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18 juin 2014 3 18 /06 /juin /2014 16:50
Royal Air Force B-2 exchange pilot



18 June 2014 Royal Air Force


Royal Air Force personnel exchange places with overseas counterparts to improve relationships and integration. Here Tornado GR4 pilot Flt Lt Ian Hart talks about the B-2A Spirit stealth bomber which he is currently flying in the USA.

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30 mars 2014 7 30 /03 /mars /2014 07:50
PL-01 photo Polish Ministry of National Defence

PL-01 photo Polish Ministry of National Defence


27/03/2014 by Paul Fiddian - Armed Forces International's Lead Reporter


A new stealth tank design is in development for the Polish Land Forces via a partnership between BAE Systems and Poland's OBRUM (Ośrodek Badawczo - Rozwojowy Urządzeń Mechanicznych) defence group.


The PL-01 currently exists as a low-observability battlefield concept demonstrator, which had its public debut in September 2013. Now, work is progressing on the PL-01 stealth tank prototype, with completion scheduled for 2016, followed by full-rate production and entry-into-service two years later.


The PL-01 battlefield tank's key features include an angular structure, aimed at deflecting radar. Reactive panelling is also present, able to adjust the PL-01's surface temperature so it matches local environmental conditions. This capability will help the PL-01 avoid thermal imaging scans while hi-tech camouflage will also serve to lower its visual profile.


Polish Stealth Tank


The Polish stealth tank might be designed to operate under a cloak of concealment, rendering it virtually invisible, but it also boasts considerable firepower. Its armament includes an unmanned turret, smoke grenade launchers and a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun.


For the operator, an array of integrated cameras supply an almost 360 degree field of view and the design can accommodate three Polish Land Forces personnel in total. Top speed will be 70 kilometres per hour on flat surfaces, dropping to 50 kilometres per hour on rough terrain, while the PL-01 will have a maximum range of 500 kilometres.


PL-01: Poland


First and foremost, Poland's PL-01 will serve as a battlefield tank but modular features will also allow it to serve in the command, mine clearance or armoured vehicle repair roles.


The modern-day Polish Land Forces has been active since 1918. Its equipment includes some 900 tanks, 1,500 infantry fighting vehicles and 900 helicopters. Upgraded Soviet-era technology leads the way but a modernisation programme is in motion, of which the PL-01 forms part.


The Polish Land Forces' recent operational engagements have included deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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26 mars 2014 3 26 /03 /mars /2014 08:20
B-2 stealth bomber photo US Air Force

B-2 stealth bomber photo US Air Force


25 Mar 2014 by Jon Hemmerdinger – FG


Washington DC - A US Air Force report about a 2010 fire on a Northrop Grumman B-2 bomber says that firefighting crews in Guam were unfamiliar with the aircraft’s tailpipe or with the potential for tailpipe fires.


The report, dated 26 May 2010 but only recently posted on the USAF’s website, attributes the fire to the aircraft’s design and inadequate flight manuals, but calls attention to training shortcomings with the firefighting team at Andersen AFB on Guam.


It says those shortcomings likely resulted in additional damage to the roughly $1.7 billion aircraft, which required $64.4 million in repairs over nearly four years.


Two fire chiefs at Guam told the USAF “they were unaware that a tailpipe bay existed, and they were unaware that there was a potential for fire inside it,” says the report.


The USAF did not immediately provide answer to questions about why fire crews were ill prepared, or about any steps taken to improve training.


The fire began on 26 February 2010, after the crew started all four of the aircraft’s General Electric F118 engines, and then shut one down following a generator problem.


During restart, “reverse airflow”, possibly caused by the adjacent running engine, drew fuel vapour into the tailpipe, says the report. The vapour ignited, which ignited oil-soaked foam in the tailpipe bay, says the report.


Firefighters contained the blaze after 26min, but applied less than 5% of 34,000 gallons of extinguishing fluid on the tailpipe. That was where the fire was hottest, at about 1,000˚F, says the report.


“There were delays in putting agent on the fire at its source in the tailpipe bay, which allowed the fire to burn longer and likely resulted in increased damage,” says the USAF. “No one in the Andersen AFB fire department was familiar with B-2 tailpipe bays.”


The USAF also recently released a report about a second B-2 ground incident, which occurred on 8 July 2011 at Whiteman AFB in Missouri. Crew error contributed to that incident, which involved overheating of the aircraft’s pitot system, says the report.


