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12 novembre 2015 4 12 /11 /novembre /2015 08:30
Warplanes: Crop Dusters At War

 

November 11, 2015: Strategy Page

 

The UAE (United Arab Emirates) recently donated four U.S. made AT-802 single engine aircraft to Jordan for reconnaissance and surveillance missions. This 7.2 ton aircraft first appeared in 1990 as a crop duster. The aircraft had a built in 3,100 liters (820 gallons) tank for insecticide or whatever. But it was soon noted that it could also perform well for fire-fighting (by dropping fire retardant). Cruising speed of the AT-802 is 356 kilometers an hour and endurance is about three hours.

 

In 2009 a militarized version appeared, with lightweight armor around the cockpit and key components. There was also a bulletproof windscreen. The frame was strengthened to give the aircraft a useful life of 12,000 hours in the air. The military version could have one or two seats plus seven hard points for up to four tons of missiles or bombs and a fire control system to handle smart weapons. The UAE bought 24 of these and recently transferred three AT-802s to the Yemeni Air Force and is training more pilots and maintenance personnel to operate these light bombers. There are already some Yemeni (or UAE) pilots operating the Yemeni AT-802s there. These aircraft can use GPS and laser guided bombs.

 

The idea for the militarized version came after eight AT-802 aircraft, paid for by the U.S. State Department, were given to Colombia in 2002. These were used to eradicate drug crops under an American anti-drug program. Because the drug gangs will shoot back these AT-802s were modified with the addition of the same type of armor (including self-sealing fuel tanks and internal fire extinguishing system) that showed up in 2009 military version. By 2009 the customized AT-802s for Colombia had evolved into the AT-802U, a military versions which has been increasingly popular for reconnaissance and bombing.

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12 novembre 2015 4 12 /11 /novembre /2015 08:20
Photo: U.S. Northern Command

Photo: U.S. Northern Command

 

November 11, 2015: Strategy Page

 

On October 28th a JLENS (Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor) blimp undergoing testing at a U.S. Army base in Maryland (north of Washington DC) broke loose and drifted for nearly four hours and 240 kilometers until the deflation device (for such emergencies) activated and brought the blimp down. Because the blimp was dragging about 2,200 meters of tether (the cable that keeps the blimp in one place) some 26,000 civilians in its path (rural Maryland and Pennsylvania) lost electrical power for hours as the tether shorted out power lines. There were no injuries but all the damage and disruption is going to cost the army nearly $200 million. It is also likely to get the JLENS program shut down. While there have been JLENS type systems suffering runaway blimps in Afghanistan and Iraq, these did not make the news and were recovered and soon back in service. But a runaway blimp not far from the American capital is another matter. There were originally supposed to be 16 JLENS systems built by now but for a number of reasons there are only two and the other is in storage. JLENS technology has been useful even as JLENS itself has had many problems. The latest wandering blimp incident may prove fatal for JLENS.

 

Since the 1990s the U.S. Department of Defense has spent nearly $3 billion to develop JLENS a system that used tethered blimps to carry radars that could spot low-flying aircraft like helicopters, small planes and cruise missiles so that these targets could be attacked using missiles or autocannon, fired from the ground or the air, to destroy these hard to detect (using normal radars) targets. Even before the runaway JELENS there was a lot of political pressure to cancel JLENS because of failure to perform. Naturally it’s more complicated than that. While JLENS technology has proved very useful since September 11, 2001, there is concern that JLENS itself never achieved a high level of effectiveness and reliability in performing the task it was originally designed for. The manufacturer insists these accusations are baseless but it is true that JLENS has had several recent embarrassments when the system was not ready when needed or it was operational but did not spot the low flying threat or did spot it but could not tell if it was hostile.

 

One of the original uses JLENS was developed for was to help defend offshore oil facilities from attack by terrorist speedboats. This it was able to do after 2003 in Iraq. But in more crowded environments (like urban areas) JLENS spotted too many low flying objects but could not tell which ones were a threat and which were not. This has now become an issue because JLENS type systems are no longer in Iraq.

 

The JLENS system uses two 75 meter (233 foot) long, helium filled, unmanned blimp equipped with radar and other sensors. A JLENS blimp is about 2.5 times the size as the more familiar advertising blimp. Actually, the JLENS blimp is an aerostat, a blimp like vehicle designed to always turn into the wind and stay in the same place. The JLENS blimp is unpowered and secured by a cable (tether) that can keep the aerostat in position at its maximum altitude of 5,000 meters (15,000 feet). At that altitude the JLENS aerostat can carry a two ton payload. The cable also supplies power, which means the blimp can stay up for about 30 days at a time before it has to be brought down for maintenance on its radars. Two radars are carried in each aerostat. One is a surveillance radar, the other is a precision track and illumination radar (PTIR). The surveillance radar provides long-range coverage (over 300 kilometers, exact range is secret), while the PTIR, which is a steerable system capable of tracking multiple targets, can focus in on items of interest. Thus each JLENS can cover a huge area and can pass target data to airborne or ground based missile systems for interception.

 

A major JLENS success was using JLENS technology for similar systems defending bases in Iraq and Afghanistan from ground attack. While larger UAVs are popular, mainly for their persistence (the ability to stay in the air, over a particular area, for a long time) and some (Predator, Reaper and Global Hawk) can stay in the air for over 24 hours at a time, they still have to land regularly to be refueled or undergo maintenance. In Iraq the military found that "stationary UAVs" (helium filled aerostats or tall towers) not only do the job just as well but do it a lot cheaper (under $1000 an hour, mostly for maintenance, repairs, and personnel to monitor the sensors). Compare this to Predator, which costs $5,000 an hour to operate, and Global Hawk, which costs $25,000 an hour. Global Hawk is so expensive partly because of the high end sensors used. Not everyone needs the high flying Global Hawk or even a Predator. They just need a way to keep an eye on a large area (like a chunk of the Syrian, Iranian, or Pakistani border) 24/7. JLENS and its ground defense variant (RAID) are a much cheaper alternative and have become popular alternatives to mobile UAVs.

 

In 2004 the U.S. Army sent 22 blimps (aerostats, actually) to Iraq and Afghanistan to operate as part of RAID (Rapid Aerostat Initial Deployment) systems. These systems were based on JLENS. The blimps float at about 320 meters (a thousand feet) up, tethered by a cable that provides power and communications to the day and night cameras up there. The big problem is ground fire from rifles and machine-guns. Iraqis, in particular, like using the RAID blimps as targets. Rifle fire won't destroy the blimps but does cause them to be brought down more frequently for repairs. Bullet-hole repairs often have some of them coming down every few days. There are surveillance systems similar to RAID but mounted on tall steel towers. These also suffer gunfire damage, but rarely any that damage the equipment.

 

The first army blimp sent to Iraq in early 2004 was one of its JLENS systems. JLENS equipment was also modified to be mounted on a tower even though it was most effective when operating from the aerostat. JLENS sensors can not only detect and track low flying aircraft and missiles but also small boats and ground vehicles. Off the coast of Iraq it could detect hostile boats making a run for Iraqi oil facilities. JLENS has been used in Afghanistan as well. JLENS was still in development in 2002 but much of the tech was soon approved for mass production. In addition to providing 24/7 coverage for approaching cruise missiles JLENS can also provide a communications relay for other radars and weapons systems (anti-aircraft missiles and warplanes) to coordinate detection and destruction of cruise missiles.

 

The RAID systems (used on aerostats as well as towers) are much cheaper than JLENS, less than five million dollars each, and the army has bought over a hundred of them. When RAID aerostats operate at an altitude of a 320 meters their cameras can see out to about sixty kilometers. The smaller towers shorten that range quite a bit. The ten meter (30 foot) tower can see out to eleven kilometers, the 20 meter (60 foot) tower out to 16 kilometers, and the 27 meter (84 foot) tower out to 20 kilometers. The ten meter tower is adequate for most situations, which usually involve guarding a base. The JLENS and RAID systems are operated by air defense troops, often from the reserves or National Guard.

 

One of the two JLENS built is used for development. This included testing new capabilities being added to JLENS. In 2013 the army and air force successfully tested a new air defense capability by using its JLENS system to detect an anti-ship cruise missile and automatically pass the target data to an F-15 via its digital data link (Link 16), and enabling the pilot to launch an AMRAAM missile to intercept the incoming cruise missile. This is a major reason for the huge cost of JLENS; adding new capabilities and costs. This is a problem with most peacetime weapons development programs and JLENS is a good example of this bad habit.

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12 novembre 2015 4 12 /11 /novembre /2015 08:20
MC-130J Commando II aircraft assigned to Air Force Special Operations Command -  photo Lockheed Martin

MC-130J Commando II aircraft assigned to Air Force Special Operations Command - photo Lockheed Martin

 

November 10, 2015: Strategy Page

 

In late 2015 U.S. SOCOM (Special Operations Command) two more MC-130J all-weather transports. SOCOM has already received most of the 37 on order and deliveries are supposed to be complete by 2017. This is part of a major program to upgrade and expand the SOCOM fleet of specialized aircraft. Despite cuts in the American defense budget since 2010 SOCOM gets money for its aircraft program because SOCOM personnel are still in big demand worldwide.

