify the characteristics of the future combat helicopter, but he was quoted earlier by the Russian media as saying that the criteria for a fifth-generation attack helicopter must include low radar signature, an extended flying range, an advanced weapons control system, the capability to combat fighter jets and have a speed of up to 600 kilometers (370 miles) per hour.

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22 mars 2015 7 22 /03 /mars /2015 08:35
JF-17 Block 2 makes first flight ahead of Block 3 improvements

 

March 19, 2015 by asian-defence.net

 

The first Block 2 JF-17 Thunder combat aircraft made its maiden flight from the Pakistan Aeronautical Company (PAC) facility at Kamra on 9 February.

 

The aircraft (serial number 2P01) made three more successful flights before being taken to the paint shop in mid-February. The test flights came as a boost as PAC continues to look for a first export customer for its platform.

 

Air Commodore Ahsan Rafiq, Deputy Chief Project Director (Operations) JF-17 and a former commanding officer of the JF-17 Test and Evaluation Unit, described the Block 2 version as "an upgraded Block 1 with an air-to-air refuelling (AAR) probe, enhanced oxygen system [to allow the pilot to stay in the air longer], and improved electronic countermeasures system (ECS)".

 

The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has a contract for 50 Block 2 JF-17s but as Air Cdre Ahsan pointed out, "the full AAR system will not appear until the 29th jet, which should fly later this year [at Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC) in China]."

 

In a further development that sends a clear signal that PAC and Chinese marketing partner CATIC intend business in the international arena, the Block 2 JF-17 will also have a two-seater version, which is now being developed at Chengdu according to the PAF's requirements.

 

"We know potential customers would like to see a two-seater, although it is not such a big deal for the PAF, which started flying several types, [A-5, F-6, F-7P and F-7PG] without a training version," Air Cdre Ahsan said. "This will give us the chance to show potential suitors how the jet can perform in the air."

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22 mars 2015 7 22 /03 /mars /2015 08:35
Images suggest upgrades to China's early series J-11s

 

March 19, 2015 by asian-defence.net

 

Images have emerged on Chinese military web forums suggesting sensor upgrades to Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC) J-11A combat aircraft, with reports noting that two regiments have received these modifications so far.

 

Upgraded J-11As appear to have four new missile approach warning systems (MAWS), two just aft the cockpit facing forward and two pointing aft on the vertical stabilisers. Similar systems have previously been fitted to the H-6M and H-6K strategic bombers.

 

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22 mars 2015 7 22 /03 /mars /2015 08:35
Su-30MKI With BrahMos-A at AeroIndia 2015 photo Livefist

Su-30MKI With BrahMos-A at AeroIndia 2015 photo Livefist

 

March 19th, 2015 defencetalk.com

 

The Indian Air Force plans to start mounting BrahMos cruise missiles on its aircraft in 2016, BrahMos Aerospace CEO Sudhir Mishra told RIA Novosti Wednesday.

 

The short-range supersonic missile was jointly developed by Russia and India and has been in use by the Indian Navy since 2005.

 

“The missile is scheduled to be adopted in 2016, ten more tests will be carried out by the end of the year,” Mishra said.

 

He added that the next test flight is due in May with the aircraft carrying the missile launcher. This will be followed by flights with the equipped missiles and, eventually, test firing them.

 

India is Russia’s biggest arms trade partner, with more than 70 percent of India’s military equipment coming from Russia or the former Soviet Union, according to Russia’s state arms exporter.

 

The two countries are taking part in the major Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA’15), currently underway in Malaysia.

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22 mars 2015 7 22 /03 /mars /2015 08:30
'No Turning Back' for IMI Sale

 

March 21, 2015 By Barbara Opall-Rome – Defense News

 

TEL AVIV — Israel has passed the point of no return in its plans to sell Israel Military Industries (IMI) to the highest qualified bidder by the end of this year, according to the man charged with overseeing privatization of the nation's oldest defense firm.

"There's no turning back … We're now in a process that won't be stopped," said Ori Yogev, head of the Government Companies Authority (GCA).

After decades of discussion and short-lived privatization plans, the government formally published its request for bids this month.

By autumn, the government aims to announce the winning bidder or consortium of investors in IMI Systems, a restructured, debt-free, advanced technology-oriented spinoff of IMI, an 82-year-old firm that predates Israeli independence.

Up to 90 percent equity in the new firm is being offered to eligible foreign investors, with transaction closing slated by the end of December.

In an interview shortly before last Tuesday's election, Yogev said neither the current lame duck government nor the one to be formed under fourth-term leadership of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are interested or even capable of halting the process.

"We have the force of a formal government decision driving this and there is consensus among all the political players," he said.

"There won't be a new defense minister who can do anything differently. We would need a new prime minister, finance minister and defense minister to jump in and battle the consensus, and that simply won't happen."

