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24 février 2015 2 24 /02 /février /2015 11:50
Un A400M ravitaillant deux F/A-18 photo Airbus DS

Un A400M ravitaillant deux F/A-18 photo Airbus DS


jeudi 19 février 2015 par Aerobuzz.fr


Dans un contexte tendu, Airbus Military a tenu à démontrer les capacités opérationnelles de son A400M en version ravitailleur en réalisant une série d’essais concluants avec deux F/A-18 des forces aériennes espagnoles. Au cours de quatre vols, 74 contacts ont été réalisés et 27,2 tonnes de carburant à des altitudes comprises entre 20 et 30.000 ft, et à des vitesses comprises entre 180 et 300 kts. Au cours d’une mission classique de ravitaillement, l’A400M peut opérer pendant deux heures dans un rayon de 500 NM (930 km) de sa base et transférer jusqu’à 34 tonnes. Reste que pour l’heure,l’A400M n’est toujours pas capable de ravitailler des hélicoptères.

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22 février 2015 7 22 /02 /février /2015 17:25
Two J-10 fighters at the Zhuhai Airshow on Nov. 5, 2008. (Photo Xinhua)

Two J-10 fighters at the Zhuhai Airshow on Nov. 5, 2008. (Photo Xinhua)


February 22, 2015 By Wendell Minnick – Defense News


TAIPEI — London's successful blocking of the Gripen fighter sale to Argentina appears to have done little to stop Buenos Aires' determination to replace its aging attack and fighter fleet. Nor has it halted its threats to use force to "liberate" the Malvinas (Falkland) Islands from British control.


In October, Argentina's Defense Minister Agustin Rossi announced plans to procure 14 Saab Gripen fighters to replace its single-engine Dassault Mirage III/5, which saw combat during the 1982 Falklands War.


However, London quickly killed the deal. When that was nixed, Argentine's President Cristina Kirchner traveled to Beijing, Feb. 2-5, and announced Argentina and China were creating a working group to facilitate the transfer of a variety of military equipment, including fighters. To further sweeten the pot, China takes Argentina's position on the Falkland Islands and has compared the dispute to China's sovereignty claims over disputed islands in the East and South China Seas.


Two types of Chinese fighters are candidates: The FC-1/JF-17 and the J-10, both built by Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC).


The JF-17 is the Pakistan-built variant of the FC-1. Both fighters have their advantages and disadvantages, said Doug Barrie, the senior air analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. The Chengdu FC-1 represents the cheaper and less-capable combat aircraft, he said. Argentina could purchase significantly more FC-1s, "although in capability terms this would not represent as great an increment in overall performance compared to the J-10," he said.


The Argentinean Air Force could face difficulties acclimating to non-Western equipment, but "we should understand that such a sale will have a special political importance for the Chinese. It brings prestige and opens doors to new combat aircraft sales to the region," said Vasily Kashin, a China military specialist at Moscow's Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies. "They will likely provide good financing conditions and will probably pay special attention to subsequent maintenance and training work."


Logistics and follow-on support is still a question, and China's reputation with past fighter exports is dubious, said Roger Cliff, nonresident senior fellow, Asia Security Initiative, Atlantic Council. He said Argentina might have no choice in the matter since London will no doubt block any Western fighter sale. Russia could also be a contender, but also has a poor history in fighter support, Cliff said.


However, China's JF-17 fighter program in Pakistan has proven a reasonably successful test bed for joint fighter production programs. The Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and CAC developed the JF-17 and CAC's FC-1 in a joint program begun in 1995. Like Argentina, the Pakistan JF-17 replaced its Mirage III/5 fighters.


Richard Fisher, a senior fellow with the US-based International Assessment and Strategy Center, said that in 2013 CAC was in discussions with the Argentine aerospace company Fabrica Argentina de Aviones to co-build the FC-1 in a similar fashion as the CAC/PAC deal. Fabrica did not respond to requests for information on the issue.


China has been working hard to placate Buenos Aires. In 2011, Fabrica and the Aviation Industry Corp. of China (AVIC) signed a co-production deal for the CZ-11 single-engine light multi-purpose helicopter.


Future cooperation could cover co-production with China's Norinco for 100 eight-wheeled VN1 eight-wheeled armored personnel carriers, and joint development with China's Shipbuilding Corp. for five corvettes modeled after the P18 (to be dubbed the Malvinas-class after the Falklands dispute).


These agreements could complicate London's ability to protect the Falklands from another invasion.


Fisher said that with aerial refueling, which will be available from Argentina's new Embraer KC390s, "the FC-1 is able to carry two CM400AKG-derived hypersonic anti-ship missiles out to a reasonable strike range." With the element of surprise and a minimum of 20 fighters, "there is the potential they could launch up to 40 of these missiles at the likely single aircraft carrier that Britain would send to defend the Falklands from a second attack."


London does not have an aircraft carrier that can operate fixed-wing aircraft. The famed AV-8 Harrier jump jetss that made their name during the Falklands War were retired in 2010. However, two 70,000-ton Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers are under construction, with the first to be completed in 2017 with an air wing operational in 2020, Cliff said. The carriers will be equipped with short take-off and vertical landing F-35B joint strike fighters. "So the UK might be especially vulnerable at the moment, but that situation will not last long."


Fisher said the issue is more complicated today than it was during the war.


The other new element is that Argentina and China are now partners in space cooperation. China is building a strategic Southern Hemisphere tracking and control facility, and Argentina could get access to China's growing surveillance satellite network.


The scenarios Fisher paints are dark. "What if Venezuela gave Argentine aircraft base access to mount an early strike against a British task force? This could become a realistic option with Chinese ISR. This Chinese-Argentine military relationship is just beginning to blossom. Anti-ship ballistic missiles, over-the-horizon radar, and submarines could quickly join the list of possible Chinese exports.


"Look, there does not have to be a second war," Fisher continued. "If China sells Argentina enough weapons, a future British government could opt for a lengthy face-saving Hong Kong-like transfer. But in Latin America, such a 'surrender' would be viewed as much a Chinese as an Argentine victory."


The political and economic consequences for Argentina of making another grab for the Falklands would be severe, and even threatening to do so would not be in the country's interest. But that does not mean it could not happen, "as people in the country are still passionate about the issue", Cliff said.


"Argentina made things pretty dicey for the UK back in 1982 and probably could do so again, especially if they prepared carefully for it."

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18 février 2015 3 18 /02 /février /2015 12:55
L’esplanade du musée de l’air et de l’espace de Paris-Le Bourget photo X. Deregel - MAE

L’esplanade du musée de l’air et de l’espace de Paris-Le Bourget photo X. Deregel - MAE


16 février 2015 par Aerobuzz.fr


Le Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace du Bourget se prépare pour une grande mutation. Objectif 2024. Sous l’impulsion de sa directrice, Catherine Maunoury, un vaste chantier de rénovation du bâtiment est en cours de réalisation. Les premiers effets seront visibles dès juin 2015.


Au musée de l’air et de l’espace de Paris, la première phase de travaux doit se terminer peu de temps avant le prochain salon du Bourget, en juin 2015. Elle comprend notamment la rénovation de la façade Est du musée (côté route nationale et parking voiture) et celle de la salle des Cocardes qui est consacrée aux premiers avions de combat à réaction. Les travaux intérieurs ont commencé en septembre dernier avec par exemple l’enlèvement de tous les velums qui tapissaient les murs et masquaient la structure du bâtiment. Le hall gagne ainsi du volume et de la clarté dans cette opération qui est une très belle réussite.