 

Since 2009 SOCOM  has been devoting the largest chunk of its procurement budget to aircraft and most of that is going for one type of aircraft; the C-130J. SOCOM wants to buy about a hundred C-130Js and use them as commando transports (MC-130J) or gunships (AC-130J). In addition several hundred million dollars is being spent on sensors and weapons that can be quickly installed in MC-130Js to turn them into temporary gunships.

 

All this spending on aircraft is because the SOCOM air force has been worked hard since September 11, 2001 and has been constantly short of aircraft and qualified pilots. Back in 2009 SOCOM looked at their air force (some 300 MC-130s MH-53s AC-130s MH-6s MH-60s CV-22s and a few other types) and drew up a plan to shrink and update this overworked and aging collection of transports and helicopters. Having fewer, but more capable aircraft was seen as the only way out of the chronic shortages of aircraft and pilots. There was also the problem of aircraft worn out from heavy use and combat damage. So in addition to replacing the elderly C-130s SOCOM also sought to take the 31 MH-47Ds and E helicopters  (which have additional navigation gear) and upgraded them to MH-47F standards while the fleet was expanded to 61 helicopters. Most other SOCOM aircraft were also to be upgraded or refurbished.

 

Meanwhile the expansion and refurbishment program could not keep up with the demand in Afghanistan. Worse, there was never been enough logistics support to service all the jobs SOCOM is called on to do. In response, SOCOM improvised as much as they could. They borrowed aircraft and logistics support from other units. SOCOM is a high priority outfit, and can often get some of what they need. When SOCOM is providing specialized support for the combat units they borrow resources from they don't have a problem.

 

However when it's a pure SOCOM mission the army and air force are not as eager to part with scarce resources. What it means is that troops are operating at less than peak efficiency because they don't have all the tools they need to get the job done. Missions get cancelled, and opportunities are lost. SOCOM is a flexible outfit, and adaptations are often made. More commando operations were carried out using ground transportation. More troops, and equipment, were parachuted in. SOCOM is even obtained UAVs that can carry supplies. SOCOM is all about innovation, and a helicopter shortage is just seen as another opportunity to be creative. But there was always an ultimate solution for a lot of the air transportation and it was the new C-130J.

 

Back in 2011 SOCOM received its first MC-130J. This was part of a larger U.S. Air Force effort to replace 200 worn out C-130Es. The C-130J transport proved to be more than just another model in the fifty year old C-130 design. This is mainly because it's cheaper and easier to use. Like most new commercial transports, the C-130J emphasizes saving money. The new engines generate 29 percent more thrust while using 15 percent less fuel. Increased automation reduced crew size from four to three. The rear ramp door can now be opened in flight when the aircraft is going as fast as 450 kilometers an hour, versus the current 270 kilometers an hour.

 

The SOCOM MC-130s are all-weather aircraft used for everything from moving SOCOM personnel and equipment around the combat zone, to parachuting supplies, refueling helicopters in the air, dropping bombs and propaganda leaflets, or loading a pallet or two of electronic gear for special reconnaissance or psychological warfare missions. MC-130s are particularly useful because they have terrain following radar that enables them to fly at low altitude, especially at night or during bad weather. MC-130s have several additional navigation and communication systems, which allow them to fly in all weather, especially low enough to avoid radar detection.

 

C-130Js have cost nearly twenty percent less per hour than previous models. The most common version of the C-130 still in service is the C-130H. It has a range of 8,368 kilometers, a top speed of 601 kilometers per hour, and can carry up to 18 tons of cargo, 92 troops, or 64 paratroopers. The latest version, the C-130J, has a top speed of 644 kilometers, 40 percent more range than the C-130H, and can carry 20 tons of cargo. The stretched C-130J-30 can carry more bulky cargo, and goes for about $100 million each. The C-130J has a top speed of 644 kilometers, 40 percent more range than the C130H. The C-130 has been in service for over half a century, and has been flying for over 50 countries.

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12 novembre 2015 4 12 /11 /novembre /2015 08:20
Persistent Close Air Support (PCAS)

Persistent Close Air Support (PCAS)

 

Nov 8, 2015 ASDNews Source : Raytheon

 

Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) has successfully completed the flight test phase of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)'s Persistent Close Air Support (PCAS) program.

 

PCAS is a package of technologies designed to speed close air support to soldiers on the battlefield, enabling ground troops, Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs) and combat aircrews to share real-time situational awareness and weapons systems data. Executed in three phases, the four-and-a-half year program included flight testing during the first six months of 2015.

 

"The PCAS program was able to reduce close air support response times from nearly one hour to less than six minutes," said Tom Bussing , Raytheon vice president of Advanced Missile Systems. "By speeding critical information to decision makers, PCAS could save lives in the battlespace."

 

During the U.S. Marine Corps' Talon Reach V exercise in March, the program demonstrated end-to-end, fully digital weapons release of a Griffin missile from a modified MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft. In May, an A-10C Thunderbolt II attack aircraft and a joint terminal attack controller (JTAC) on the ground, both using PCAS' real-time digital communications and situational awareness capabilities, successfully employed 10 GPS- and laser-guided weapons in a second series of flight tests.

 

The PCAS system is designed to be platform-, digital radio-, sensor-, and weapons-class agnostic, and to be portable from platform to platform. The two main parts of the system are PCAS-Air, which consists of smart launcher electronics and a pilot tablet, and PCAS-Ground, which comprises the equipment used by the JTAC.

 

Raytheon is the systems integrator for PCAS. The company leads an industry team comprised of Rockwell Collins, General Electric, BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman and 5-D Systems. Raytheon brings its expertise in overall systems integration, weapons, aircraft integration and unmanned aircraft system ground control stations to PCAS.

 

As part of its conclusion of the program, DARPA is now focusing on transitioning PCAS technology demonstrated on both the A-10C and the MV-22 to different military platforms. DARPA is also working with the Army on other PCAS transition activity relevant to ground forces and manned and unmanned aircraft.

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12 novembre 2015 4 12 /11 /novembre /2015 08:20
États-Unis. Les sociétés militaires privées boivent la tasse

 

10 Novembre 2015 par Philippe CHAPLEAU – Ouest-France

 

Le retrait d'Irak et d'Afghanistan a provoqué une baisse des commandes fédérales. DynCorp qui a perdu 2 de ses instructeurs, en Jordanie, n’en finit pas d’annoncer des pertes.

 

 « Guerre » non seulement rime avec « bonnes affaires » mais les termes sont synonymes. La formule est cynique mais indiscutable. Et quand, enfin, survient la paix, la crise dans le secteur de la défense et la dépression chez les équipementiers sont inévitables.

 

Fin de l'âge d'or

Aux États-Unis, entre 2002 et 2012, les dépenses du Département américain de la Défense (le DoD) ont augmenté de 45 %. Mais l’Âge d’or a brutalement pris fin et des entreprises aux revenus longtemps dopés par les guerres d’Irak et d’Afghanistan voient leur chiffre d’affaires décimé. Pour l’année fiscale 2013, les dépenses du DoD ont reculé de 15 % et la tendance baissière s’est accentuée sous l’effet du mur budgétaire. Dès 2013, 17 des 20 plus grands équipementiers militaires ont vu leur chiffre d’affaires décroître. Si Boeing a tiré son épingle du jeu, c’est grâce à ses activités commerciales civiles. Comme le résume Tom Captain, en charge du domaine Espace/Défense chez Deloitte : « Il y a trop d’entreprises pour trop peu de dollars. Il n’y a pas suffisamment de travail pour tout le monde ». D’où des faillites, des licenciements et des plans de restructuration en cascade qui affectent aussi les PME frappées de plein fouet par les coupes claires dans les commandes du Pentagone.

Suite de l'article

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12 novembre 2015 4 12 /11 /novembre /2015 07:30
Royal Saudi Air Force F-15 Eagle fighter aircraft

Royal Saudi Air Force F-15 Eagle fighter aircraft

 

Nov 9, 2015 ASDNews Source : Lockheed Martin

 

Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) received a $262.8 million contract from the U.S. Air Force for sustainment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s F-15 sensor suite. The sensor suite includes Sniper ® Advanced Targeting Pods (ATP), LANTIRN Extended Range (ER) navigation pods and Infrared Search and Track (IRST) systems. Under the contract, Lockheed Martin will collaborate with Advanced Electronics Company (AEC) to perform Sniper ATP and LANTIRN ER sustainment services as well as LANTIRN ER pod upgrades at the Sniper Expanded Repair Capability facility in Saudi Arabia. Lockheed Martin will support IRST sustainment at its IRST depot in Orlando, Florida.

