Kamis, Desember 30, 2010

ST Engineering's Aerospace Arm Secures Boeing 757-200 Passenger-To-Combi Conversion Contracts

NZ Airforce's Boeing 757 converted into multi-role combi configuration (photo : Aviation Week)

Singapore - ST Engineering today announced that its aerospace arm, ST Aerospace, has signed on its first commercial customer, Guggenheim Aviation Partners, LLC (GAP), to perform a passenger-to-passenger/cargo (combi) (PTC) conversion on a Boeing 757-200 aircraft for TNT Airways S.A. The aircraft is expected to be inducted into ST Aerospace's Singapore facility by end February 2011, and the converted aircraft is targeted for redelivery by end 2011.

This PTC conversion is ST Aerospace's first 757-200 combi conversion for a commercial customer. It has previously successfully designed and converted two Royal New Zealand Air Force's passenger aircraft into multi-role combi configuration. These two combi aircraft are currently in operational service.

Separately, ST Aerospace will also be working in tandem with the aerospace division of ST Engineering's US subsidiary, VT Systems, to undertake a PTC conversion programme, also for the Boeing 757-200 aircraft, for North American Airlines (NAA), a subsidiary of Global Aviation Holdings Inc. VT Systems' aerospace division and NAA entered into an agreement for the PTC conversion earlier this month.

VT Systems' aerospace division's maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facilities in Mobile and San Antonio are managed by ST Aerospace as part of its global network of MRO facilities.

ST Aerospace will offer both GAP and NAA a complete solution - from engineering design to implementing the conversion of the passenger-carrying aircraft into a combi configuration at its MRO facilities.

As part of the agreements, ST Aerospace will obtain Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and European Aviation Safety Agency Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs) for the PTC conversion. These STCs will be based on ST Aerospace's existing FAA-approved STC for the 757-200 Special Freighter passenger-to-freighter (PTF) conversion, which is to date the only STC developed based on Boeing's licensed passenger and freighter data.

These PTC programmes attest to ST Aerospace's strong engineering and design capability that complement its MRO expertise. ST Aerospace is a PTF Centre of Excellence and has performed numerous PTF conversions for the Boeing 727, 757-200, 767-300, DC10, MD10 and MD11 aircraft for almost two decades. Specifically for 757-200 PTF conversions, ST Aerospace has redelivered 50 converted aircraft to date, with a backlog of 56 aircraft.

These agreements are not expected to have any material impact on the consolidated net tangible assets per share and earnings per share of ST Engineering for the current financial year.

Six Additional Patrol Vessel Starting 2012

Second generation patrol vessel (photo : MalaysianDefence)

LUMUT, (Bernama) -- The government has issued a letter of intent to Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd for the building of six second generation petrol vessels under a programme starting in 2012, Chief of Navy Admiral Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Jaafar said today.

The additional vessels will ease the asset restraint that the Royal Malaysian Navy have had to endure since surrendering 17 of its ships to the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, he said when launching KD Selangor, the sixth RMN petrol vessel, at the base here.

KD Selangor is the last ship ordered under a programme which started in 1999. The other vessels are KD Kedah and KD Pahang, based in Kota Kinabalu, and KD Perak and KD Terengganu, in Kuantan.

KD Selangor will be based in Lumut alongside KD Kelantan.

Sabtu, Desember 18, 2010

Russia, China push fifth-generation fighter programmes to meet year-end milestones

This aircraft, like the first prototype, will be flown initially from the Dzemgi aerodrome adjacent to the Komsomolsk-na-Amure Aviation Production Association (KNAAPO) and then, following initial acceptance test flights, it will be transferred to the Gromov Flight Research Institute (LII) in Zhukovskiy.

Sukhoi General Director Mikhail Pogosian said the T-50 will take part in a flight display at the August 2011 Moscow Aviation and Space Salon (MAKS) as well as being on static display.

Both prototypes are powered by the same Saturn/Lyulka 117S engines fitted to the Sukhoi Su-35 while a new engine jointly developed by Saturn and the MMPP Salyut plant is in its design phase.

Russian aircraft programmes - even in Soviet times - have often had year-end deadlines to complete first flights that came down to the wire. Sources close to the programme told Jane's that "the end of the year deadline may not be met, but the aircraft will fly very soon - either before the end of 2010 or just after the new year".

The programme designation has been changed and is now officially being referred to as the 'PAK-FA/MI' (MI meaning Mnogofunktsionalniy Istrebitel, or Multirole Fighter).

Harriers embark for Ark Royal's final cruise

The UK's Joint Force Harrier has undertaken its last cruise aboard HMS Ark Royal before both the aircraft and the Royal Navy flagship are axed following the government's Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR).

Four BAE Systems Harrier GR.9 strike aircraft from Royal Air Force (RAF) 1(F) and 4 Squadrons and 800 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) based at RAF Cottesmore embarked aboard Ark Royal for the final voyage of the ship's 25-year career.

For its final cruise, Ark Royal sailed to Loch Long on the west coast of Scotland, where it was disarmed, before making its way around the northern coast of the UK to the site of the now-closed Swan Hunter shipyard on the River Tyne in Newcastle, where it was built in the late 1970s. It was just off Newcastle where the Harriers joined the ship.

Sabtu, Desember 11, 2010

Photos provide clues for Chinese Type 056 corvette design

The first images of a probable new corvette design for the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) have emerged following a visit by the deputy commander of the Hong Kong military garrison to a local college.

Photographs published on the Hong Kong University website showed Major General Wang Junli presenting a model of the vessel, which has an estimated displacement of between 1,000 tons and 1,800 tons and bears the pennant number 056, to the institution's vice chancellor during the visit on 4 November.