Suite de l’article

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18 février 2015 3 18 /02 /février /2015 12:35
IAF To Induct 1st Indo-Brazilian AEW&C Jet In Sept

15.02.2015 by Livefist

The Indo-Brazilian EMB-145i AEW&C platform, that made its first public appearance at AeroIndia 2013, returns to the show this year. But unlike two years ago, when the jet was steeped in a busy and extended period of systems trials, including sorties in the Eastern sector and over the Arabian Sea, the Indian Air Force gets all set to receive its first aircraft in seven months.


The team is looking to wrap up development flight & systems trials by the end of March (a Centre for Airborne Systems, CABS, officer tells me the aircraft at AeroIndia will still be notching up test points at the show too). With two aircraft in flight test, the Defence R&D Organisation (DRDO) has enough to meet its March 2015 deadline to complete development tests. But choosing to deploy one of the two jets at the Bangalore show wasn't a difficult decision, given the remarkable level of interest in the platform. CABS sources say at least two countries could sign MoUs declaring their interest in getting more information about the platform to support potential acquisitions. A confidential list of nations that have asked for briefings on the platform includes Malaysia, Indonesia, Brazil, Oman, and UAE. Embraer has taken it upon itself to (a) look at consolidating the EMB-145i into a standard marketable product that the two countries can jointly pitch in the global market, and (b) handle South American operations by itself.


Director of the Centre for Airborne Systems (CABS), lead integrator on the programme, Dr Christopher says, "Currently though the system is customised for the Indian Air force, the AEW&C India can fine tuned to any specific user‐oriented early warning product through appropriate programming/software which can be defined by the user. Many countries are evincing keen interest in the AEW&C system and discussions are in progress for export of this system."


But exports are in the future. The more immediate good news for the programme is what the Indian Air Force thinks of the EMB-145i. In the words of a senior officer associated with the programme, and one who will be part of 4-6 month user evaluation trials aimed for April, the IAF is 'impressed and satisfied'. Those are important words from a customer that hasn't had much faith in the past in long-gestation systems, especially critically needed platforms like early warning jets.


But September, the Indian Air Force hopes to be ready to induct the first of three EMB-145i. A third platform arrives from Brazil by the end of June or early July. The second EMB-145i will also likely enter service by the end of the year.


User trials with the IAF will include the deployment of the aircraft in a special live exercise to be jointly held by the Western and Central Commands, and involve operational situations for the AEW&C. A team from CABS will, of course, be embedded through this phase. Most importantly, there's a rare confidence in the systems and platform.


The IAF officer quoted above says, "These are impressive timelines. Our team has been satisfied with the performance. There are still some ends to tie up in the process of matching requirements with performance, but all major requirements have been demonstrated, including intercept control, battle management, Electronic Support Measure (ESM) and Communication Support Measure (CSM), data handling and the crucial SATCOM links. This could be one of the most trouble-free developments we have had so far."


The official literature on the platform, to be released at Aero India this year, says, "The AEW&C India has managed to pack in several sub-systems namely a highly versatile active array  Radar system, Identification friend or foe system, ELINT, COMINT systems, along with multiple combination of ‘C’-Band& SATCOM ‘Ku’-Band voice and Data Links, UHF/VHF/HF communications, & Self Protection Systems - in order to enhance mission capabilities, add redundancies to foolproof operations, and implant self‐protection against missile attacks from ground as compared with its contemporaries on same Embraer aircraft elsewhere in the world."


Speaking of the primary sensor, the heart of the platform, and India's contribution to the system, the Director of CABS Dr S. Christopher says, "While India has caught up with the rest of the world in adopting the Active Electronically Steering Array (AESA) Antenna for its radar; the two building-block components of the radar, the Transmit-Receive Multi-Module (TRMM) and the teflon-clad ultra light Antenna Panel are notable Indian innovations in the radar sub-system. These are developed by CABS and with a joint patent along with M/s Astra Microwave, Hyderabad for TRMM. The most important outcome of the efforts is the realisation of a system that is both operation-efficient and cost-effective."


The reloaded Indian AWACS programme, first revealed here on Livefist, is also gathering speed, with the DRDO expected to move forwarded in choosing an aircraft platform for the project this year.

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17 février 2015 2 17 /02 /février /2015 12:50
Rome devrait maintenir sa commande de 90 avions de chasse F-35


16/02/2015 zonebourse.com


Le gouvernement italien va résister aux pressions politiques émanant de son propre camp et maintenir sa commande de 90 avions de chasse F-35 fabriqués par l'américain Lockheed Martin, a-t-on appris de sources à Rome et aux Etats-Unis.


Cette décision est motivée par deux facteurs: le gros contrat d'entretien obtenu par la compagnie publique de défense Finmeccanica pour ces F-35 et la nécessité de renouveler la flotte de chasseurs.


"Le nombre approprié (de chasseurs) pour que l'Italie joue le rôle industriel auquel elle aspire est 90", a dit à Reuters une source italienne proche du dossier. "Respecter le programme est conforme aux différentes résolutions parlementaires et 90 est le nombre qui nous permet de couvrir les besoins du pays en terme de défense."


Cette opinion est partagée à Washington.


"La participation industrielle est proportionnelle au nombre d'avions que vous commandez. S'ils réduisent leur commande, le travail qu'ils auront à faire sur le site (d'assemblage et de vérification) et l'entretien diminueront", dit-on aux Etats-Unis.


L'achat de F-35 permettra à l'Italie de renouveler une flotte de plus en plus obsolète, alors que les tensions géopolitiques sont vives en Europe et dans son environnement, en raison de la crise en Ukraine et de l'islamisme radical.


Des élus du Parti démocrate, la formation du président du Conseil Matteo Renzi, ont réclamé en mai dernier de diviser par deux la somme consacrée à ce programme, estimé à 12 milliards d'euros. Certaines formations d'opposition réclament même l'abandon pur et simple du projet.


Matteo Renzi a lui-même évoqué l'an dernier une réduction de ce programme pour financer des baisses d'impôts pour les revenus les plus modestes.

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17 février 2015 2 17 /02 /février /2015 11:50
L’armée allemande possède 28 NH90TTH photo NHIndustries

L’armée allemande possède 28 NH90TTH photo NHIndustries


11 février 2015 par Gil Roy – Aerobuzz.fr


La Bundeswehr décide de suspendre provisoirement sa flotte de NH90, suite à un incident survenu à l’un de ses hélicoptères en Afghanistan, en juin 2014. Pour les militaires allemands, les vols reprendront quand NHIndustries aura remédié à un défaut de conception du circuit électrique. Les causes sont identifiées, une solution est déjà à l’étude.


Alors qu’il entre progressivement en service, sous les cocardes des pays partenaires du programme, et qu’il est engagé avec succès sur plusieurs théâtres d’opération, le NH9O est confronté à d’inévitables défauts de jeunesse que s’emploie à corriger, au fur et à mesure qu’ils apparaissent, le consortium NHIndustries. Le dernier événement en date est la décision de l’armée allemande de suspendre temporairement sa flotte de NH90 TTH, soit 28 appareils. Une mesure radicale en réponse à un problème qualifié de sérieux par les militaires allemands.


Les faits remontent à juin 2014. A cette époque, l’Allemagne mettait en œuvre quatre NH90 en mission d’évacuation médicale en Afghanistan. Lors d’une de ces interventions, un équipage a été victime d’une explosion en vol d’un des moteurs RTM322. Dans le feu de l’action, les pilotes ont activé la commande des extincteurs. Cette action a entrainé un court-circuit dans le panneau de commande supérieur du cockpit. L’équipage a, alors, recherché le terrain le plus proche pour s’y poser en toute sécurité, en l’occurrence, la plateforme de Termez, en Ouzbékistan.