The overheating occurred because the pitot static heat switch was turned to the “on” position for 67min while the aircraft was connected to ground power during a fuel-offloading procedure, says the report.


“This action was a clear procedural error and a causal factor in the mishap,” says the report. “This switch must be in the off position prior to applying external electrical power.”


The USAF says it could not determine which crew member turned on the switch, but notes that it could have been mistaken for the adjacent windshield defog switch, which should be set to “min” while under ground power.


The overheating damaged all of the aircraft‘s 24 static port transducer units and two panels on which the units were mounted, says the USAF.

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24 mars 2014 1 24 /03 /mars /2014 19:35
F-35 Stealth Multirole Fighters For South Korea



24/03/2014 by Paul Fiddian - Armed Forces International's Lead Reporter


The Republic of Korea Air Force is upgrading its equipment, with plans announced to purchase 40 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II stealth multirole fighters and four Northrop Grumman Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles.


South Korea's aim is to revitalise its air force through deals set to be fully firmed-up between July and September 2014, with airframe deliveries tentatively scheduled from 2018 onwards. The Global Hawk UAVs' purchase price isn't known but, according to information given by defence officials to news agency Reuters, the 40 Lightning IIs will cost an estimated $6.8 billion in total.


Previously, South Korea seemed to have chosen the Boeing F-15SE Silent Eagle to meet the Republic of Korea Air Force's future fighter needs. However, in November 2013, it was hinted that, instead, the country's preference had swung towards the Lockheed Martin design.


South Korean F-35 Order


In a statement, Lockheed Martin expressed pleasure at the South Korean F-35 order announcement and pledged to support arrangements between the US and South Korea to set a contract in motion.


"We are honored by and appreciate the trust and confidence the Republic of Korea has placed in the 5th Generation F-35 to meet its demanding security requirements", explained its vice president of aeronautics, Orlando Carvalho. "We look forward to supporting the discussions between the Republic of Korea and US governments in support of a final agreement this year."


South Korea now becomes the tenth nation to have moved to acquire the F-35 Lightning II, alongside the US, UK, Australia, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, Turkey, Israel and Japan.


Lightning II Stealth Multirole Fighter


Produced by a US-led consortium, the F-35 Lightning II stealth multirole fighter features cutting-edge technology aimed at making it undetectable by enemy radars. Three versions are available - the F-35A, F-35B and F-35C. These are capable of conventional (runway-based) take offs and landings, short take offs and landings and aircraft carrier operations, respectively.


The Republic of Korea Air Force has been active since 1949. According to a 2010 count, it operates 760 aircraft, many of them US-origin. McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagles and F-16 Fighting Falcons currently make up the backbone of its fighter fleet.

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4 mars 2014 2 04 /03 /mars /2014 12:35
S. Korean Firm Claims Development of Wideband Radar Absorbing Material

Cony International said it has developed a radar-absorbing material that can be used in development of stealthy fighters, such as for the KF-X project. (Jung Sung-ki)


Mar. 3, 2014 - By JUNG SUNG-KI – Defense News


SEOUL — A South Korean company claims that it has developed a radar absorbing material (RAM) suited to absorption of almost all frequencies.


Cony International, based in Icheon, announced it has developed a RAM with reflectivity lower than -10dB at any frequency.


“The Cony RAM has greater radar absorbency at almost all frequencies,” said Choi Jae-chul, chairman of the company. “This material could be applied to many types of weapons systems, such as fighter jets and warships, for stealth capabilities. It will help improve their survivability and mission capability to a greater extent.”


Korea Maritime and Ocean University evaluated the Cony RAM for its radar cross-section efficiency last November. The absorption rate peaked at a level as high as 98 percent, according to the university.


The national university in Busan is one of the two organizations in South Korea to evaluate the RAM performances. The other is the Agency for Defense Department, affiliated with the Ministry of National Defense.


“RAM generally absorbs radar waves either at a certain frequency or a short range of frequencies,” said Professor Kim Dong-il of the Department of Radio Sciences and Engineering at the university. “But the Cony RAM has been tested to have excellent electromagnetic absorption performance over a wide band.”


The RAM could be used in developing a stealthy fighter jet, Kim said, referring to the country’s KF-X project aimed at developing an F-16 class aircraft with radar-evading stealth capabilities.


Established in 1986, Cony International has long developed microwave absorbing materials both for commercial and military purposes.