In April, the GCA, IMI management and advisers from Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. — a US-based brokerage and investment banking firm hired by the government to assist in the sale — will embark on a road show aimed at cultivating interest among prospective buyers in the US and possibly Europe.

Candidates have until May 15 to notify the government of their interest, after which they will be screened by the Israeli Defense Ministry to access GCA's data of IMI financials, technology development programs and backlog of orders. Access to GCA's data room will require a $1.5 million bank guarantee.

"At this stage, the [bank guarantee] allows preliminarily certified candidates into the data room where they'll see the entire agreement, closing schedules and all they need to conduct due diligence. Then, if they decide they really want to bid, candidates will undergo a final screening by MoD to determine eligibility," Yogev said.

Under the closure of sale process, MoD-cleared candidates have until mid-September to submit bids, along with a prerequisite $8.5 million bank guarantee. The government plans to sell IMI to the highest bidder, with transaction closing slated by the end of the year.

"In the meantime, it could be that some of the international and local parties may want to join forces, since the government is requiring an Israeli partner with at least 10 percent equity," Yogev said.

He noted that the government retains the option to negotiate a best and final offer, should offers fall short of IMI's assessed value of some $600 million.

He confirmed locally published accounts that the government has subsidized IMI to the tune of 2.5 billion shekels (US $620 million) over the past decade, primarily to cover pension expenses of employees long absent from company rosters.

"We are taking all the problems of the past and leaving them in the government's hands," Yogev said.

"All the agreements are signed. More than 1 billion shekels have been budgeted to prepare for this privatization… Already 800 workers have left IMI and there is a plan for a few hundred more during the course of the year," Yogev said.

"The company we're offering is debt-free and cleansed of all legal claims. It's a company with a rich heritage that boasts a record backlog of more than $2 billion based on fully transparent and internationally accepted accounting procedures," Yogev said.

 

Vital Strategic Asset

Designated by the government a vital strategic asset, the new firm will remain an Israeli company, managed by Israeli nations and subject to Israeli laws and Defense Ministry security procedures.

According to data posted on the GCA's website, candidate investors will be disqualified if they are: "a hostile state; a citizen or resident of a hostile state; a corporation that was signed or whose center of business is in a hostile state; a corporation controlled by a hostile state or citizen and/or resident of a hostile state; or a foreign state."

The company will be sold as a single entity apart from heavy rocket propulsion systems and other classified programs that will remain in government hands under a new company, called Tomer, to be managed by MoD.

Yogev estimates that all but "a few hundred million shekels" of IMI's $2.125 billion backlog and 380 of its 2,700-strong workforce will be transferred to state-owned Tomer.

"There's a small, but very important part of IMI that we will not transfer to private ownership. But Tomer will not compete with the privatized IMI. On the contrary, Tomer has a strong agreement with IMI to cooperate in future. The new IMI will produce for Tomer and will be a market for some of its technologies," he said.

IMI Managing Director Avi Felder noted that the new company up for sale has undergone a significant restructuring and efficiency streamlining, with hundreds of millions of shekels invested in upgraded infrastructure and new product lines.

"At the beginning of 2015, IMI realigned its corporate operating structure to better serve a shift in customer demand from individual products to comprehensive defense solutions. In the process, we've reduced redundancies across divisions," he said.

"We enjoy a global customer base that spans Europe, Asia and the Americas, along with decades of close cooperation with the Israel Defense Forces, the US military and NATO forces," Felder said.

He noted that sale of the firm includes 85 percent of Ashot Ashkelon, a provider of jet engine shafts, drive and suspension systems; as well as 100 percent of IMI's Anti-Terror Academy.

"We're well positioned across a very focused and value-added spectrum of the defense and homeland security market," Felder said.

According to the GCA's website, IMI streamlined its operations from five divisions with 11 units into three divisions — firepower, maneuverability and small caliber ammunition — with five customer-oriented business units.

GCA noted that the firm routinely invests some $110 million in Israeli government- or customer-funded research and development and is now operating under high environmental, health and safety standards as required by Israeli law.

Recent awards include a $660 million, five-year contract to Israel's MoD for advanced tank rounds and munitions and another $150 million in Israeli MoD replenishment of weaponry expended in last summer's Protective Edge war in Gaza. Additionally, GCA listed another $700 million in unspecified export contracts as part of IMI's backlog.

"At the beginning of 2016, IMI is set to operate as a leading international defense company under private ownership," said retired Israeli Maj. Gen. Udi Adam, IMI's chairman.