Après plusieurs mois d’enquête par des spécialistes militaires, industriels et indépendants, l’incident a été qualifié de sérieux mais pas de nature à nécessiter l’arrêt des vols des NH90. Comme d’habitude en aéronautique, les situations délicates sont souvent la résultante de plusieurs actions erronées. Le cas de Termez ne fait pas exception. L’enquête a, en effet, déterminé que l’équipage n’avait pas, respecté la procédure de démarrage « à chaud » des moteurs, qui prévoit de ventiler les turbines pendant deux minutes avant de lancer la séquence de démarrage des moteurs Turbomeca RTM322. De plus, suite à l’explosion, l’équipage malgré, l’absence d’incendie, a déclenché les extincteurs, en appuyant plus de trois secondes sur le bouton d’activation. Cette action prolongée et inattendue, a entrainé un court-circuit.


Suite de l’article

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17 février 2015 2 17 /02 /février /2015 08:55
Rétrospective 2014 : les équipements

15/02/2015 Armée de Terre


Des hélicoptères aux véhicules blindés, des équipements félins aux drones et aux engins du génie, les principaux matériels engagés dans les opérations en 2014 sont présentés en images

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17 février 2015 2 17 /02 /février /2015 08:35
Photo F. Robineau, Dassault Aviation

Photo F. Robineau, Dassault Aviation


February 17, 2015 Rediff.com (Business Standard)


Air force brass is ignoring a project to develop a fifth-generation fighter for fear it will take attention away from buying the Rafale. Ajai Shukla reports


The priceless Indo-Russian project to co-develop the eponymous Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft is dying of neglect. With the Indian Air Force brass focused single-mindedly on procuring 126 Rafale fighters, the air marshals fear that an FGFA on the horizon would undermine their argument that the Rafale is essential. With the costly Rafale procurement imploding in slow motion, the FGFA is becoming collateral damage.


In October 2012, then IAF boss, Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne, announced the IAF would buy only 144 FGFAs instead of the 214 that were originally planned. Having cut down the numbers, the IAF is now undermining the FGFA project itself.


After the apex Indo-Russian Inter-Governmental Commission for Military Technical Cooperation met on January 22 to discuss military cooperation, IAF officers whispered to a gullible media that the FGFA was dead. It was reported that Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had told his Russian counterpart that joint research and development was a waste of time. This was factually incorrect. What is true is that the IAF -- for reasons that can only be guessed at -- is scuttling a project to develop a fighter that would rank alongside the world's best.


Why is the FGFA important, more so than the Rafale? It is a fifth-generation fighter, which makes it operationally more capable than contemporary fourth-generation fighters like the Rafale and the Eurofighter Typhoon. Gen-5 fighters are designed to be stealthy, which means enemy radar cannot detect them until it is too late. They "supercruise", i.e. fly at supersonic speeds without lighting engine afterburners (the Rafale can do this too); and Gen-5 aircraft have futuristic avionics and missiles. In a war with China, stealthy Gen-5 aircraft would be ideal for missions deep into Tibet, evading China's radar network, to destroy the Qinghai-Tibet railway and roads leading to the Indian border -- to prevent China from quickly switching troops around on its superior border infrastructure.


So vital was the FGFA considered to India's aerospace capabilities that, in October 2007, New Delhi and Moscow signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement to co-develop the fighter, which placed the project above defence ministry procurement rules. The IGA states that Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd would partner Rosoboronexport, Russia's defence exports agency, in co-developing the fighter. Furthermore, Indian engineers say the expertise gained from the FGFA would be valuable in building the planned indigenous Gen-5 fighter, designated the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft.


Following the IGA, New Delhi and Moscow signed a General Contract in December 2008, stipulating general principles of cooperation such as the share of work and cost, and the sale of the FGFA to third countries. In December 2010, a preliminary design contract was signed in which both sides contributed $295 million towards finalising the fighter's basic configuration, systems and equipment. With that completed in June 2013, the central R&D Contract is now being negotiated. This will govern the bulk of the work - the actual design and development of the FGFA.


Even as the IAF stonewalls the R&D contract negotiations, the need for India to come on board grows ever more pressing. Russia has already designed, built and flown the first prototypes of a Gen-5 fighter they call the PAK-FA (Perspektivny Aviatsionny Kompleks Frontovoy Aviatsii, or "Prospective Airborne Complex of Frontline Aviation"). The PAK-FA, built to Russian Air Force specifications, has already completed 650 test-flights. India's work share will lie in adapting this fighter to the IAF's requirements -- which include advanced capabilities like all-round radar that can detect threats in a 360-degree envelope, and voice recognition software that allows the pilot to call out commands. In all, the IAF has specified some 40-45 improvements that they want over the PAK-FA. Indian designers, who will have to integrate these improved capabilities with the existing PAK-FA, are losing out by not participating in the on-going design and test flying in Russia.


How Rafale is killing the (Indian) air force's future

Gen-5 fighters are designed to be stealthy, which means enemy radar cannot detect them until it is too late.


The IAF's objections to the FGFA are (a) The Russians are reluctant to share critical design information; (b) The fighter's current AL-41F1 engines are inadequate, being mere upgrades of the Sukhoi-30MKI's AL-31 engines; and (c) It is so expensive that "a large percentage of IAF's capital budget will be locked up." It is ironical that an air force that is eager to spend an estimated $20 billion on the entirely foreign, Gen-4 Rafale is baulking at spending a fraction of that on co-developing and indigenously manufacturing a Gen-5 fighter, which can be maintained and upgraded cheaply for decades to come.


An entire mythology has come up around the cost with even senior air marshals incorrectly stating that India will spend $11 billion on the FGFA. Even this inflated figure would be modest compared to the $40 billion that America spent in the 1980s and 1990s to develop the Gen-5 F-22 Raptor. Yet, in fact, this $11 billion figure was a defence ministry estimation in 2010, which included numerous items that have nothing to do with R&D. Firstly, the amount included both Russian and Indian expenditure; second, it included several options that India may not require, e.g. $1.5 billion for developing a twin-seat FGFA (which the IAF now says it does not want), and $1.5 billion for a new engine. Third, this included the cost of infrastructure that India must establish to manufacture the aircraft in large numbers for the IAF.


Since India urgently needs to start participating in the flight-test programme, of which the PAK-FA has already completed some 20 per cent, Sukhoi would have to build another prototype for India. That cost too is included in the estimation, along with the ground support equipment and training needed for a full-fledged Indian flight-test programme. With all of this factored in, officials closely involved in the negotiations say that India's share in the project could be about $3.5 to 4 billion.


Both sides have already talked around the R&D contract in such detail that it can be concluded in one sitting, provided Indian negotiators are given the green light from a clear-minded political leadership. The FGFA perfectly fits the "Make in India" idea; the strategy of being ready for a two-front conflict; and the IAF force structure of the future. From the standpoint of negotiation strategy, the timing is perfect. The rouble has plummeted more than 60 per cent against the dollar and the rupee in the last five months after the Ukraine crisis. The Russians will agree to the lower dollar rate that New Delhi has been proposing. The time to strike is now.

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16 février 2015 1 16 /02 /février /2015 15:55
Tir d'un missile de moyenne portée (MMP) à DGA Techniques terrestres le 2 février 2015

Tir d'un missile de moyenne portée (MMP) à DGA Techniques terrestres le 2 février 2015


16/02/2015 DGA


La direction générale de l’armement (DGA) a réalisé avec succès le premier tir du missile de combat terrestre (missile de moyenne portée - MMP) le 2 février 2015, successeur du système d’arme Milan.


Effectué sur le site de DGA Techniques terrestres à Bourges, ce tir de mise au point vient confirmer l’excellente précision de la poursuite du MMP après un accrochage en vol sur une cible à plus de 4 000 mètres, masquée au départ du coup. Cette réussite est le fruit d’un travail coordonné d’acteurs étatiques (DGA et armée de terre) et industriels (MBDA France).


Le MMP est un missile de nouvelle génération à haute technologie. Il constitue l’un des nouveaux programmes du ministère de la Défense destinés à la modernisation de l’armée de terre au titre de la loi de programmation militaire 2014-2019.