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12 novembre 2015 4 12 /11 /novembre /2015 07:20
DynCorp fait la "une" avec ses pertes: deux tués en Jordanie et des résultats trimestriels dans le rouge


10.11.2015 par Philippe Chapleau - Lignes de Défense
 

Les deux contractors US tués lors de la fusillade de Jordanie appartiennent à la firme DynCorp. Le porte-parole du DoS (State Dept) l'a confirmé hier soir.

DynCorp et quatre autres sociétés américaines: Justice Services International, MPRI qui appartient à L3C, PAE Government Services, Civilian Police International ont été retenues en 2011 par le Département d'Etat dans le cadre de l'ex-programme CIVPOL devenu le "Criminal Justice Program Support" (CJPS). Voir l'avis d'attribution de 2011 ici.

DynCorp déploie actuellement du personnel dans le cadre du "Palestine Task Order" d'une valeur annuelle de 10 millions de dollars. La firme US recrutait encore, il y a quelques jours, des agents pour ses "mobile training teams" (voir ici) qui ont la responsabilité du programme de formation des Palestiniens.

Par ailleurs, DynCorp a dévoilé hier ses résultats trimestriels (voir ici). Du mieux mais pas fameux... Pour le 3e quarter 2015, le CA a été de 479,8 millions de dollars (540,3 pour la même période en 2014) et les pertes de 15,7 millions (71,5 millions pour la même période en 2014).

Ces résultats laissent espérer un CA annuel de l'ordre de "1,89 à 1,93 milliards de dollars" selon Lou Von Thaer, le CEO de DynCorp. On se souviendra que le CA de 2014 était de 2,3 milliards et celui de 2013 de 3,3 milliards.

Les revenus de DynLogistics dégringolent toujours; seul DynAviation retrouvent des couleurs, son CA pour le 3e quarter étant de 313 millions (contre 293, il y a un an).

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11 novembre 2015 3 11 /11 /novembre /2015 17:30
Inherent Resolve – Chammal sit rep 11 Nov – CJTF-OIR

 

November 11, 2015 by CJTF-OIR Release # 20151111-01

 

Military Strikes Continue Against ISIL Terrorists in Syria and Iraq

 

SOUTHWEST ASIA- On Nov. 10, coalition military forces continued to attack ISIL terrorists in Syria and Iraq. In Syria, coalition military forces conducted 11 strikes using bomber, fighter, attack, and remotely piloted aircraft. Separately in Iraq, coalition military forces conducted 17 strikes coordinated with and in support of the Government of Iraq using bomber, fighter, attack and remotely piloted aircraft against ISIL targets.

 

The following is a summary of the strikes conducted against ISIL since the last press release:

 

Syria

• Near Al Hasakah, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) and an ISIL staging area.

• Near Al Hawl, five strikes struck four separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed eight ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL building, and an ISIL VBIED.

• Near Dayr Az Zawr, two strikes struck an ISIL gas oil separation plant and destroyed three ISIL front end loaders and damaged two ISIL cranes.

• Near Mar’a, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

• Near Palmyra, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL tactical vehicle and damaged a separate ISIL vehicle.

 

Iraq

• Near Kisik, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

• Near Mosul, one strike destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

• Near Ramadi, three strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed three ISIL vehicles, an ISIL excavator, two ISIL heavy machine guns, two ISIL buildings, and an ISIL 23mm anti-aircraft artillery piece.

• Near Sinjar, six strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed eight ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL command and control nodes, three ISIL vehicles, and 18 ISIL staging areas.

• Near Sultan Abdallah, one strike destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

• Near Al Huwayjah, four strikes struck an ISIL headquarters, an ISIL weapons cache, an ISIL logistical facility, and an ISIL security headquarters.

• Near Albu Hayat, one strike struck a large ISIL tactical unit, and destroyed two ISIL buildings, three ISIL weapons caches, and three ISIL fighting positions.

 

Strike assessments are based on initial reports. All aircraft returned to base safely.

 

The strikes were conducted as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the operation to eliminate the ISIL terrorist group and the threat they pose to Iraq, Syria, and the wider international community.

 

The destruction of ISIL targets in Syria and Iraq further limits the group's ability to project terror and conduct operations. Coalition nations which have conducted strikes in Iraq include Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Jordan, Netherlands, United Kingdom, and the United States. Coalition nations which have conducted strikes in Syria include Australia, Bahrain, Canada, France, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and the U.S.

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11 novembre 2015 3 11 /11 /novembre /2015 17:20
L-ATV vehicle Photo Oshkosh Corporation

L-ATV vehicle Photo Oshkosh Corporation

 

10.11.2015 Oshkosh

 

For the first time in company history, Oshkosh Defense, LLC, an Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE: OSK) company, will be exhibiting at the Dubai Airshow, November 8 – 12, 2015, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Oshkosh offers a full range of leading-edge military, security and airport fire fighting vehicles to serve customers throughout the Middle East Region, including the highly transportable Light Combat Tactical All-Terrain Vehicle (L-ATV), which was recently selected by the U.S. Army and Marine Corps to replace aging up-armored HMMWVs.

 

Today’s conflicts demand military vehicles with the protection, mobility and transportability to serve a full range of missions and unpredictable environments. The Oshkosh L-ATV combines proven automotive technologies, Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP)-level protection and extreme mobility in a light-weight, highly-transportable profile. The L-ATV offers armed forces around the globe next-generation capabilities that no other vehicle can match.

 

In August 2015, after extensive U.S. Government testing and evaluation, the U.S. Army and Marine Corps selected the Oshkosh L-ATV as the winner of its Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) program. Under the JLTV contract, Oshkosh will produce and deliver up to 17,000 JLTVs for the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. The JLTV program is scheduled to achieve full rate production within three years.

 

“As future battlefields generate new, asymmetrical threats, troops will require a scalable, protected all-terrain vehicle to perform their missions – wherever they may be,” said Bill Mooney, regional vice president of Middle East and North Africa for Oshkosh Defense. “The Oshkosh L-ATV provides an entirely new generation of light vehicles with unprecedented levels of off-road mobility, transportability and survivability. The extensive testing and evaluation proves, without a doubt, that it’s the world’s most capable tactical wheeled vehicle.”

 

Roughly one-third lighter than the Oshkosh MRAP All-Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV), at the same protection level, the L-ATV weighs less than 6,350 kg at curb weight. The Oshkosh L-ATV has the latest in automotive technologies as well as the Oshkosh Core1080™ crew protection system, which is an occupant-centric, comprehensive systems engineering approach that considers every inch of the vehicle with respect to crew protection during blast events.

 

The L-ATV is equipped with the TAK-4i™ intelligent independent suspension system; the next-generation of Oshkosh’s advanced TAK-4® independent suspension system. The TAK-4i allows the L-ATV to deliver superior ride quality at speeds 70 percent faster than today’s top-performing tactical wheeled vehicles. Additionally, the TAK-4i can be raised and lowered using interior operator controls to meet sea, air and land transportability requirements. The L-ATV can be air transported internally by a C-130, C-5, C-17 or externally by CH-47 and CH-53.

 

Oshkosh has produced and sustained more than 150,000 tactical wheeled vehicles for the United States and its allies. Oshkosh serves armed forces around the globe by offering a full portfolio of heavy, medium, MRAP, airport rescue fire fighting (ARFF), and light vehicles. Oshkosh provides the full spectrum of vehicle life-cycle sustainment capabilities through its Global Integrated Product Support (GIPS) services.

 

Oshkosh has been supporting militaries in the Middle East for nearly 30 years and has a well-established presence with program offices in the United Arab Emirates and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Countries throughout the region, including the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq and Oman, rely on Oshkosh vehicles every day for tactical and logistical operations.

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11 novembre 2015 3 11 /11 /novembre /2015 17:20
Counter-Terrorism: Unrecognized Terrorists States

 

November 10, 2015: Strategy Page

 

The U.S. has long accused Iran, Sudan, and Syria as being “State Sponsors of Terrorism.” These are countries that have long promoted and supported the use of terrorism (usually Islamic terrorism). But there are some major players in this area who are not on this list, most notably Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Palestine. Each of these three is a special case and that is apparently enough to keep them off the list. Pakistan got into the Islamic terrorism business just before Russia invaded Afghanistan in 1979 and was soon a major ally of the United States in an effort to support Afghans who were continuing to fight the Russian forces. After the Russians withdrew in 1989 Pakistan increased its support for Islamic terrorism, especially against India. During the Cold War leftist Indian governments was generally hostile to the United States and the West so America felt no pressing need to protect them from Pakistani sponsored Islamic terrorists. But at the same time Pakistan was not trying to inhibit the many Islamic terrorists who had flocked to Afghanistan after the Russians left. Many of these international Islamic terrorists were also able to move through and operate in Pakistan as long as they did not attack Pakistanis. This continued into the 1990s but right after September 11, 2001 the United States told Pakistan to join the fight against Islamic terrorism or be considered at war with America. Pakistan chose to join the War On Terror while continuing to support Islamic terrorists operating in Pakistan. The United States complained but generally did not press Pakistan on the issue. Thus Pakistan continues to be a base for many Islamic terrorists.