"As a private company, IMI will have more managerial flexibility to maximize existing capabilities and fortify future competitiveness on the global market," he added

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22 mars 2015 7 22 /03 /mars /2015 08:25
A Mexican Air Force C-130K Hercules aircraft in flight. Photo Zahpo75

A Mexican Air Force C-130K Hercules aircraft in flight. Photo Zahpo75

 

20 March 2015 airforce-technology.com

 

Cascade Aerospace has completed a first test flight of the Mexican Air Force's (FAM) upgraded C-130K Hercules aircraft from its base in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada.

 

In November 2013, the company received a contract as part of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the Canadian and Mexican Governments, for maintenance and modernisation of FAM's two C-130K aircraft.

 

The C-130K maintenance and modernisation programme was initiated in 2014. It involved an upgrade of the avionics system. including the installation and integration of Rockwell Collins Flight 2 avionics suite, digital fuel quantity indication, and engine instrument display systems.

 

The aircraft, which is currently based at Cascade's hangar, has also been equipped with a new auxiliary power unit, as well from undergoing a wing availability and sustainment programme.

 

Cascade Aerospace executive vice-president and CEO Ben Boehm said: "This test flight represents the culmination of a year of detailed design effort followed by countless hours of skilled craftsmanship to present the Mexican Air Force pilots with an airworthy plane.

 

"This test flight will lead to the delivery of a modernised and updated aircraft to the Mexican Government at a fraction of the cost of a new aircraft."

 

The Flight 2 system is developed from Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 avionics solution, the Flight 2 system improves aircraft's operational capabilities by offering an open systems architecture that combines flight operations with navigation and guidance functions, and supports future growth requirement.

 

The company also conducted operational and technical training for FAM personnel using the Rockwell Collins Flight 2 procedural training simulator at its Abbotsford facility.

 

Power for the C-130K Hercules is supplied by Allison T56A-15 engines turboprop engine.

 

The aircraft is a derivative of Lockheed Martin's C-130 Hercules, and is used to carry troops, passengers or freight.

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22 mars 2015 7 22 /03 /mars /2015 08:20
US Air Force complete C-17 avionics, weather radar upgrades

 

March 19th, 2015 By Air Force News Agency - defencetalk.com

 

When one door closes at the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex regarding aviation modernization, that same door swings open for another opportunity.

 

In the 562nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, maintainers have completed a complex avionics and weather radar modernization package, referred to as BLOCK 16, with the final C-17 Globemaster set to fly home this month.

 

This steady program at Robins speaks to the highly-skilled maintainers who have worked on this particular upgrade package since 2007.

 

When the aircraft is returned to its crew at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, they will basically be getting a brand new transport aircraft, complete with state-of-the-art communications capabilities, navigation upgrades, and weather radar with new color palettes and improved display.

 

During the last several months, more than 3,000 wires were removed during the upgrade, with more than 7,000 new wires installed — a complex undertaking involving scores of video cables, data transmission cables, power lines, and the like.

 

“It will be sad to see them go because we’ve gotten so good at working on them,” said Eric Bickett, 562nd AMXS first-line supervisor. “Our maintainers have proven themselves, taking an aircraft that Boeing and the Air Force have sent us, and completely changing what it’s capable of. It truly looks factory (made) when we’re done with it.”

 

Working on the communications portion was perhaps the most time consuming, according to maintainers, as this involved removing old analog wiring and installing new digital control boxes, headset receptacles, etc.

 

Satellite communications capabilities through the addition of ports will also allow any of the military services who board the aircraft to set up their own equipment.

 

“The overall goal is to get all these C-17s to be one specific aircraft so any aircrew can jump from one to the other and everything will be exactly the same,” said Frank Kipa, 562 AMXS aircraft electrician.

 

“While these particular upgrades are now completed, we still have much work to do with maintenance. With the quality of work we do here, we look forward to any future mods coming our way,” he said.

 

As this was the last completed BLOCK 16 modification for WR-ALC in a fleet of more than 220 aircraft (several aircraft will be modified at a later date by Boeing’s San Antonio facility), work is ongoing to hit another milestone on BLOCK 17 upgrades, which installs combat lighting inside and outside the aircraft.

 

“Combat lighting gives the aircrew flexibility in how they illuminate the aircraft whether it’s inside or outside,” said Bickett. “For example, when troops are being medically treated inside, we’re able to provide capabilities that can block light from escaping to the outside. We can also illuminate the exterior using different covert lighting.”

 

“You can illuminate the flight deck, the cargo bay and outside completely different after this combat lighting upgrade. There’s a lot of flexibility, giving an aircrew plenty of options,” he said.

 

The final aircraft to receive this upgrade is scheduled to arrive in December, and will return to its customer a year from now in 2016.

 

The C-17, despite its size, is able to take off and land on short runways, and is constantly carrying out missions all over the world.

 

The Air Force received its final C-17 from production at Boeing in the fall of 2013, a move that had been expected for some time.