Ce missile polyvalent, conçu par la société MBDA France, est en phase de développement. Le contrat de développement a été notifié par la DGA le 3 décembre 2013. Il permettra aux forces de neutraliser les différents types de cibles rencontrés sur l’ensemble des théâtres d’opérations avec une grande précision, tout en maîtrisant les dommages collatéraux et en réduisant leur vulnérabilité pendant le tir. La date de livraison de ce système dans les forces est prévue en 2017.


D’autres campagnes d’essais du MMP sont d’ores et déjà programmées à DGA Techniques terrestres au cours du premier trimestre 2015.

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14 février 2015 6 14 /02 /février /2015 12:40
Armor: Russia Bets On Armata


February 9, 2015:  Strategy Page


Russia has been trying to develop a radical new tank design since the 1960s. This effort already resulted in the T-64, T-72 and T-80. The only design that showed promise was the T-72, but it was not radically new, just a refinement of designs that appeared early in World War II and quickly replaced all competing designs and became the basis for all modern tanks (T-72, M-1, Leopard and so on). When it was clear (by the 1980s) that the T-72 was the best they had, several new versions appeared, not all of them Russian. But it was obvious (especially after several wars) that the T-72 was inferior to Western designs


Russia then sought to create another breakthrough design and after several false starts they believe they finally have a winner in their new “universal combat platform” called the Armata system. The first prototypes of this vehicle began testing in 2013 and the Armata platform is currently being used for the construction of  the new T-14 tank prototypes. This vehicle uses the engine and tracks as well as the heavily armored crew capsule of the Armata system. Added to this is an automated 125mm gun (and 32 shells and missiles) in a turret. There is also a RWS (remote weapons station) for a 30mm autocannon and another for a 12.7mm machine-gun. In addition to the weapons the crew of three would operate several sensor systems (thermal, vidcams and AESA radar) and an automatic defense system for protection against missiles and weapons like RPGs (shaped charge rockets used by the infantry). All this would be in a 55 ton vehicle that would require the services of additional maintenance personnel nearby (behind the fighting) who would help fix problems and assist the crew in maintaining all this complex equipment. Prototypes of the T-14 are supposed to be available for field testing in 2015 or shortly thereafter.


There is already another Armata vehicle. In 2014 Russia began testing the newly built prototypes of its new Kurganets 25 IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle). This is based on the Armata chassis and will eventually replace all the existing BMP and BMD IFVs. Kurganets 25 is very similar to the American M-2 Bradley IFV as it has a turret equipped with a 25mm autocannon and two ATGM (Anti-Tank Guided Missiles) mounted on either side. The turret also has computerized fire control, thermal sensors and a 7.62mm machine-gun. The 25 ton Kurganets 25 will have a front mounted engine, a crew of three and carry six or seven infantry.


As impressive as the Kurganets 25 seems to be, the Russians may have missed the fact that after 2007 the U.S. Army stopped using the M-2 in combat. By then it was clear to the U.S. that the enemy was intent on using mines and roadside bombs in a big way and the M-1 tank, Stryker, and MRAP vehicles were much better able to handle these blast weapons than the M-2.


The Kurganets 25 is only one of several armored vehicles that use the same basic chassis and systems as the T-14, support vehicles and self-propelled artillery. It is rumored that prototypes of some Armata vehicles will be shown in military parades during late 2015.

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14 février 2015 6 14 /02 /février /2015 12:30
Armor: Israel Creates A Two-In-One


February 7, 2015: Strategy Page


The mid-2014 war in Gaza gave Israel the opportunity to aww how many new weapons performed under combat conditions. This included ammunition. Israel introduced its 120mm APAM-MP-T (M329) multi-mission tank shell in 2011 but was not able to test it in heavy combat until the mid-2014 50 Day War with Hamas. The M329 is an anti-personnel and anti-materiel (vehicles or structures) round that has a programmable fuze that allows for air bursts and detonation when close to a moving target (like helicopters). The M329 acts like a high explosive round when fired at buildings or bunkers. The tank gunner can select how the fuze will operate before firing a shell. Thus the M329 fuze can be set to penetrate a wall and then explode inside, or detonate in the air over troops in trenches.  This makes the M329 useful for destroying buildings or just killing or wounding enemy troops. Max range of the M329 is 5,000 meters and it is very accurate.


Israel developed the M329 because similar American multi-mission 120mm rounds had appeared earlier and Israel has used some of them in combat. Suggestions from Israeli troops led Israel to design their own multi-mission ammo like the M329. Multi-mission tank rounds began appearing in the 1990s and since then there have been several generations of such tank gun ammunition. Some of these American rounds proved very useful in Iraq and Israel a decade ago. These new shells were better at killing infantry, and destroying bunkers and buildings, rather than destroying tanks. With the end of the Cold War, there has not been a lot of tank-versus-tank combat, and existing anti-tank shells were more than adequate for that. But for post-Cold War combat new and improved shells would be useful.


Not surprisingly in the 1990s new shells were developed for these new conditions. In some cases older shells were recycled with new features. Thus 19,000 American M830A1 multipurpose 120mm tank gun rounds were modified to become M908 shells. This made them more lethal against bunkers, buildings and unarmored vehicles. In addition, there was the M1028, which is a 120mm shotgun shell (containing 1100 10mm tungsten balls, that can kill or wound at up to 700 meters from the tank), that began production in 2002. This shell, and the M908, were what American M-1 tanks use nearly all the time in Iraq.


Israel had pioneered both types of “irregular combat” tank ammunition and used their versions heavily in Palestinian areas after Israeli troops withdrew from Gaza and that are became a Islamic terrorists sanctuary. The M908 and M1028 shells make tanks much more useful in urban fighting. Hostile gunmen often take cover in buildings, or trees and crops. The M908 can knock down buildings, and the M1028 can clear out anyone sniping at you from lighter structures or vegetation. The M329 provides even more flexibility for when tanks are not fighting other tanks and replaces the capabilities of both the M908 and M1028. Now, like those two older designs, the M329 has plenty of combat experience to demonstrate what worked and how well.

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13 février 2015 5 13 /02 /février /2015 17:35
Russia 'stole' Chinese Zubr contract from Ukraine


13 February 2015 Pacific Sentinel


An agreement is thought to have been reached between Russia and China under which the former will construct Zubr-class air-cushioned landing craft (LCAC) in China. This much is assumed from a piece entitled "Russia Steals an International Defense Contract from Ukraine" on Russian online news site Vzglyad.


The contract was originally signed by China and Ukraine. The ships were to be constructed at Feodosiya Shipyard in Ukraine under an agreement with the state-owned Ukrainian Defense Industry, according to a Russian shipbuilding industry source cited in the article. Now, it seems, Russia's state-run Rosoboronexport will be responsible for the project.


Ukraine does not have exclusive rights to build and sell the air-cushioned craft, as the technology belongs to Russia, according to the online paper. In order to prevent protests from Russia, Ukraine made slight adjustments to the landing craft and renamed it the Project 958 Zubr LCAC from its previous designation of Project 1232.2. Under the terms of the contract, last spring Ukraine delivered two of the craft to China.


Read the full story at Want China Times

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13 février 2015 5 13 /02 /février /2015 12:20
Lockeed Martin's Legion Pod Takes Flight


ORLANDO, Fla., Feb. 12, 2015 Lockheed Martin


Lockheed Martin introduced Legion Pod – a multi-function sensor system that supports collaborative targeting operations between multiple aircraft in radar-denied environments.

Combining Lockheed Martin’s IRST21™ infrared sensor with advanced networking and data processing technology, Legion Pod provides high-fidelity detection and tracking of airborne targets. Designed for flexibility, Legion Pod also accommodates additional sensors within its current structure to address diverse mission requirements across a variety of platforms.