 

Saudi Arabia was a special case as well because the Saudis never officially supported Islamic terrorism but were, at the same time, very much responsible for the increase in Islamic terrorist activity since the 1970s. That’s because in Arabia (where Islam first appeared in the 7th century) the locals believe they are more Islamic than other Moslems. After all, the Koran was written in Arabic and all the founders of Islam were Arabs. Yet for over a thousand years there has been a tradition of different factions in Arabia trying outdo each other to prove who is “more Islamic” than the other. This led to constant fighting and suppression of new ideas. One of those fanatic factions is the Wahhabi form of Sunni Islam in what is now Saudi Arabia. Wahhabis, who first appeared in the 18th century, are very conservative and very hostile to non-Moslems and Moslems who are not Sunni. This meant little to the non-Moslem world until lots of oil wealth appeared in Arabia after World War II. Suddenly it became possible for Saudis to show how pious they were by funding Wahhabi missionaries who went to other Moslem (and many non-Moslem) nations to preach, establish Wahhabi religious schools and mosques and create the current Islamic terrorism problem. Billions were (and still are) spent on this and the policy of getting the young boys into these free religious schools and turning many of them into hateful (towards anyone not like them) Islamic religious fanatics led to a major outbreak of Islamic terrorism in the late 20th century. Yet many Moslem nations resisted this. Saddam kept Wahhabis  out of Iraq until 1991. Many secular rulers of Moslem countries (like Syria and Libya) also resisted the Wahhabi missionaries and money.

 

The Wahhabi problem is most obvious in Saudi Arabia, which practiced what it preached. Saudis comprise the largest faction of ISIL and al Qaeda recruits because so many Saudis have been educated in Wahhabi run schools. The Saudi rulers control the clergy, to a point, and do not allow public expressions of anti-Saudi Islamic radical ideas. But many Saudis back ISIL goals (which include replacing the Saudi monarchy), even is many of them do not wish to live under ISIL rule. This ideological mess is something Arab rulers, particularly in Saudi Arabia, have been dealing with since Saudi Arabia was formed in the 1920s. Change comes slowly in religious matters but meanwhile religious zealots that Arab oil wealth paid to create threaten us all. After September 11, 2001 the Saudis reluctantly began cracking down on the Islamic terrorist monster they had created. This was difficult to do but the Saudis were largely persuaded by the growing number of Islamic terrorist groups that wanted to kill the Saudi royals and run all of Arabia as a religious dictatorship. Messing with religion is one thing but if you really want to get someone’s attention threaten to take away their wealth and power.

 

Then there are the Palestinians. The persistent popularity for Islamic terrorism in many Arab countries is largely due to the growing use of anti-Infidel (non-Moslem) propaganda in the local media and the educational system. In the Palestinian territories both Hamas (hard liners running Gaza) and Fatah (the more corrupt "moderates" running the West Bank) have spent the last decade increasing their use of pretty blatant ant-Semitic and anti-Infidel (non-Moslem) propaganda and praise for Palestinian terrorists, even those whose only accomplishment was to kill civilians. While the strident anti-Israel rants of the Iranians gets a lot of media attention in the West, these pronouncements are not much different than those that appear daily in Arab and Pakistani media.

 

This sort of thing has been going on for decades and now there have been two or three generations raised on this hateful media. Some Moslems see through it all, eventually, but most do not and simply accept it as the way the world is. Some immigrate to the West for the obvious economic opportunities and spend a period of time trying to sort out the stark differences between the propaganda they grew up on and the very different reality they migrated to. Mentioning this dissonance to the folks back home will only get you, and them, in trouble, so the immigrants are forced to keep track of two very different world-views. In the meantime, the children who grew up in this storm of lies and hate are still being encouraged to become suicide bombers.

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11 novembre 2015 3 11 /11 /novembre /2015 17:20
HIMARS High Mobility Artillery Rocket System - photo Lockheed Martin

HIMARS High Mobility Artillery Rocket System - photo Lockheed Martin

 

DALLAS, Nov. 9, 2015 – Lockheed Martin

 

Lockheed Martin’s (NYSE: LMT) Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) and Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) Unitary munitions recently underwent successful stockpile reliability tests. All rockets were launched from a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.

 

The tests included eight GMLRS rockets that were conditioned at hot and ambient temperatures. The ATACMS Unitary missile, which is the current production configuration, was conditioned hot for the test. The HIMARS launcher can fire ATACMS and GMLRS munitions ranging between 15km and 300km.

 

The flight tests, which were part of the U.S. Army’s tactical munitions reliability program, were conducted using simulated targets. Soldiers were inside the HIMARS’ Improved Armored Cab, where they initiated the launches.

 

“Lockheed Martin’s HIMARS, ATACMS and GMLRS precision fire solutions provide critical, quick-strike capabilities to U.S. and allied forces worldwide,” said Ken Musculus, vice president of tactical missiles at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.

 

In service since 2005, HIMARS brings MLRS firepower to a wheeled chassis. It carries a single six-pack of rockets or one ATACMS missile, and can launch the entire MLRS family of munitions. It is C-130-transportable and can be deployed into areas previously inaccessible to heavier launchers.

 

For additional information, visit our website

 

About Lockheed Martin

Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that – with the addition of Sikorsky – employs approximately 126,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.

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11 novembre 2015 3 11 /11 /novembre /2015 16:30
Frappes en Syrie: Russes et Américains se parlent deux fois par jour

Le ministère russe de la Défense a confirmé mercredi 14 octobre 2015 qu’un chasseur Soukhoï Su-30 s’était approché dans le ciel de Syrie d’un appareil américain pour l’identifier visuellement.


11.11.2015 45eNord.ca (AFP)
 

Les militaires russes et américains se parlent «deux fois par jour» pour échanger des informations sur leurs opérations aériennes respectives en Syrie, a expliqué mardi à Washington un général de l’US Air Force.

 

Le commandement américain en charge des opérations en Syrie «parle deux fois par jour» avec son homologue russe, a expliqué le général Herbert «Hawk» Carlisle, l’un des principaux responsables de l’US Air Force, lors d’une rencontre avec des journalistes. «Il y a une ligne directe» entre les deux commandements.

«Tout le monde est intéressé par la sécurité des vols. Personne ne veut de situation dangereuse ou de mauvaise interprétation», a-t-il indiqué.

Les Russes et les Américains ne vont toutefois pas jusqu’à partager leur plan quotidien d’opérations, a-t-il ajouté.

«C’est plutôt du temps réel», un suivi de ce qui est en train de se passer, des vols qui sont en cours, a-t-il expliqué.

Selon le général Carlisle, l’arrivée de six avions F-15 C vendredi sur la base aérienne d’Incirlik en Turquie va permettre d’améliorer encore le suivi de l’espace aérien syrien par les Américains.

Ces avions spécialisés dans le combat air-air ont un «radar fantastique» qui va pouvoir aider les avions de la coalition à «garder une distance suffisante» avec les avions russes et syriens, a-t-il précisé.

Le 20 octobre, trois semaines après le début des bombardements russes en Syrie, Moscou et Washington ont signé un protocole d’accord pour éviter les incidents aériens entre leurs avions respectifs.

Malgré les échanges d’informations quotidiens sur les vols en cours, Washington souligne qu’il n’y a pas de coopération avec la Russie.

«En l’état actuel des choses, nous ne voyons pas d’opportunité de nous coordonner ou de collaborer avec les Russes dans le combat contre l’EI, en particulier parce que la Russie semble surtout attachée à défendre le régime syrien», a rappelé mardi le porte-parole du Pentagone, Peter Cook.

Les États-Unis et leurs alliés mènent des bombardements contre le groupe État islamique dans le pays depuis septembre 2014.

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11 novembre 2015 3 11 /11 /novembre /2015 15:50
photo BND

photo BND

 

11 novembre 2015 Romandie.com (AFP)

 

Berlin - Les services secrets allemands ont espionné le ministre français des Affaires étrangères Laurent Fabius, affirme mercredi la radio publique allemande Berlin-Brandebourg (rbb), qui apporte de nouveaux détails dans l'affaire d'espionnage qui embarrasse depuis plusieurs mois la chancellerie allemande.

 

Laurent Fabius a été mis sur écoute par le BND, les services de renseignement extérieurs allemands, souligne la radio sans préciser ses sources. Elle cite également parmi les cibles des écoutes allemandes la Cour internationale de justice de la Haye, l'Unicef, l'organisation mondiale de la santé (OMS), le FBI, la radio financée par les Etats-Unis Voice of America ou encore de nombreuses d'entreprises européennes et américaines, dont l'entreprise d'armement Lockheed aux Etats-Unis.

 

D'autres médias allemands avaient déjà révélé ces derniers mois que les services de renseignement extérieurs allemands avaient espionné des pays alliés pour le compte de son équivalent aux Etats-Unis, la NSA, ainsi que pour son propre compte.

 

Le BND avait notamment été accusé d'avoir écouté pour le compte de l'agence de renseignement américaine NSA des responsables du ministère français des Affaires étrangères, de la présidence française et de la Commission européenne.