In the late 1980s, the company supplied the South Korean Navy with RAMs for warships to resolve electromagnetic interferences.


It also signed a contract with a Middle East nation in 1992 to provide RAMs for fighter aircraft.

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17 décembre 2013 2 17 /12 /décembre /2013 18:20
B-2 Stealth Bomber – 20 Years In Operational Service


December 17, 2013. David Pugliese - Defence Watch


News release from Northrop Grumman Corporation:


On a grey, chilly afternoon 20 years ago today, the first operational B-2 stealth bomber, the Spirit of Missouri, circled the airfield at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., once, then landed, marking the start of a remarkable history that has given the U.S. one of its most powerful defensive – and diplomatic – weapons.


Developed, produced and sustained by a U.S. Air Force/Northrop Grumman Corporation-led (NYSE:NOC) industry team, the B-2 is the nation’s premier long range strike aircraft. The fleet of 20 bombers is based at Whiteman, near Kansas City, ready to defend the nation’s interests anywhere in the world, anytime day or night.


“For 20 years, the B-2 has been one of the nation’s most decisive, most effective weapon systems for defending America’s interests around the world. It deters our enemies and assures our allies of our capabilities and our commitment,” said Brig. Gen. Thomas Bussiere, commander of the Air Force’s 509th Bomb Wing.


The B-2, which can carry both conventional and nuclear weapons, is the only aircraft that combines stealth, long range, large payload and precision weapons. Its stealth characteristics allow it to penetrate sophisticated enemy air defenses and threaten heavily defended targets.


 “The strength of the B-2 lies not simply in its warfighting capabilities, but also in the passion and the spirit of innovation of the men and women who have kept it lethal and effective against evolving threats for the past 20 years,” said Dave Mazur, vice president and B-2 program manager, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. “It remains one of America’s most important symbols of strength and freedom.”


Northrop Grumman leads all B-2 modernization efforts. It also performs programmed depot maintenance on the fleet at its B-2 program office in Palmdale, Calif. Current modernization efforts will enhance the bomber’s communications, defensive and weapons capabilities.


“The capabilities of the B-2, and the technological innovations behind it, are part and parcel of U.S. defensive and diplomatic leadership around the world,” said Mazur. “As it has helped define the present, so it will continue to inform and help define the future.”

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4 novembre 2013 1 04 /11 /novembre /2013 06:35
South Korean Stealth Paint Reduces Radar Signatures


30/10/2013 by Paul Fiddian - Armed Forces International's Lead Reporter


South Korean military scientists have developed a stealthy paint capable of absorbing radar signals.


Produced by the Stealth Technology Center at South Korea's Maritime and Ocean University, the paint could act to protect combat aircraft, armoured vehicles and naval vessels alike.


The product debuted at the most recent Marine Week event held in Busan, South Korea, between 22-25 October 2013. First staged in 1980, South Korea's International Shipbuilding, Marine Equipment and Defence Exhibition is primarily a trade event but, on the final day, members of the public are admitted. Some 50,000 people attended the 2011 edition, which also attracted exhibitors from 12 nations.


South Korean Stealth Paint


The South Korean stealth paint was just one of numerous new military technologies on show this year.


As per comments made to South Korean news agency Yonhap by former Republic of Korea Navy captain Kim Yong-hwan - now the Stealth Technology Center's director - the spray-on stealth paint offers several advantages over traditional electromagnetic wave absorption systems. These include reduced weight and increased durability.


"This paint greatly decreases warships' visibility on radars to help raise their survivability from missile attacks", Stealth Technology Center vice president, Hwang Young-woo, told Yonhap. "It is easy to apply evenly to any surface as it is a spray, saving considerable time compared to other sheets or tiles. Plus, it's much cheaper than the normal paint."


Reduced Radar Signatures


Reduced radar signature techniques are these days in widespread military use.


Stealth technology, now widely-deployed, acts to reduced radar cross-section profiles significantly. The United States is a key stealth technology exponent, as shown in the Northrop B-2 Spirit, F-117A Nighthawk and F-22 Raptor designs.


Stealth also features heavily in the US Navy's brand-new DDG-1000 Zumwalt-class ships while, elsewhere, China is among the other nations now integrating stealth elements into its latest military designs. "As other advanced countries are developing stealth jets and anti-stealth radars, South Korea should speed up developing technology to counter potential threats in future warfare", Hwang concluded.