“Legion Pod fills a critical need for today’s warfighters, providing unique detection and tracking data for joint targeting operations,” said Ken Fuhr, director of fixed wing programs at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “As a flexible, production-ready system, Legion Pod can be quickly procured and integrated to meet current and emerging customer requirements.”

Legion Pod is available to support the current F-15C infrared search and track program of record, which requires long-range detection and tracking in a wide field of view. Due to its flexible design, Legion Pod also supports the emerging Multi-Domain Adaptable Processing System and offers advanced capability for a variety of platforms, including non-fighter aircraft.

Lockheed Martin developed Legion Pod through internal investment, and pod components have completed limited qualification. Initial flight tests will occur this year, with additional flight tests planned for 2016.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 112,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2014 were $45.6 billion.

Legion Pod infographic – Source Lockheed Martin

Legion Pod infographic – Source Lockheed Martin

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13 février 2015 5 13 /02 /février /2015 08:54
Le 2e Étranger a pris livraison de ses premiers VBCI

Le 31 janvier, le 2e régiment étranger d’infanterie (2e REI) de Nîmes a reçu ses premiers véhicules blindés de combat d’infanterie (VBCI)


12 février, 2015 par Nathan Gain (FOB)


Le 2e Régiment Étranger d’Infanterie de l’Armée Française a récemment prouvé à nouveau qu’il pouvait à la fois approcher de sa 174e année d’existence, compter dans ses rangs un authentique mulet, nommé Tapanar, et disposer d’un matériel militaire de pointe.


C’est en suivant cette philosophie que le 2e REI a pris livraison, le 31 janvier 2015, de 17 Véhicules Blindés de Combat d’Infanterie (VBCI) flambants neufs. Fort de 1230 hommes, le 2e REI devient ainsi le huitième et dernier régiment français à être équipé de ce type de matériel.


Dans la matinée du 31 janvier, les 17 VBCI ont été déchargés par les légionnaires sur la plateforme de débarquement de la zone industrielle de Grezan. Des éléments du 503e régiment du train ont ensuite escorté le convoi jusqu’aux quartiers du 2e Étranger, situés à Nîmes, pour une mise en condition opérationnelle dans l’après-midi.  Ces VBCI viennent désormais compléter un parc régimentaire déjà composé, entre autres, des célèbres VAB HOT et VBL Milan.


Dédié au transport, à la protection et à l’appui feu des unités d’infanteries, le VBCI a d’ores et déjà prouvé sa valeur au sein des nombreuses opérations extérieures menées par l’Armée Française. Depuis son incorporation au sein de l’armée française en septembre 2008, le VBCI a été engagé avec succès en Afghanistan, au Liban, au Mali et, plus récemment, en République Centrafricaine.


Fruit de la collaboration de Nexter Systems et de Renault Trucks Defense, le VBCI, en version VCI (Véhicule de Combat d’Infanterie), peut transporter un groupe de combat de huit hommes et est armé d’un tourelle Tarask équipée d’un canon de calibre 25 mm et d’une mitrailleuse de calibre 7,62 mm.


Gageons que ce nouveau matériel saura parfaitement servir la devise du 2e Étranger, « Être prêt ».

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13 février 2015 5 13 /02 /février /2015 08:50
General Dynamics European Land Systems and Excalibur Army collaborate to market, sell and service the Pandur II 8×8

06.02.2015 Defense Global

General Dynamics European Land Systems-Steyr GmbH, and the Czech Republic company Excalibur Army entered into a collaboration that allows Excalibur Army to exclusively market, sell and service the Pandur II 8×8 wheeled armoured vehicle family in Czech Republic and other selected markets in Eastern Europe and Asia.


The vehicles will be manufactured under license at Excalibur Army sites in Czech Republic and Slovakia. General Dynamics European Land Systems-Steyr will support Excalibur Army’s activities with design services and delivery of components.

The two companies will bring the benefits of this partnership to compete for the Czech Ministry of Defence program to build and supply 20 Pandur II 8×8 command and communication vehicles.

The Czech Republic currently field 107 Pandur II vehicles, with several of them locally produced by VOP CZ.

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13 février 2015 5 13 /02 /février /2015 08:35
Bird-Eye 400 photo IAI

Bird-Eye 400 photo IAI


Feb 11, 2015 Defence-Update


The agreement covers local production of IAI's Bird-Eye 400 and Bird-Eye 650 mini UAS as well as other mini-unmanned aerial systems


Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and India’s Alpha Design Technologies have signed a teaming agreement for the production and marketing of mini-Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) in India to accommodate the operational needs of Indian customers. Potential customers in India include security agencies and all defense organizations including police forces, coastguard and Border Security Forces (BSF).


According to Shaul Shahar, IAI VP and General Manager of the Military Aircraft Group, the agreement with Alpha follows India’s policy for ‘Buy and make India’. “The important vision of ‘Make in India’ is being made fully effective by this joint effort. Alpha will meet the huge market in India and will examine further, later exports by Alpha, through IAI to various countries”. Col. H. S. Shankar, Chairman & Managing Director, Alpha Design Technologies Private Limited, added.


The agreement covers local production of IAI’s Bird-Eye 400 and Bird-Eye 650 mini UAS as well as other mini-unmanned aerial systems. Production of the systems will take place in India, while the marketing will be a joint effort of the two companies. Alpha Alpha will also provide integration of the systems in India, with IAI’s support.

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13 février 2015 5 13 /02 /février /2015 08:35
Minsk a Kiev class aviation cruiser

Minsk a Kiev class aviation cruiser


13 February 2015 by Pacific Sentinel


China's ability to modify its two decommissioned Soviet era Kiev-class aircraft carriers which now serve as hotel-theme parks in Tianjian and Shenzhen has been discussed in a recent article on Beijing-based website Sina Military Network on Feb. 10.


The Kiev and the Minsk were the first two vessels of four Kiev-class aircraft carriers built for the Soviet navy back in the 1970s. Also known as aviation cruisers, the 45,000-ton vessels can be equipped with 80 to 200 surface-to-air missiles, two dual-purpose guns, eight close-in weapons systems and 10 torpedo tubes. The ships have a speed of 32 knots and are capable of carrying between 12 and 13 Yak-38 fighters with vertical take-off and landing capability. The ships can also carry 14 to 17 Ka-25 or Ka-27/29 helicopters.


Read the full story at Want China Times

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13 février 2015 5 13 /02 /février /2015 08:35
France, India Disagree Over Key Rafale Contract Issue


Feb 12, 2015 by Jay Menon, Caroline Bruneau and Amy Svitak - Aviation Week & Space Technology


France will not warranty Indian-built aircraft

After months of seeing Dassault Aviation being browbeaten in the Indian press, French arms procurement agency DGA defended its contractor, asserting that a 2012 agreement to provide India with Rafale fighter jets never committed the company to guarantee aircraft manufactured in India at state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL). However, a recent senior adviser to HAL’s management tells Aviation Week that guaranteeing HAL’s work is not the issue, but that the French are being “rigid” and refusing to stand behind the integrity of the design.

“Dassault will not be responsible for the whole contract. It is a co-management setup,” says French defense procurement chief Laurent Collet-Billon, who was clear that France will not assume full liability for HAL-built Rafales. “It cannot be a problem, because it was not in the request for proposals [RFP].”

Speaking to reporters during an annual media address Feb. 9, France’s arms procurement chief said the €10.2 billion ($12 billion) agreement—which has been under negotiation for more than three years—calls for the first 18 of 126 Rafale jets to be built in France. After that, HAL would take over production of the remaining 108 aircraft.