 

La radio berlinoise évoque une liste de 900 pages de sélecteurs (numéros de téléphone, emails, adresses IP) utilisés par le BND et à laquelle ont eu accès des députés allemands membres de la commission d'enquête chargée de faire la lumière sur les opérations de surveillance.

 

L'examen des sélecteurs du BND va encore durer des mois afin de clarifier pourquoi, quand et combien de temps étaient branchés les sélecteurs et qui a été dans le détail mis sur écoute, précise le média allemand.

 

A l'automne 2013, des informations sur la mise sur écoute d'un téléphone portable de la chancelière Angela Merkel avaient notamment provoqué de fortes tensions entre Berlin et Washington. L'espionnage entre amis, cela ne va pas du tout, avait alors déclaré Mme Merkel.

 

La chancellerie en Allemagne est chargée de contrôler les activités des services secrets, ce qui la place dans une position particulièrement inconfortable.

 

Le gouvernement allemand a promis fin octobre un contrôle renforcé de ses services de renseignement et de la coopération entre le BND et la NSA.

 

Il se refuse cependant systématiquement à communiquer sur les révélations de la presse en la matière, réservant ses réponses à une commission parlementaire créée à cet effet. La porte-parole du gouvernement Christiane Wurz a néanmoins promis qu'une enquête aurait lieu étant donné que l'espionnage de pays partenaires ne faisait pas partie des attributions du BND.

 

Martin Schaefer, porte-parole du ministère allemand des Affaires étrangères, a indiqué lors d'un point presse régulier à Berlin mercredi qu'il ne croyait pas que ces révélations puissent porter un coup à la relation entre Laurent Fabius et son homologue allemand Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

 

Les deux ministres, qui doivent se rencontrer vendredi à Paris se salueront très amicalement et aborderont ensemble, comme toujours, les défis du moment tels que la Syrie ou l'Ukraine, a-t-il précisé.

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10 novembre 2015 2 10 /11 /novembre /2015 08:55
photo USMC

photo USMC

 

10.11.2015 source SHD
 

10 novembre 496 : bataille de Tolbiac (Allemagne actuelle). Le roi Clovis écrase les Alamans près de l'actuelle ville de Cologne après avoir invoqué le Dieu de sa femme Clothilde. En remerciements de cette victoire, il décide de se convertir au christianisme et est baptisé par l'évêque Saint Rémi.

 

10 novembre 1444 : bataille de Varna (Bulgarie). Défaite des croisés (d'Europe centrale) face aux Turcs trois fois plus nombreux, sur les bords de la mer Noire. Le roi de Hongrie Ladislas III meurt dans la bataille. Constantinople sera conquise 9 ans plus tard.

 

10 novembre 1555 : Villegagnon débarque dans la baie de Guanabara (actuel Brésil). L’amiral français tente de créer une colonie avec 600 colons. Les Portugais détruisent ce qui reste de l’implantation française le 20 janvier 1567.

 

10 novembre 1567 : bataille de Saint-Denis. Les protestants commandés par le Prince de Condé et l’amiral de Coligny ont tenté d’enlever Charles IX, le roi de France près de Meaux(28 septembre)  et suite à leur échec assiègent Paris. Le connétable Anne de Montmorency effectue une sortie pour briser le siège et est mortellement blessé d’un coup de feu dans le dos. Sur son lit de mort et en réponse à son confesseur: « Pensez-vous que j’aie vécu près de quatre-vingts ans pour ne pas savoir mourir un quart d’heure ? »

 

10 novembre 1775 : le congrès des Etats-Unis créé les Continental Marines (ancêtre du USMC). Au cours de la guerre d’indépendance des Etats-Unis d’Amérique, deux bataillons d'infanterie embarquée, sont constitués par le Congrès le 10 novembre 1775 sous le nom de Continental Marines. Ceux-ci sont démobilisés dès 1785 mais la « quasi-guerre » (quasi-war) contre la France amène le Congrès à voter un texte recréant un corps de fusiliers marins le 11 juillet 1798. Ce corps sera alors placé sous l'autorité directe du Secrétaire à la Marine.

 

 

10 novembre 1936 : décès de Louis Gustave Binger (à 80 ans). Capitaine issu du rang et premier gouverneur de la Côte d'Ivoire (1893-1895), il est l'un des plus grands explorateurs français de l'Afrique. Il a notamment sillonné durant 2 ans la boucle du Niger (1887-1889) réalisant une moisson d'observations scientifiques qui lui ont valu l'attention de l'Académie française (pour ses ouvrages) ou encore de Jules Vernes. Il a aussi mené durant 2 ans une mission destinée à établir la frontière entre la Côte d'Ivoire et le futur Ghana (1892-1893). Malade, il rentre en métropole où pendant 10 ans, il est directeur des Affaires d’Afrique au Ministère des Colonies (1897-1907). Une ville de Côte d'Ivoire porte son nom.

 

10 novembre 1940 : entrée des Forces françaises libres dans Libreville (Gabon). Le colonel Leclerc à la tête d’un groupement interarmes organisé autour de la 13ème DBLE entre dans Libreville et bouscule les troupes vichystes.

 

10 novembre 1951 : début de la bataille de Hoa Binh (Guerre d'Indochine). « L’opération Tulipe est la phase préparatoire à l’opération Lotus qui elle est l’opération sur Hoa Binh. L’opération Tulipe vise à l’occupation de la trouée de Cho Ben : c’est une opération de couverture. Tulipe est déclenchée le 10 novembre, l’opération Lotus commence le 13 au soir avec le débouché de la colonne motorisée. Hoa Binh est occupée par les parachutistes (1er, 2e et 7e bataillons de parachutistes coloniaux) le 14 novembre qui sont rejoints dans l’après-midi par les premiers éléments des formations terrestres. Par ailleurs, le pays Muong n’est pas pris en tenaille. Hoa Binh est un abcès de fixation, un centre de résistance dont le but est d’attirer le corps de bataille viêt. Avec des résultats plus ou moins heureux. Les pertes françaises ont été sous-estimées : 436 tués + 458 disparus (dont beaucoup sont morts) et 1 360 blessés. C’est une estimation basse ». CDT Yvan Cadeau (SHD).

 

10 novembre 1977 : Luna 17 alunit. La sonde soviétique dépose en douceur sur la Lune un véhicule automatique équipé d’un réflecteur laser français.

 

10 novembre 1988 : révélations sur le F-117 Stealth. Une série d’accidents du bombardier furtif américain oblige l’US Air Force à révéler l’existence de ce fleuron technologique qui vole de manière opérationnelle depuis 1983. Retiré du service en 2008.

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9 novembre 2015 1 09 /11 /novembre /2015 17:20
Patriot radar array (photo Raytheon)

Patriot radar array (photo Raytheon)

 

TEWKSBURY, Mass., Nov. 9, 2015 /PRNewswire

 

The United States Army is acquiring upgrade kits to make the combat-proven Patriot Integrated Air and Missile Defense system better at detecting and destroying threats, cost less to operate, and run even more reliably than it already does. The U.S. Army recently awarded Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) a contract modification to an existing contract for radar digital processor (RDP) upgrade kits, not to exceed the amount of $86.2 million.

The contract modification, previously announced on Sept 30th, will enable the U.S. Army to finish upgrading their entire inventory of Patriots.  The U.S. Army began phasing the upgrade kits into its Patriot fleet in 2013.

The U.S. and members of the 13-nation strong Patriot partnership funded development of the RDP. Patriot batteries upgraded with the RDP will:

  • Better detect and identify targets, and have enhanced surveillance.
  • Cost less to operate and maintain. The legacy processor has more than 700 components, while the RDP just has fewer than 100.
  • Have a 40% higher reliability rate than systems with the legacy component.

"When one country develops an upgrade or improvement to Patriot, that capability is made available to the entire 13-nation Partnership," said Ralph Acaba, Raytheon vice president of Integrated Air and Missile Defense. "With more than 220 Patriot fire units owned by 13 countries, countries whose industrial bases participate in manufacturing Patriot have a very large potential export market."

The RDP and other Patriot upgrades leverage the lessons learned from Patriot's more than 190 combat employments, 700 flight tests and 2,500-plus ground tests.

 

About Global Patriot Solutions

Raytheon's Global Patriot Solutions is the most advanced portfolio of air and missile defense technologies in the world, providing comprehensive protection against a full range of advanced threats including aircraft, tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles. Continually upgraded and enhanced to leverage the latest technology, thirteen nations depend on Patriot as the foundation for their defense. 

 

About Raytheon

Raytheon Company, with 2014 sales of $23 billion and 61,000 employees worldwide, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, civil government and cybersecurity markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning 93 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems, as well as cybersecurity and a broad range of mission support services. Raytheon is headquartered in Waltham, Mass. For more about Raytheon, visit us at www.raytheon.com and follow us on Twitter @Raytheon.