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5 septembre 2013 4 05 /09 /septembre /2013 11:35
Shenyang J-31 stealth fighter (Falcon Hawk)

Shenyang J-31 stealth fighter (Falcon Hawk)

September 5, 2013: Strategy Page


For over a year now China has been testing a second stealth fighter design. This one is called the J-31 “Falcon Eagle” (from an inscription on the tail), and while it looks like the American F-22, it’s also smaller than China’s other stealth fighter (the J-20, which has been around longer). The J-31 was built by the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (which makes the J-11, the illegal Chinese copy of the Russian Su-27). The J-31 has some characteristics of the F-35 as well and appears to be something of an “F-35” to the earlier J-20s effort to match the American F-22. It’s also possible that the F-31 is a competing (with the J-20) design that is hustling to grab sales the J-20 thought it had all locked up. The J-31 flew for the first time last October and there are at least two prototypes and the designer has talked of the J-31 being able to operate off an aircraft carrier (like the U.S. F-35 and the J-15, a J-11 variant).  One advantage the J-31 has is two engines, compared to one for the F-35. This means the J-31 could carry more weapons, but this is less crucial with all the guided weapons available.


The J-31 is further evidence that China is determined to develop its own high tech military gear. While China is eager to develop advanced military technology locally, it recognizes that this takes time and more effort than nations new to this expect. Thus China is trying to avoid the mistakes Russia made in this area. That means having competing designs and developing necessary supporting industries is part of that. All this takes a lot of time and involves lots of little (and some major) failures. The Chinese are doing it right and are willing to wait until they get military tech that is truly world class.



Both Chinese Stealth Designs Move Forward

The other stealth fighter, the J-20, was made by CAC (Chengdu Aircraft Company), which also produced the JF-17 and J-10. The J-20 made its first flight in 2011 and many more since then. There are at least two original J-20 prototypes and late last year a new prototype appeared that had several modifications and is estimated to have a max weight of 36 tons. While the J-20 looks like the American F-22 when viewed head on, it's overall shape, weight, and engine power is closer to the American F-15C. In other words, it's about 20 meters (62 feet) long, with a wing span of 13.3 meters (42 feet). J-20 has about the same wing area as the F-15C, which is about 25 percent less than the F-22 (which is a few percent larger than the F-15 in terms of length and wingspan). Worse, for the J-20, is the fact that its engine power is about the same as the F-15C, while the F-22 has 65 percent more power. With the afterburner turned on, the J-20 has more power than the F-15C and nearly as much as the F-22. But because the afterburner consumes so much fuel, you can't use more than a few minutes at a time. The new J-20 model appears to be able to supercruise, joining the F-22, Eurofighter and the Gripen as aircraft that can supercruise (go faster than the speed of sound without using the afterburner).


The J-20 has some stealthiness when it's coming at you head on. But from any other aspect, the J-20 will light up the radar screen. For this reason the J-20 is seen as a developmental aircraft, not the prototype of a new model headed for mass production. As such, it is only the fifth stealth fighter to fly, the others being the U.S. F-22 and F-35, plus the Russian T-50. The older U.S. F-117 was actually a light bomber and the B-2 was obviously a heavy bomber. Based on recent Chinese warplane development projects (J-11 in particular), the J-20 has a long development road ahead of it and will likely change size and shape before it reaches the production design. The J-31 may be an insurance policy, in case the J-20 effort goes off the rails in a big way.


While the shape of the J-20 confers a degree of stealthiness (invisibility to radar), even more electronic invisibility comes from special materials covering the aircraft. It's not known how far along the Chinese are in creating, or stealing, these materials, or the needed engines. China would most likely use the J-20 singly, or in small groups, to seek out and attack American carriers. To make this possible F-22 class engines are needed and that is still in development. Over the last few years China has admitted it has been developing the WS-15 engine (since the 1990s), a more powerful beast well suited for the J-20. No date was given as to when the WS-15 would be available for use or whether it would have the same vectoring (ability to move the hot jet exhaust in different directions in order to make the fighter more maneuverable) the F-22 uses.


For the J-20 to be a superior fighter, it would need electronics (including radars and defense systems) on a par with the F-35 and F-22. So far, the Chinese have not caught up with stuff used by current American fighters. But the gap is being closed, faster than it was during the Cold War when the Russians were creating, or stealing, their way to military tech equivalence with the West. The Russians never made it but the Chinese believe they can succeed.