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13 février 2015 5 13 /02 /février /2015 08:30
Volvo Group Government Sales (VGGS) at IDEX 2015

11.02.2015 Defesa Global

Volvo Group Government Sales (VGGS), through its operations Renault Trucks Defense, ACMAT Defense, Pangard Defense, Volvo Defense and Mack Defense), will display several vehicles at IDEX 2015 exhibition and conference event to be held in Abu Dhabi, UAE 22-26 February.


The display will comprise Renault Trucks Defense VAB MK III 6×6 infantry fighting vehicle; ACMAT Defense Bastion PATSAS HM 4×4 special forces vehicle; Panhard Defense VBL Mk II 4×4 reconnaissance vehicle; ACMAT Defense Dagger APC (also known as PVP) command and liaison vehicle; Renault Trucks Defense Sherpa APC XL: 4×4 armored fighting vehicle; Renault Trucks Defense Higuard Police 6×6 medium armored fighting vehicle; Mack Defense Hawkeye Sherpa Carrier 4×4 vehicle with a Mandus Group Hawkeye 105mm mobile mortar system; and Volvo Defense FMX truck.

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13 février 2015 5 13 /02 /février /2015 08:25
L’Embraer KC-390 fait son premier vol (video)

L’avion de transport brésilien KC-390 a effectué son premier vol avec succès le 3 février à São José dos Campos (source : Embraer).


4 février 2015 par Edouard Maire – Info Aviation


L’avion a volé durant 1 heure et 25 minutes piloté par Mozart Louzada et Marcos de Oliveira Lima Salgado. L’équipage comprenait également les ingénieurs d’essais Raphaël Lima et Roberto Becker pour l’évaluation des qualités et performances de vol.


« Le KC-390 est le résultat d’une coopération étroite avec la Force aérienne brésilienne et nos partenaires internationaux. Il représente ce qui est probablement le plus grand défi technologique que la société n’ait jamais rencontré dans son histoire. Nous sommes profondément émus d’avoir atteint cette étape », a déclaré Frederico Fleury Curado, président d’Embraer.


« Le KC-390 sera l’épine dorsale de l’aviation de transport pour l’armée de l’air brésilienne. De l’Amazonie à l’Antarctique, la flotte de 28 avions jouera un rôle clé dans la diversité des projets de l’État brésilien, dans la recherche scientifique pour le maintien de la souveraineté « , a déclaré le général Nivaldo Luiz Rossato, commandant de la Force aérienne du Brésil.


Durant ce premier vol, l’équipage du KC-390 a effectué des manoeuvres pour évaluer ses caractéristiques de vol et a mené une série de tests des systèmes après plusieurs simulations au sol.


« Le KC-390 s’est comporté de façon réactive et prévisible », a déclaré le capitaine Louzada. « Le système de contrôle fly-by-wire et l’avionique de dernière génération facilite considérablement le vol. »

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13 février 2015 5 13 /02 /février /2015 08:20
Predator XP drone embarks on 40+ hour long-endurance flight


Feb 12, 2015 by defense-update.com

During the flight, the Predator XP RPA validated its long-endurance capability by flying at 10,000 feet for greater than 40 hours. Predator XP is currently in production, with the first production aircraft to be delivered in 2016. The UAE, considered to be one of the lead customers for this model is planning to buy 10 such aircraft.


General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI), has recently completed the longest mission of a Predator Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA). The flight performed by a company built launched on February 6 and landed on February 8, 2015 during a 40-plus hour flight conducted at GA-ASI’s Castle Dome Flight Operations Facility located at Yuma Proving Grounds, Ariz.

“This flight truly demonstrated the long- endurance capability of our latest RPA

During the flight, the Predator XP RPA validated its long-endurance capability by flying at 10,000 feet for greater than 40 hours. The RPA that flew the mission is a production representation aircraft designed and built on Internal Research and Development (IRAD) funds. Predator XP is currently in production, with the first production aircraft to be delivered in 2016. The UAE, considered to be one of the lead customers for this model is planning to buy 10 such aircraft.

“This flight was a landmark event for Predator XP in that it truly demonstrated the long- endurance capability of our latest RPA,” said Frank W. Pace, president, Aircraft Systems, GA-ASI. “In addition, it was a new company record for our aircraft.” Predator XP, an advanced derivative of the mission-proven MQ-1 Predator RPA that has accumulated over two million flight hours since 1994.

Predator XP is an updated version of the company’s flagship Predator RPA that has been licensed by the U.S. Government for sale to a broader customer base to include countries in the Middle East, North Africa, South America, and Asia. In October 2014  the U.S. Government has granted GA-ASI a ‘DSP-5′ export license allowing the company to offer Predator XP to the Government of India. The company is also discussing the potential sale with local industry.

Beyond its long endurance, the aircraft’s distinctive features include wingtip winglets and enhanced payload assembly under the nose. Advanced capabilities include a Satellite Communications (SATCOM) data link; Automatic Takeoff and Landing System (ATLS); a full-motion video camera (optical and infrared); GA-ASI’s Lynx   Multi-mode Radar with ground imaging (Synthetic Aperture Radar/ SAR), maritime surface search, and Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI) modes; an Automatic Identification System (AIS) for maritime patrol; and triple-redundant avionics. Following the export restrictions imposed by the US government, unlike the Predator models used by the CIA and Air Force, or Gray Eagle used by the U.S. Army, Predator XP is not designed to carry weapons.

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13 février 2015 5 13 /02 /février /2015 07:40
Russia claims it's in the early stages of developing an aircraft carrier that can hold 100 planes


Feb. 10, 2015, Jeremy Bender - uk.businessinsider.com


Russia's government-owned Krylov State Research Center is on its way towards developing Russia's latest aircraft carrier, according to Russian media. 

The aircraft carrier is in a very rudimentary stage of its development. It's still under conceptual testing in Krylov's laboratory.

But if the tests prove successful and the carrier's design is deemed plausible, the research center will follow through with a 1:1 scale metal mock-up of the carrier (China may have just constructed its own mock-up of a new carrier). 

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13 février 2015 5 13 /02 /février /2015 07:30
"The World Seeks Inexpensive Precision Munitions”


7/2/2015 Amir Rapaport - israeldefense.com


On the eve of the year when IMI is to be sold, CEO Avi Felder speaks about the privatization project, a cooperative with Rafael and the lessons derived from Operation "Protective Edge": “Urban wars will continue”


At the outset of 2015, Avi Felder faces a series of unusual challenges: completing the structural revision within IMI, assimilating the lessons of Operation Protective Edge with regard to the Company’s product range, and above all – facilitating the privatization of IMI, after some elements possessing secret information on the manufacture of rocket engines have been separated from it, and a new company, "Tomer" has been established.

Felder is confident that the coming year will end with IMI, one of Israel’s longest running government companies, under a different ownership, either private or public.

“2015 will be a year at the end of which we should emerge as a privatized company under private, or more precisely non-government ownership,” says Felder.


Does the fact that the Knesset has been dissolved and elections will be held next March change the privatizing plans?

“The train has already left the station. The process will not stop because of the elections. The Government Companies Authority is in charge of this process. We assist it in order to comply with all of the terms. So far, the Company has complied with 100% of the plan prescribed for it. I assume this compliance will remain the same. Later on, the process will be more technical and not one that calls for decisions that could be influenced by the elections.”


Where are we in the process right now?

“In January 2015, an advertisement will be published, calling for companies that would like to participate in the purchase to submit their bids. Subsequently, the regulator should approve the companies included in the bidding and it is planned that by the end of March or in early April at the latest, those companies will receive a detailed RFP and submit their responses to it. By the end of the year, the process will be concluded. We are currently working on the establishment of information rooms, to be opened in late March, for the benefit of the bidders, so that they may use the information to make a decision regarding the tender without compromising details that may adversely affect our on-going competitive position vis-à-vis the companies that may eventually purchase us. At the same time, other processes are progressing as well. During that period, IMI will be split into ‘IMI Systems’ – which would accept all of the Company’s assets and activities, and the residual IMI, which will keep all those things that I refer to as the ‘sins of the past’ – contaminated soil, environmental issues and so forth. The State will assume responsibility for the employees’ pension debts. The split should take place around March. That’s the general direction.