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9 novembre 2015 1 09 /11 /novembre /2015 13:20
Le President Barack avec Benjamin Netanyahu (Oct 1, 2014 - Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Le President Barack avec Benjamin Netanyahu (Oct 1, 2014 - Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

09-11-2015 Par RFI

 

Alors que les violences se poursuivent au Proche-Orient, Benyamin Netanyahu, le Premier ministre israélien, doit rencontrer lundi 9 novembre à Washington le président américain Barack Obama. Un premier tête-à-tête depuis un an et depuis l’accord sur le nucléaire iranien. Les relations entre les deux hommes sont tendues, mais malgré leurs dissensions, les deux chefs d’Etat ont de nombreux dossiers à voir ensemble : l’Iran justement, la Syrie, le regain de violence entre Palestiniens et Israéliens, et le prochain accord de défense entre Washington et Tel Aviv.

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9 novembre 2015 1 09 /11 /novembre /2015 12:30
USS Oliver Hazard Perry (FFG-7) - photo US Navy.jpg

USS Oliver Hazard Perry (FFG-7) - photo US Navy.jpg

 

November 8, 2015 By Burak Ege Bekdil and Aaron Mehta - Defense News

 

ANKARA, Turkey, and WASHINGTON — As the US continues to modify its strategy for Syria, Turkish officials are raising concerns that Washington is moving too slowly to provide its ally with needed military goods. Turkish officials are bristling at what they see as delays in the delivery of weapons and ammo that are needed to fight Kurdish militant groups, with several large orders stuck pending in the system. Among the orders that are held up is a major deal from February 2014 between Sikorsky and the Turkish government for the co-production of 109 utility helicopters. Another is a Turkish request to transfer three Oliver Hazard Perry frigates, two of them floatable and one for spare use, along with a military trailer, to the Turkish military. An official from a state-controlled Turkish defense company said that other US-made equipment and systems Turkey has asked the US to ship include combat UAVs, smart military supplies, frigates and military trailers.

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8 novembre 2015 7 08 /11 /novembre /2015 18:45
Opération Barkhane: First Operational Helicopter Refueling

The French air force has carried out its first operational in-flight refueling of a helicopter when a US Marine Corps KC-130 tanker refueled a French AF Caracal in Africa. France currently lacks suitable tankers of its own. (French AF photo)

 

Nov 8, 2015 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: French air force; issued Nov 6, 2015)

 

In late October, a Caracal helicopter belonging to the 1/67 "Pyrénées" squadron detached to N'Djamena (Chad) was refueled in flight by an American C-130 Hercules.

The vastness of the Sahel desert, and the long distances involved, are a major logistical challenge for the airmobile force that is continuously supporting the troops deployed on combat operations on the ground. In-flight refueling of helicopters overcomes much of this constraint.

Operated to transport supplies and maintenance personnel, Caracal now offers the airmobile component the benefit of a longer operational range. This in-flight refueling by an American C-130 opens up new possibilities in terms of planning and conducting operations.

The airmobile component of the Barkhane Force has 17 helicopters, spread over bases in Gao, N'Djamena and Madama. Over 5,000 flight hours have been logged on missions to support and assist the deployment of combat forces throughout the Sahel-Saharan strip.

photo Armée de f'AIr

photo Armée de f'AIr

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8 novembre 2015 7 08 /11 /novembre /2015 18:36
photo MSF

photo MSF

 

Nov 6, 2015  defense-aerospace.com

(Source: US Department of Defense; issued Nov 5, 2015)

 

DoD Receives Initial Report of Kunduz Hospital Strike

 

WASHINGTON --- Defense Department officials have received and read a 13-page initial review conducted by Doctors Without Borders of the Oct. 3 strike at their hospital in Kunduz, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said here today.
A full investigation is underway in coordination with Afghanistan’s government to “determine exactly what happened” when the hospital came under fire, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on the day of the strike.
“We appreciate [Doctors Without Borders] sharing this report with us in advance of its release,” Davis told defense reporters, “and it is being made available to our investigators who continue their efforts.”

Initial Statement
In an initial statement Oct. 3, Army Col. Brian Tribus, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said U.S. forces conducted an airstrike in Kunduz at 2:15 a.m. local time that “may have caused collateral damage to a nearby medical facility.”
A statement later that day said the airstrike was targeting insurgents who were directly firing on U.S. service members advising and assisting Afghan security forces in the city, near a Doctors Without Borders facility.
“Since this tragic incident we have worked closely with [Doctors Without Borders] to determine the facts surrounding it,” Davis said, noting that yesterday Resolute Support Commander Army Gen. John F. Campbell met in Kabul with Doctors Without Borders representatives.

Investigation Continues
“We continue to work closely with [Doctors Without Borders] in identifying the victims, both those killed and wounded, so that we can conclude our investigations and proceed with follow-on actions, to include condolence payments,” Davis added.
The department also is committed to working with Doctors Without Borders to determine the full extent of damage to the hospital so it can be repaired in full, he said.
The NATO Resolute Support Combined Civilian Casualty Assessment Team, or CCAT, investigation is ongoing and is being conducted simultaneously with the U.S. investigation, which is being conducted in accordance with Army Regulation 15-6, Davis said.

Army Regulation 15-6
Army Regulation 15-6, according to Army manuals and documents, establishes procedures for investigations and boards of officers. AR 15-6 procedures may be used on their own, such as in an investigation to determine facts and circumstances, or they may be incorporated by reference into directives governing specific kinds of investigations, such as line-of-duty investigations.
Davis said that when the 15-6 investigation is complete it will go to U.S. Central Command and officials there will formally review and release the report.
A key element of the investigation still underway is the effort to identify the casualties, he said, noting that the investigators are working closely with Doctors Without Borders on that.
“We’re committed to conducting investigations that are thorough and transparent,” Davis said, adding that the department leadership again expresses their “deepest condolences to the families of those affected by this tragic incident.”

 

Note RP Defense : initial link on DoD website : http://www.defense.gov/News-Article-View/Article/627858/dod-receives-initial-report-of-kunduz-hospital-strike

now 

http://www.defense.gov/News-Article-View/Article/627858/dod-receives-initial-report-of-kunduz-hospital-strike source RP Defense

http://www.defense.gov/News-Article-View/Article/627858/dod-receives-initial-report-of-kunduz-hospital-strike source RP Defense

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8 novembre 2015 7 08 /11 /novembre /2015 18:35
Attack on Kunduz Trauma Centre: Initial MSF Internal Review


Nov 06, 2015 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Medecins Sans Frontière; issued Nov 05, 2015)

 

Hospitals have protected status under the rules of war. And yet in the early hours of 3 October, the MSF hospital in Kunduz came under relentless and brutal aerial attack by US forces.

Patients burned in their beds, medical staff were decapitated and lost limbs, and others were shot by the circling AC-130 gunship while fleeing the burning building. At least 30 MSF staff and patients were killed.

This week, MSF concluded an initial review of the facts before, during and in the aftermath of the airstrikes. Although our internal review is an ongoing process, we have decided to share these initial outcomes with the public, to counter speculation and to be transparent. Details that could identify individuals have been removed. Explanatory footnotes have been added in places where an external reader may need additional clarification.

This is the view from inside the hospital. What we lack is the view from outside the hospital - what happened within the military chains of command.

The facts compiled in this review confirm our initial observations: the MSF trauma centre was fully functioning as a hospital with 105 patients admitted and surgeries ongoing at the time of the US airstrikes; the MSF rules in the hospital were implemented and respected, including the ‘no weapons’ policy; MSF was in full control of the hospital before and at the time of the airstrikes; there were no armed combatants within the hospital compound and there was no fighting from or in the direct vicinity of the trauma centre before the airstrikes.

What we know is that we were running a hospital treating patients, including wounded combatants from both sides – this was not a ‘Taliban base.’

The question remains as to whether our hospital lost its protected status in the eyes of the military forces engaged in this attack - and if so, why. The answer does not lie within the MSF hospital. Those responsible for requesting, ordering and approving the airstrikes hold these answers.

We know that there were many different forces fighting in the area around our hospital: special forces, regular army, police and the armed opposition. Each of these forces may have been operating according to different understandings or interpretations of how international humanitarian law applies to medical work in war. Any ambiguity has deadly consequences for our ability to work on frontlines.

What we demand is simple: a functioning hospital caring for patients, such as the one in Kunduz, cannot simply lose its protection and be attacked; wounded combatants are patients and must be free from attack and treated without discrimination; medical staff should never be punished or attacked for providing treatment to wounded combatants.

On 7 October 2015, MSF launched a call for an independent investigation by the International Humanitarian Fact Finding Commission. Although the IHFFC has made itself available for an investigation, the United States and Afghan Governments have yet to consent to this request. Consenting to the IHFFC is a critical step in demonstrating a commitment to the Geneva Conventions. Today, we are handing over this internal report to both the public and the IHFFC.

The attack on our hospital in Kunduz destroyed our ability to treat patients at a time when we were needed the most.

We need a clear commitment that the act of providing medical care will never make us a target. We need to know whether the rules of war still apply.