Work on the J-20 began in the late 1990s, and the Chinese knew that it could be 25 years or more before they had a competitive stealth fighter-bomber. The J-20 is being tested in central China. The twin engine J-20 appears to be about the same weight class as the 30 ton F-15C. The F-35A is a 31 ton, single engine fighter, while the twin-engine F-22 is slightly larger at 38 tons. The Russian T-50 weighed in at 37 tons.


China is also developing other support technologies, like the AESA radar, highly efficient cockpit, stealth, and software to tie everything together. Developing, or even copying, this tech is not easy. But the Chinese already know that, having decades of experience adapting stolen technology to their needs. Thus it appears that China is planning on having the J-20, in some form, ready for service by the end of the decade. The key factor is their ability to develop or steal the needed technology by then. The J-20 appears to be a fighter-bomber, as this kind of aircraft would be most useful dealing with the U.S. Navy and key targets in Taiwan or Japan. In any event, the J-20 is an attempt to develop some kind of 5th generation aircraft, complete with stealth.



The only other competitor in this area is Russia, where fifth generation fighter developments were halted when the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991. Actually, all development work on new fighters, by everyone, slowed down in the 1990s. But work on the F-22, F-35, Eurofighter, and Rafale continued, and those aircraft became, in roughly that order, the most advanced fighter aircraft available today. MiG resumed work on the I.42 in the 1990s, but had to stop after a few years because of a lack of money. Sukhoi has never stopped working on its T-50, funded by much higher sales of its Su-27/30 fighters. This fifth generation may come to be called the "last generation," after they are replaced by the second generation of pilotless combat aircraft (counting armed Predators and the like as the first).

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16 avril 2013 2 16 /04 /avril /2013 11:44
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27 février 2013 3 27 /02 /février /2013 12:39



27.02.2013 Pacific Sentinel


China releases details of a new stealth missile frigate. It’s part of a military modernization process amid ongoing tensions over Beijing's maritime claims in the region.
The first ship of the Type 056 Jiangdao class frigates was handed over to China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) in Shanghai, home to one of the country's largest naval shipyards.
The stealth frigate Number 586 is a new design with sloped surfaces made as clean as possible, it also has  reduced superstructure clutter. It features advanced technologies that will make it harder to detect by radar, visual, sonar, and infrared methods, the Chinese navy said at their website.
China's brand new vessel is armed with a 76-mm main gun based on the Russian AK-176 and 30-mm remote weapon systems. The main anti-ship armament consists of YJ-83 sea-skimming anti-ship cruise missiles in two twin-cell launchers. The primary anti-aircraft armament is one FL-3000N short range missile system with eight rounds. The ship is fitted with a helicopter deck at the stern but has no organic helicopter support facilities.
At 1,440 tons fully loaded, this frigate cruises at an estimated 28 knots and has about a 2,000 nautical mile range.


It is considerably smaller than US Navy frigates, about 95.5 meters in length, and is categorized as smaller class of ships known as corvettes.
The ship requires a crew of just 60, one-third the number needed for it its predecessor the Type 053H3 frigate. This brings advantages in efficiency, easier training and recruitment.
Nineteen more frigates of the class are planned to be built for the PLA Navy.
The Type 056 class frigate fleet will boost the PLAN’s ability to defend its territory by patrolling and guarding the waters. It will have the ability to conduct anti-submarine operations and operations against all marine targets.
PLAN forces entered “the new era of mass-production and upgrade in an orderly manner” officials say on the PLAN's website.
The naval renovation comes as Chinese and Japanese vessels have stalked each other for months around the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. Last flare-up was at the end of January when a Chinese frigate allegedly locked its weapon-targeting radar on a Japanese vessel, according to the Japan’s Defense Ministry. In the past six months, Chinese frigates have been constantly spotted in the waters of the disputed islands.
China has the second-largest defense spending program in the world after the US and followed by Russia according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
China has also been working on a new generation stealth aircraft. Flight tests of the twin-engine Falcon Eagle were carried out in northeastern China last October.
The Chinese navy now has about 80 major surface warships including its first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, which was based on the Soviet ship the ‘Varyag’. After the Soviet Union collapsed the ‘Varyag’ ended up in Ukraine. In 1998 China bought it without an engine or weapons and spent years refurbishing it for research and training purposes.
The Pentagon estimates China also deploys more than 50 submarines, about 50 landing ships and more than 80 missile attack boats, Reuters reports.
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