“At the information rooms, the potential buyers will receive all of the information in the most transparent and clear manner that would still protect the Company, as in the end, only one buyer will be selected. In any case, according to the decision of the ministerial committee, IMI Systems will be privatized as a single ‘block’ – it will not be broken down, but sold with all of the production plants and subsidiaries.

“At the same time, we are still working on the establishment of ‘Tomer’ – on the basis of our ‘Givon’ plant (the Rocket Systems Division). Just before IMI is handed over to the buyer, ‘Tomer’ will be separated from it. At this time, we are cooperating with IMOD on the characterization of ‘Tomer’. This plant will deal with all aspects of rocket engines and propulsion, and would sell the engines to IMI just as it is currently done by Givon. It will be a government company – 100% owned by the State of Israel.”


Will the other knowledge centers be privatized?

“Yes. Only the Rocket Systems Division will still be owned by the State of Israel. All of the rest is for sale. We are also working intensively on the relocation of ‘IMI Systems’ to the Negev, which is to take place immediately following the privatization. By 2022 we would no longer be in Ramat HaSharon. To accomplish the relocation to the Negev within seven years – that is a challenge in itself. The relocation process will consist of several phases. Now we are working on the planning of the area we will transfer to. We are considering which activities should be located there. We intend to evaluate what IMI would look like in the coming years, and ensure that some space will be reserved for future development in the context of the relocation to the Negev.”


Will the buyer be required to relocate to the Negev? Will he not be able to change his mind about it?

“There is an agreement, and it will happen. The Government of Israel decided to privatize the Company. In April 2014, 12 contracts were signed between the Company and the trade union and the employees – and the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Defense. These contracts specified everything that had been agreed – the retirement agreement, the agreement regarding the relocation to the Negev – all of these agreements are elements of the privatization process. Now, we take all of those framework agreements and break them down into details, and most importantly – we execute them!”

According to Felder, out of 3,700 IMI employees in early 2014, 700 have already agreed to retire by the end of the year. 500 additional employees will retire over the next few months, and 380 will transfer to ‘Tomer’ after the privatization. At the same time, 250 new employees have been recruited for all positions – from production workers to engineers and marketing managers.


At the bottom line, is the company offered for sale healthy and profitable?



What is your backlog of orders?

“We are entering the coming year with a backlog of orders of about eight billion NIS. As far as I can remember, this is a record for the Company. It gives us solid working prospects for the next four years. Beyond that backlog, we are taking into account an internal growth of something like 10% a year. The Company will be profitable in 2016.”


Does the backlog include Givon?

“Yes, but not in considerable numbers – around 200-300 million NIS, as over there they have many things that come in over the year and are executed promptly. The backlog also includes our subsidiary ‘Ashot Ashkelon Industries’, which has a backlog of orders of 900 million NIS. ‘Ashot’ is a profitable company with 15% holdings on the Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange, and it will remain profitable.”


What is the ratio between foreign and domestic business?

“About 40% of IMI’s sales are to IMOD and 60% to overseas clients.”


Investments & Structural Change


Avi Felder says that apart from the preparations for the tender, IMI is undergoing some major changes: “We are investing in the purchasing of machines for the production floors in all of the Company’s plants, and have launched a three-year plan for upgrading the Company’s IT system. We have not made any investments in infrastructure for many years, owing to the budget restrictions we were under.

“Another major change is the completion of the establishment of the business administrations within the Company. In 2014 we initiated the establishment of business administrations for infantry, armored forces, engineering, artillery, air and HLS. The function of these administrations is to deal with project management, system engineering and marketing, and be client-driven. In my view, the administrations are the locomotives of the Company. In 2015, these locomotives will pull out and start off.”


How long will "IMI Systems" remain independent?

“I do not know. I assume that a wise and reasonable buyer will continue to operate ‘IMI Systems’ as a business entity and lead it to new horizons. Even under the new ownership, the Company will operate under government regulation, as it operates today.

“There is no difference in the regulative work, regardless of whether it is a private or a government company, small or large.”


In the event that the buyer turns out to be Elbit Systems, will IMI be merged into the group?

“Elop remained Elop even under Elbit’s ownership, and Elisra also remained a separate company. I cannot step into the buyer’s shoes, whoever he may be, he is committed to a certain period of time when ‘IMI Systems’ will continue to be a company. In any case, I do not foresee any dramatic changes initially. In such a process, when a buyer enters a company, he will first of all familiarize himself with it.

“IMI, in particular, is like an aircraft carrier. It is not a small company. The buyer will have to study all of its obscurities, familiarize himself with its engine. Subsequently, he will have to determine whether he can create a synergy with other activities. In my opinion, this stage will take a reasonable amount of time.”


Regardless of the Privatization, has your product range changed over the last five-year period?

“Yes. I think that the similarity between our products today and the range of products we had five years ago is only in the names of the activities, but not in the products. In the field of infantry, for example, we have introduced over the last few years the MPRS system for firing rifle grenades with a high degree of precision, a high-accuracy mortar shell and a new hand grenade with improved safety devices. In the armored forces field, we introduced the 120mm APAM-MP-T M329 tank cartridge, 105mm APAM-MP-T M117/1 tank cartridge and 120mm HE-MP-T M339 tank cartridge. The latter cartridge was used operationally for the first time during Operation Protective Edge, and proved to be a fantastic success.

“Another activity which has developed significantly is artillery rockets. In that field, too, we have introduced a range of completely new products. We now have rockets to ranges of 40 to 250 kilometers, with a CEP of a few meters.”

You surprised everyone with your Predator Hawk guided artillery rocket to a range of 250 km, which you unveiled at the KADEX exhibition in Kazakhstan last summer

“As far as I am concerned, it was no surprise. Anyone who is familiar with our capabilities only asks us ‘when will you introduce the next rocket’.”


What can you say about the sales of the Extra rocket to a range of 150 km?

“This rocket has already been sold to several countries around the world, having passed several perfect trials. This is one example of the change the Company underwent. This deal was signed and delivered very quickly. We fully accomplished our objectives and our clients were satisfied, and even more importantly – satisfied clients come back. In this context, the Predator Hawk is an example of a satisfied client who came back.

“It is important to understand further that we are not just talking about the rocket itself, but rather about a layout of rockets. We sell a complete battalion or brigade, fully equipped from head to toe – the rockets for the launchers, the command centers, the ammunition, the meteorology, the UAV as well as a training and instruction package. The nice thing about the clients who purchased such layouts is that they currently use the rockets without us, in their training exercises.

“In the air category, we introduced the MPR-500 bomb, which was also used operationally for the first time during Operation Protective Edge. As far as we know, it was also tremendously successful.”


What are the sales of this bomb like, apart from sales to the IDF?

“We have had a few sales transactions as well as distribution agreements with some major corporations in the global market – these cooperative alliances apply to manufacturing as well as to sales. For obvious reasons, I cannot name the corporations with whom we entered those agreements.”


What about the continued manufacturing of "loitering weapons", after you developed the Delilah in the last decade?

“It is not our field. We have had no presence in the world of loitering weapons after the Delilah.”


Where do you stand in the field of active defense?

“We are currently engaged in a dialog with Rafael with the intention establishing a cooperative alliance on the issue of active defense. IMOD convened both Rafael and us recently, and at this time both companies are cooperating with the aim of developing the best system for IDF.”