Click here for the full report, on the MSF website.

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8 novembre 2015 7 08 /11 /novembre /2015 14:30
Shadow M2 - photo Textron Systems

Shadow M2 - photo Textron Systems

 

07 November, 2015 by James Drew - FG

 

Dubai - Textron is determined to arm its “Version 2” and next-generation “Mark 2” Shadow tactical unmanned aircraft with its lightweight Fury weapons even without serious interest from the US Army, which is more keen to diversify the weaponry available on its General Atomics Aeronautical Systems MQ-1C Gray Eagles.

 

The all-digital RQ-7B V2 Shadow entered service with the army in late 2014, and Textron expects to deliver 20-25 systems annually, each consisting of four aircraft and two ground stations, over the next five years as the service replaces legacy platforms. Meanwhile, Textron continues to market the new Shadow “M2” air vehicle domestically and abroad, touting its more powerful engine, payload capacity, endurance and potential satellite communications capability for beyond-line-of-sight reconnaissance missions. The M2 and Textron’s Aerosonde small UAV are both on display at this year’s Dubai air ahow, along with the Fury miniature munition that Textron hopes will arm modern RQ-7 variants as well as other manned and unmanned platforms.

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8 novembre 2015 7 08 /11 /novembre /2015 12:20
Flying Launch and Recovery System or FLARES – photo Insitu

Flying Launch and Recovery System or FLARES – photo Insitu

 

November 6, 2015 Robert Beckhusen – War is Boring

 

Say goodbye to the ScanEagle's 4,000-pound ground catapult

 

Here’s one way to find a new use for an old drone — stick it underneath another drone which serves as a flying mothership. Insitu, a Boeing-owned company which manufactures the tiny ScanEagle surveillance drone, recently showed off a video of a quadcopter carrying the ScanEagle into the air and launching it … like a flying aircraft carrier. The ScanEagle then heads back to its quadcopter and snags a retrieval line. The whole system, known as the Flying Launch and Recovery System or FLARES, is a drone-carrier drone.

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8 novembre 2015 7 08 /11 /novembre /2015 07:20
Secretary of Defense  Ashton Carter photo R. Reagan Foundation ‏.jpg

Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter photo R. Reagan Foundation ‏.jpg

 

07 novembre 2015 Romandie.com (AFP)

 

Simi Valley (Etats-Unis) - Les Etats-Unis adaptent leur posture opérationnelle pour contrer toute agression russe, a déclaré samedi le secrétaire américain à la Défense Ashton Carter.

 

Nous adaptons notre posture opérationnelle et nos plans d'urgence dans le travail que nous faisons -nous-mêmes et avec nos alliés- pour dissuader la Russie d'une agression, et pour contribuer à réduire la vulnérabilité de nos alliés et de nos partenaires, a déclaré M. Carter au cours d'un forum sur les questions de défense en Californie.

 

Le chef du Pentagone a précisé que Washington modernisait son arsenal nucléaire et investissait dans des moyens de haute technologie comme les drones, les bombardiers à long rayon d'action, les lasers, les canons électro-magnétiques et la guerre électronique.

 

M. Carter a fait allusion à de nouveaux moyens militaires surprenants, ajoutant qu'il ne pouvait pas vraiment les décrire maintenant.

 

En outre, nous mettons à jour et perfectionnons nos plans de dissuasion et de défense compte tenu du changement de comportement de la Russie, a ajouté M. Carter au cours de ce forum à la Ronald Reagan [Foundation] à Simi Valley.

 

Washington veut aussi développer ses capacités dans le domaine des campagnes d'information pour faire passer la vérité, et dans celui des sanctions ciblées qui aient un impact sur la Russie.

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8 novembre 2015 7 08 /11 /novembre /2015 07:20
Le ministre américain de la Défense met en garde contre un conflit en mer de Chine méridionale

Sec of Defense Ashton Carter photo R. Reagan Foundation

 

08 novembre 2015 Romandie.com (AFP)

 

Simi Valley (Etats-Unis) - Les Etats-Unis sont profondément inquiets d'un risque de conflit en mer de Chine méridionale en raison des revendications territoriales de plusieurs Etats, à commencer par la Chine, a déclaré samedi le secrétaire américain à la Défense, Ashton Carter.

 

Le ministre a également affirmé que Washington adaptait sa posture opérationnelle pour contrer toute agression russe, au cours d'un forum sur les questions de défense au sein de la bibliothèque présidentielle Ronald Reagan située à Simi Valley, en Californie.

 

S'exprimant au terme d'une tournée de huit jours, qui l'a vu rencontrer plusieurs homologues de la région Asie-Pacifique, M. Carter a déclaré que les profondes inquiétudes des Etats-Unis concernant le rythme et la portée des revendications territoriales en mer de Chine méridionale étaient largement partagées dans la région.

 

Ce haut responsable américain s'est dit préoccupé par les perspectives de militarisation accrue, ainsi que par le potentiel qu'ont ces activités d'accroître le risque de mauvais calculs ou de conflit entre les Etats ayant des revendications.

 

La Chine proclame sa souveraineté sur la quasi-totalité de la mer de Chine méridionale, dont certaines zones sont également revendiquées par le Vietnam, la Malaisie, les Philippines et le sultanat de Brunei.

 

Les Etats-Unis ont provoqué le mécontentement de la Chine en faisant croiser le 28 octobre un destroyer américain près d'îlots artificiels mis en place par Pékin dans l'archipel des Spratleys.

 

Le forum Reagan sur la défense nationale réunit chaque année des dizaines de personnalités de la défense des Etats-Unis, y compris des responsables politiques des deux camps, afin d'évoquer la politique américaine dans ce domaine.

 

M. Carter a utilisé cette plateforme pour s'en prendre aux manoeuvres militaires de la Russie.

 

En mer, dans les airs, dans l'espace et dans le cyberespace, les acteurs russes se sont engagés dans des activités provocatrices, a-t-il estimé.

 

Et, plus perturbant, les rodomontades russes autour du nucléaire posent question, selon lui.

 

Nous mettons à jour et perfectionnons nos plans de dissuasion et de défense compte tenu du changement de comportement de la Russie, a dit le chef du Pentagone.

 

Nous adaptons notre posture opérationnelle et nos plans d'urgence dans le travail que nous faisons - nous-mêmes et avec nos alliés - pour dissuader la Russie d'une agression, et pour contribuer à réduire la vulnérabilité de nos alliés et de nos partenaires, a-t-il encore affirmé.

 

M. Carter a précisé que Washington modernisait son arsenal nucléaire et investissait dans des moyens de haute technologie comme les drones, les bombardiers à long rayon d'action, les lasers, les canons électro-magnétiques et la guerre électronique.

 

Il a fait allusion à de nouveaux moyens militaires surprenants, ajoutant qu'il ne pouvait pas vraiment les décrire maintenant.

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7 novembre 2015 6 07 /11 /novembre /2015 17:20
Countermine System (GBU-61) credits: US Navy

Countermine System (GBU-61) credits: US Navy

 

November 2, 2015: Strategy Page

 

The United States has developed a new way to deliver naval mines; by attaching a JDAM glide and satellite navigation kit to naval mines designed to be dropped, like dumb bombs, into shallow water. The JDAM mine can glide 70 kilometers thus avoiding many enemy air defenses. This avoids risking aircraft, which typically have to come down low to drop the air delivered mines. It also means you don’t have to risk your nuclear subs for the delivery of these mines. Subs have long been an effective way to plant mines in enemy waters. The JDAM approach does not eliminate all risk from anti-aircraft systems. China and Russia have modern S-300 systems with ranges of over a hundred miles. But the farther away the attacking aircraft are the less they are at risk. That’s because American aircraft go into combat with EW (electronic warfare aircraft) and EW devices on all aircraft. That provides a lot of protection but it is not 100 percent and the less time you spend in the danger zone the less risk you are exposed to.

 

Meanwhile the United States and its allies have to spend a lot more effort figuring out how to effectively deal with enemy naval mines. The few enemies the West has possess a lot of these mines. Iran has a few thousand naval mines and that is a small arsenal compared to Russia (over 200,000), China (over 100,000) and North Korea (over 50,000). It is generally agreed that all these mines are a serious danger. While often ignored, naval mines are a formidable weapon. But these passive weapons just don't get any respect. The historical record indicates otherwise.

 

Modern naval mines were widely used for the first time over a century ago, during the Russo-Japanese war (1904- 1905). These were contact mines, floating in shallow water and kept in place with an anchor and chain. When the tide was right they would be just below the surface, ready to explode whenever struck by a ship. Some 2,000 of these mines were used to destroy sixteen ships during the Russo-Japanese war. That's one ship lost for every 125 mines used.

 

During World War I (1914-18), modern mine tactics and clearing methods evolved. Thousands of mines were laid to provide defensive barriers against enemy movement in the North Sea. Mines were also used offensively by secretly placing them across known enemy sea routes. More than 1,000 merchant and war ships were lost because of the 230,000 mines used. That's over 200 mines used for every ship lost.