 

Robins not only maintains the C-17, which first flew in 1991, but is also responsible for sustainment of the aircraft through the C-17 System Program Office, which also plays a crucial role in the modification, maintenance and overall service of the entire fleet.

 

Bickett said he likes to ask what happens to aircraft once they leave Robins. He recalled looking online last August and recognized a photo of a C-17 that had passed through the complex.

 

The aircraft had conducted a humanitarian assistance operation to aid Iraqi citizens. At that time, thousands of Yazidis were attempting to escape the advance of Islamic State fighters and had become trapped on Mount Sinjar. An Air Force C-17 had been tasked to provide food and supplies.

 

“That’s what we do,” he said. “As much as these aircraft are flown with the different missions they do, the wear and tear, the hard landings — they hit the ground like it’s moving. We help keep these flying and in their current state.”

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22 mars 2015 7 22 /03 /mars /2015 08:20
Model 527 radar signal simulator - photo Textron

Model 527 radar signal simulator - photo Textron

 

20 March 2015 airforce-technology.com

 

Textron Systems Electronic Systems has been awarded a contract to supply advanced, handheld radar simulators for electronic warfare (EW) preflight testing on all variants of the F-35 Lightning II aircraft.

 

The contract was awarded by Lockheed Martin. It requires the company to supply its Model 527 radar signal simulator, which is designed for end-of-runway and walk-around pre-flight testing, to determine the status of installed electronic warfare (EW) radar warning receiver systems.

 

Specifically, the system verifies operational readiness and threat recognition across antennas, transmission lines, radomes, cockpit displays, and controls on operational aircraft through free-space radiation functional testing.

 

Textron Systems Electronic Systems senior vice-president and general manager Steve Mensh said: "The F-35 is one of the world's most advanced tactical aircraft, designed to deliver powerful new capabilities to the warfighter.

 

"Our Model 527 and larger family of pre-flight testers give aircrews the confidence they need in their mission-critical systems, before they even leave the ground."

 

The advanced threat modelling software enables a variety of threat simulations including simple, continuous-wave, pulsed single emitters, and multiplexed radio frequency emitters that can model several threats simultaneously.

 

After the simulations have been developed within the system, soldiers can easily progress through them on the flight line with a thumb switch to verify aircraft operation.

 

The battery-powered system is fully compatible with the company's family of pre-flight confidence testers, such as the joint service electronic combat systems tester and the advanced architecture phase, amplitude and time simulator laboratory electromagnetic environment simulator.

 

Deliveries under the indefinite-delivery / indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract are scheduled take place over the next three years.

 

The F-35 is manufactured by Lockheed. It is a fifth-generation multi-role fighter, and is designed to conduct a wide range of ground attack, reconnaissance, and air defence missions with stealth capability.

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21 mars 2015 6 21 /03 /mars /2015 17:40
UIMC has developed equipment for the “soldier of the future” combat system

 

March 19, 2015 by Rostec

 

The new developments include communication, data transmission, and navigation equipment

 

United Instrument Manufacturing Corporation (UIMC), which is part of Rostec Corporation, will deliver a new modification of the universal portable kits for soldiers (UPKS) to the ground troops of the Russian Army this year. The kits include communication, data transmission, and navigation systems that enable each individual soldier to operate in a united and automatically managed combat system.

 

The universal kit for soldiers will help automatize the management of motorized infantry units at the platoon, company, and division levels while also integrating soldiers into a united and automatically managed combat control system. The kit’s components allow soldiers to communicate clearly in navigating terrain, as well as to generate, transmit, and receive data on tactical situations.

 

The UPKS includes an improved portable radio, subscriber communications device, and tactical terminal. The radio can receive and transmit both audio and data over a distance of up to 5 km through two radio networks (unit and commander). The tactical terminal and subscriber communications device facilitate automatized control, communications, and situational awareness.

 

The equipment enables soldiers to work in local management and data exchange networks, integrates with GLONASS/GPS navigation systems, provides access to the radio interface of fighting vehicles, and facilitates connectivity to various observation and intelligence resources, including reconnaissance drones. All communications channels in the updated modifications are protected by encryption.

 

“Today, high-tech components are mandatory elements of combat equipment, including radio communication, navigation devices, handheld computers, software that allows connectivity to databases, electronic cards, and the ability to solve applied problems on a tactical level. UPKS meet all of these requirements,” said Tatiana Ositskaya, chief designer of the kit.

 

According to her, using the kit will greatly simplify the decision-making process during combat conditions. For example, targeting takes only 30 seconds, the time it required between detecting a target and transferring its coordinates to the necessary weapon for firing.

 

The kit components are secured on a standard military vest. Downloading additional software modules can expand and supplement the functionality of the kid without changing its components.

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