According to Felder, the intention is to combine between Rafael’s Trophy system and IMI’s Iron Fist system, so that the interceptor will be made by IMI, the radar will be made by IAI (as in the Trophy system) and Rafael will serve as the primary contractor and integrator of the project. “We are currently working on the agreement between the companies,” said Felder. “The ownership structure for the project has not been finalized yet, but the general direction is a partnership.”


A partnership with 40% for Rafael, 30% for IAI and 30% for IMI?

“That is the general direction.”


Technologically, can a combination of the Iron Fist and Trophy systems really work?

“The engineers of these companies can do anything. All you have to do is just provide them with a suitable working environment.”


Will the system be available for the future Namer (Merkava) APCs?

“That is for IDF to decide.”


Will it be relevant to export sales as well?

“Provided we receive export permits.”


Generally, in your view, has the transition to the manufacture of precision munitions proved itself?

“Without a doubt, Operation Protective Edge proved to IMI that our development directions were correct. The entire subject of precision guided munitions suitable for urban warfare, on which we have been focusing all these years, has proven itself. The emphasis has been on inexpensive precision munitions that clients can afford. Every two years we prepare a strategic plan for five years ahead. After Operation Protective Edge we set up a team to check whether we are on the right track or need to make adjustments. We came to a sweeping conclusion that the trends were correct. Naturally, some adjustments were required, but no substantial changes.”


What about the fields of cyber and HLS?

“These are new activities which we entered recently. HLS had already existed (within IMI), on the basis of the IMI Academy for Advanced Security & Anti-Terror Training. The Academy provides an excellent basis for soaring and reaching better places. Thus far, the Company has not dealt with it very intensively, but the establishment of the HLS administration is a clear indication of the fact that we want to go in that direction, and take advantage of suitable products that we already have and of the Company’s marketing and integration capabilities.

“We established the cyber element for two reasons: firstly, to defend our products. Obviously, you cannot sell anything today without cyber defense. Secondly, we expanded our cyber defense activity on the basis of a more comprehensive perspective.”


Did you identify a business potential in this field?



And what about the more traditional fields of activity? Upgrades for armored still a business potential there?

“There is business in all of those fields. In the field of armored vehicle upgrades we are currently engaged in several projects around the world. In small arms ammunition, our sales to the IDF provide the primary basis for us, but we also sell to retail chains in the USA. In the USA we are regarded as manufacturers of premium ammunition. Our ammunition has excellent reputation. This market is twice as large as the military market, and is very stable.” Felder noted that IMI will once again participate in the SHOT Show, to be held in Las Vegas in January 2015.”

Regarding the new infantry vehicle, Combat Guard, developed by IMI, Felder said: “We developed one vehicle prototype that we showcased at the exhibition in Paris, and received a very serious response. We regard infantry mobilization as one of the legs the Company stands on. We are also involved in the Namer APC, the Body Guard and another off-road vehicle designated Wildcat. The advantage of these off-road vehicles is that they can operate on any terrain, under any conditions. For these vehicles, we also developed weapon systems that can promptly engage any threat based on identification data provided by the active defense system.”


In your view, has the era of wars between regular military forces ended?

“I always say – the unexpected is the only expected element in wars. I assume the military is being prepared so as to provide a solution to any potential scenario, and we attempt to be present at any niche that may prove attractive to the client. The primary characteristic of the battlefield today is the fact that it is constantly changing.”


What trends do you see evolving in the global defense market in the coming year?

“We regularly analyze the global trends. You see the defense budget in the USA, which once was at the highest level and is now being maintained at a certain level. The budgets in Europe have decreased drastically, with the exception of Russia – where the budget has increased by approximately 50%. China has also increased its budget by 50%. The budgets have moved eastward. The increase in the Russian and Chinese budgets has led to a boost in defense expenditure in the entire region. The drop in oil prices has also had a profound influence on the market.

“Generally, Israeli industry and the entire defense industry of Israel are at the technological top. We must retain that by investing in R&D, which yields a very high added value.”

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12 février 2015 4 12 /02 /février /2015 18:30
La FREMM Normandie au port de Toulon - photo Marine Nationale

La FREMM Normandie au port de Toulon - photo Marine Nationale


12 February 2015 by defenceWeb


The French Navy is supportive of tentative plans to sell its FREMM frigate Normandie to Egypt at short notice, with the vessel to be delivered before August.


The vessel, built by DCNS, is currently undergoing sea trials. French Navy chief Admiral Bernard Rogel said earlier this week that Normandie could be handed over to Egypt later this year if its transfer does not affect French Navy operations.


"Just for now it's not a done deal," Rogel said. "Everyone is talking about it, so it's no secret that today we are working on a request from Egypt, the purchase of a multimission frigate with a very quick delivery, for the summer 2015," he told the French defence journalists association.


In order for this to happen, the French Navy would have to extend the life of one of the F70 anti-submarine frigates due to be replaced by the FREMMs (this would be the Motcalm, due to be decommissioned this year), and DCNS would have to deliver six FREMMs by 2018.


"There should not be an overall impact on the Navy, which is already very extended," Rogel said. "The shipbuilder must be able to guarantee we will have four FREMM frigates by 2016 and six FREMM frigates by 2018. I have been seriously told that could be done. With those conditions, the Normandie can be sold," he said.


The speeded up schedule necessitated by a sale to Egypt goes against the French government’s plans of slowing down FREMM deliveries in order to feel less of a financial impact, Defense News reports.


The French ministry of defence is facing a 2.2 billion euro budget shortfall this year, and as a result is considering selling and leasing back up to six Airbus A400M Atlas transport aircraft and two or three FREMM frigates. The money from the sales would go to the defence budget while the defence ministry would lease back the equipment from state-owned companies. France’s defence procurement budget faces a 5.5 billion euro shortfall between 2014 and 2019.


French defence procurement head Laurent Collet-Billon on Monday said that France plans to later extend the sale and leaseback model to other equipment like C295 transport aircraft and military helicopters.


Egypt is currently negotiating the sale of 24 Dassault Rafale fighter jets as well as the FREMM and Mica and Aster 15 missiles from MBDA in a combined deal worth five to six billion euros. A French source on Tuesday said the deal was imminent.


Egypt is keen to acquire the Rafales and FREMM in time for the planned opening of a new waterway for the Suez Canal in August. It also hopes to get the Rafales from French military stocks.


Last year Egypt ordered four DCNS Gowind corvettes worth around 1 billion euros from France, with options for two more.


France has eight FREMM frigates on order plus three options. The first of class, Aquitaine, was commissioned in November 2012 while the third vessel, Provence, was launched in September 2013 with sea trials beginning in September last year. The fourth vessel, Languedoc, is due for delivery in 2016.


The multirole FREMM frigates have been designed for several roles, including anti-air, anti-ship and anti-submarine warfare. They feature Herakles multifunction radar, Aster surface-to-air missiles, MdCN cruise missiles, Exocet MM40 anti-ship missiles, MU90 torpedoes and an Otobreda 76 mm gun. Each vessel is 142 metres long, has a beam of 20 metres and displaces 6 000 tonnes.


Although there is accommodation for 145 personnel, the standard complement is 108 including the helicopter crew - the frigate has an aft helicopter hangar and deck able to accommodate medium helicopters like the NH90, EH101 and Cougar.


The FREMM's hybrid CODLOG (COmbined Diesel eLectric Or Gas) power package combines electric motors for low-speed silent-mode propulsion and a gas turbine for high-speed mechanical propulsion, with a maximum speed in excess of 27 knots. This gives a range of 6 000 nm at 15 knots.

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12 février 2015 4 12 /02 /février /2015 17:50
ATV - Autonomous Docking

12 févr. 2015 Airbus DS


A system with lidar (= laser radar) sensors was tested on ATV-5. The sensors enable an autonomous docking to uncooperative random objects - maybe in future asteroids.
More information on ATV: http://bit.ly/1vmxh5Z

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