 

During World War II there was a major effort to develop better mine clearing methods to deal with an even larger number of mines. During World War II a total of 2,665 ships were lost or damaged to 100,000 offensive mines. That's one ship for every 37 mines. Some 208,000 mines were used defensively to inhibit enemy movement and tie up his resources.

 

Naval mines achieved several striking successes during World War II. In the Pacific naval mines proved more destructive to the Japanese war effort than the atom bombs. During a 10 week period between April and August 1945, 12,000 mines were delivered to the Japanese coast by American bombers. These destroyed 1,250,000 tons of Japanese shipping (670 ships hit, 431 destroyed). That's 18 mines for each ship hit. The Americans had air superiority, so losses during these 1,500 missions amounted to only 15 planes, most of them accidents. Had these missions been flown against opposition, losses would have been between 30 and 60 aircraft, plus similar losses to their fighter escorts. Either way it was a stunning success for naval mines,

 

A conventional submarine campaign was also waged against Japanese shipping using mines. Comparisons between subs using mines and torpedoes are interesting. A hundred submarines were involved in a campaign that ran for 45 months from December, 1941 to August, 1945. Some 4.8 million tons of enemy shipping was sunk with torpedoes. For every U.S. submarine sailor lost using submarine launched torpedoes, 560 tons of enemy ships were sunk. During the mine campaign 3,500 tons were sunk for each U.S. fatality. On a cost basis the difference was equally stark. Counting the cost of lost mine laying aircraft (B- 29's at $500,000 each) or torpedo armed submarine ($5 million each), we find that each ton of sunk shipping cost six dollars when using mines and fifty-five dollars when using submarines. This data was classified as secret until the 1970s. It indicates that mines might have been more effective than torpedoes, even if the mines were delivered by submarine.

 

The Germans waged a minelaying campaign off the east coast of the United States between 1942 and 1944. Only 317 mines were used, which sank or damaged 11 ships. This was a ratio of 29 mines used for each ship hit. More importantly eight major ports were closed for a total of 40 days. One port, Charleston, South Carolina, was closed for 16 days, tying up not only merchant shipping but the thousands of men, warships, and aircraft dealing with the situation. American submarines also waged a limited mine campaign in the Pacific. For 658 mines used, 54 ships were sunk or damaged (12 mines per ship). No subs were lost. Considerable Japanese resources were tied up dealing with the mines. On the Palau atoll the port was closed by the mines and not reopened until the war ended. Even surface ships were used to lay mines. Three thousand mines were laid by destroyers. Only 12 ships were hit but these were barrier fields, not the ambush type mine fields that a submarine can create by sneaking into an enemy held area.

 

In Korea during the early 1950s, the Soviets provided North Korea with 3,000 mines, many of 1904 vintage. These were used to defend Wonson harbor. It took several weeks for UN forces to clear these, at a loss of a dozen ships hit. Half of these ships were destroyed.

 

During the Vietnam War over 300,000 American naval mines were used, primarily in North Vietnamese rivers. The vast majority were not built as mines but were aerial bombs equipped with magnetic sensors instead of fuzes. These bombs/mines used a small parachute to insure that no damage occurred on landing. In shallow water these makeshift weapons sat on the bottom and performed as well as mines. Haiphong Harbor was actually mined with 11,000 of these "destructors," as the US air force called them, and less than a hundred conventional mines. Haiphong Harbor was shut down completely for months, and it took years to clear out all the American mines. The "destructor" mine design was so successful that it is still in use, using more modern electronics, as the Mk 62 mine. This is one of the mines delivered via JDAM.

 

During the 1991 Gulf War the Iraqis laid over a thousand mines off the Iraqi and Kuwaiti coast. The predominantly American naval forces did not have sufficient mine sweeping resources to deal with this situation and had a helicopter carrier and cruiser hit and damaged while trying to clear the area. This effectively prevented any U.S. amphibious operations, although the Marines were not going to be used for a landing anyway. It took over a month of mine clearing after the fighting ceased to eliminate all the mines. In the meantime, two U.S. warships were damaged by these mines.  In 2003, the Iraqis again tried to use mines, but were hampered by prompt American, British, and Kuwaiti action.

 

In any future war naval mines will again surprise everyone with how effective they are. It is feared that terrorists might get their hands on some bottom mines, but so far, there do not appear to have been any attempts.

 

The only American minesweeper ships are the twelve Avengers. These are 72.3 meter (224 foot) long ships that draw only 4.8 meters (15 feet) of water, enabling them to operate close to shore. The crews are supposed to be trained in navigating such shallow areas. The Avengers are armed with two .50 cal. (12.7mm) machine guns, two 7.62mm machine guns, two 40mm automatic grenade launchers, and have a crew of 84. Most Avengers are stationed in the Persian Gulf, operating out of Bahrain or in the Pacific and based in Sasebo, Japan. The “home port” for the Avengers is San Diego, California.

 

The U.S. Navy needs these minesweepers because replacements (minesweeping helicopters and minesweeping versions of the new LCS ship) have been delayed by technical problems. Meanwhile the U.S. has upgraded the sonars on its Avenger class ships. The new AN/SQQ-32(V)4 mine hunting sonar improves the ability of the sonar to spot mines on sea bottoms cluttered with other stuff (natural or manmade). In many parts of the world shallow coastal waters are used as a dumping ground for junk that won’t float ashore. This has been found to help hide bottom mines. The Avengers have also received new engines. The four original diesel engines in each Avenger have never been very reliable. With their new engines the Avengers can still move at up to 27 kilometers an hour. Normally, however, the Avengers move much more slowly (3-4 kilometers an hour) when searching for mines. The Avengers also received improved hydraulics and new mine destruction systems.

 

The upgrade is part of an attempt to deal with delays in the arrival of the LCS class ships, or at least the ones equipped for mine hunting. So for the last decade the navy has been hustling to refurbish its existing Avengers. The 3,000 ton LCS ships are designed for minesweeping (and a lot of other jobs) but the 1,400 ton Avengers specialize in minesweeping. Built mostly of wood and very little iron, the fourteen Avengers entered the fleet between 1987 and 1994, and twelve are still in service. The upgrades enable the surviving Avengers to remain in service at least until 2016 and probably until the end of the decade.

 

The navy also had a dozen smaller Osprey class coastal mine hunters (900 tons displacement, crew of 51), but these were all given away to foreign navies and are to be replaced by the LCS and new minesweeping helicopters.

 

The navy has also equipped helicopters for mine clearing. But the navy is having a very difficult time maintaining its force of 30 MH-53E helicopters. This aircraft are the only ones that can tow a sled containing naval mine detecting gear. This sort of thing is called AMCM (Airborne Mine Countermeasures) and is considered essential in areas, like the Persian Gulf, where the enemy (Iran) might use a lot of naval mines that would have to be cleared quickly in wartime.

 

The MH-53E is an update of the original 1960s era CH-53 and entered service in the early 1980s. Fifty MH-53Es were built and they have been worked hard ever since. That’s why only 30 are left and few of them are fit to fly at any one time. Originally the navy planned to retire the MH-53Es in 2008, but replacements (lighter sleds that could be pulled by smaller and more modern helicopters) did not work out as expected. So retirement was pushed to 2012, then 2017 and currently the navy hopes to keep some MH-53Es operational into the 2020s.

 

Meanwhile efforts continue to develop lighter equipment for the mine hunting task. Some of these projects have had limited success. The AQS-24A mine-hunting system looks like a torpedo with extra fins and attachment. It is lowered into the water and dragged by the helicopter at speeds of up to 34 kilometers an hour. The AQS-24A contains a high resolution sonar that seeks out mines than lay on the sea bottom, waiting for ships to pass over. The bottom mine then detonates if a ship type it was programmed to attack is detected. The U.S. Navy has been using this mine hunting approach since the 1980s. The original sled system went through several major upgrades and is considered very reliable and effective. The MH-53E sled is still able to carry more equipment and sweep a larger area faster.

 

The U.S. Navy has also developed a complementary system, ALMDS (Airborne Laser Mine Detection System). Designed to operate from the MH-60S helicopter, ALMDS uses a Laser Imaging Detection and Ranging blue-green laser to detect, and identify naval mines near the surface. Unlike the AQS-24A, ALMDS operates from the low flying, and smaller, helicopters. Surface mines are either moored (via a chain to the bottom) or floating (a favorite terrorist tactic), and many float just below the surface. The laser works very quickly, and enables the ALMDS equipped helicopter to quickly check out large areas for surface mines. Terrorists have used naval mines before, of the floating variety. Navies tend to use the more sophisticated, expensive and hard-to-get bottom mines (that lie on the bottom, in shallow water).

 

Many of these American mine detecting and clearing systems have had performance problems and work continues to make them more reliable and effective. American allies have also developed new mine detection and clearing tools and some of the new U.S. equipment uses foreign tech. While new mine designs have become more effective, the basic problem is that the many older mine designs are still very dangerous, especially for the unprepared.

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