The presentation by a local military commander suggests that the new Type 056 corvette – if this is indeed its designation – may be intended to replace or supplement the PLAN's six Houjian-class (Type 037/2) fast attack craft (FACs). Armed with YJ-1 (C-801) surface-to-surface missiles (SSMs), these 528-ton craft have been based in Hong Kong since 1997.

According to Chinese sources, however, the new vessel is set to replace the Houxin-class (Type 037/G) attack craft and older Type 053S light frigates. Observers of the PLAN have known for some time that the service was planning an extensive construction programme for a corvette-sized vessel. This involved the procurement of well over two dozen units from several shipyards across China – along the lines of the Houbei-class [Type 022] catamaran FAC programme.

Kamis, Desember 09, 2010

T-95 Main Battle Tanks & Tank Support Vehicles to Augment Russian Armor Units

In 2009 the Russian Army is scheduled to receive a new main battle tank, claimed to be superior to existing designs. The new tank will introduce a new hull, power plant and drive train. It will also have improved firepower, comprising of new armament, target acquisition, fire control and surveillance systems.

The Russian Army is also planning to field the long awaited Tank Support Vehicle, scheduled to enter production at Uralvagonzavod next year. The first armor units are expecting the new BMPTs by 2010.

The tank is under development at Ural based Uralvagonzavod plant. Apart from the Russian Army, Saudi Arabia was reported to be interested in the new tank, according to a Sept, 2007 French News Agency report. However, since actual testing in Saudi Arabia were conducted with T-90s, it is assumed that the saudis are evaluating the T-90 rather than the radically new T-95.

According to Jane's, the T-95 (currently known as "Object 775") will have a weight of about 50 tons, with length and width similar to the existing T-72, T-80 and T-90 MBTs. Jane's believs this model will be equipped with a smoothbore 135 or 152mm cannon. The three crewmembers are seated in a hull mounted capsule seperated from the ammunition by an armored bulkhead.

Another main battle tank under development in Russia, the "object 640" (also known as 'Black Eagle'), is also under development at the Omsk-based Design Bureau of Transport Machine-building. Unveiled at an arms exposition in Omsk, Siberia, in 1999 Black eagle has not been seen since. This Black eagle also features a new chassis and turret but uses a manned turret with an automatic loader.

According to Makarov the new tank is expected to complete the current test series in 2008 and enter production in 2009. Makarov claimed the new tank will be competitive and superior to current main battle tanks. He admitted that while the local industry can deliver highly sophisticated weapon systems, there is still a shortage of high quality military components for such systems that resulted from years of neglect of military industrial infrastructure since the collapse of the Soviet military industry enterprises.

The unmanned turret design is already incorporated in another vehicle designed at Uralvagonzavod, known as 'Tank Support Vehicle' or BMPT. By 2010 the first Russian armor units are scheduled to be equipped with this vehicle, dubbed 'Terminator' - Russia's Ground Forces Commander, Colonel General Alexei Maslov, told news media that the first tank company will be equipped with BMPT by 2010.

The 'Terminator' will enter production in 2008. Uralvagonzavod developed the vehicle based on combat lessons learned during the war in Chechnya, but its implementation has been subject to delays. According to Novosti news agency, Uralvagonzavod Director General Nikolai Malykh, confirmed that his company received the first orders for the new vehicle, the first two BMPTs will be produced in 2008.

The BMPT uses the T-72 tank chassis. It is equipped with enhanced armor and improved armament for the engagement of airborne and surface targets, including light and medium armored vehicles. Its main armament consists of two 30-mm 2A42 automatic cannons, a coaxially-mounted 7.62-mm PKTM machine gun, and four launchers with laser-guided Attack-T anti-tank missiles. According to the Vzglyad business newspaper quoted by Novosti, "Several foreign countries have already expressed an interest in buying the Russian-made BMPTs".

Rabu, Desember 08, 2010

Israel develops aerodynamic helicopter cargo container

The Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk

The Israel Defence Force (IDF) has developed a new cargo container for carriage under a helicopter which, with specially designed aerodynamic wings, enables the aircraft to fly at almost regular speeds while carrying over a ton in supplies.

The new container was developed by the IDF's Technological and Logistics Directorate and the Israeli Ministry of Defence's (MoD's) Research and Development Directorate (MAFAT). IDF sources told Jane's that the MoD plans to issue a request for information (RfI) to local industries for large-scale production in the coming months.

The motivation behind the development of the new cargo container came from lessons learned from the IDF's war in Lebanon in 2006 when helicopters and C-130 transport aircraft were called in to transport supplies to forces operating behind enemy lines due to the difficulty the military encountered in opening land-based logistic supply lines.

The new container was aerodynamically engineered with stabilisers and add-on wings to enable IAF transport helicopters - Sikorsky CH-53 and the UH-60 Black Hawk - to carry large loads but without having to dramatically slow down their speeds.

"The upgraded container allows a helicopter to move with the same weight at three-quarters of its speed as opposed to about half its speed as was the case until now," an IDF officer told Jane's .

US sends aircraft carrier to Yellow Sea following North Korean attacks

USS George Washington (CVN 73)

The US is deploying the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) and four other US Navy (USN) warships to the West Sea (Yellow Sea), with the announcement of the deployment being made a day after a North Korean artillery barrage targeting the island of Yeonpyeong killed four South Koreans and injured 18 others.

George Washington will participate in joint naval exercises with the Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN) "in the waters West of the Korean peninsula" from 28 November to 1 December, according to a statement released by the USN's Seventh Fleet on 24 November.

The Japan-based carrier was already under way and bound for the bilateral 'Keen Sword' exercise with the Japan Self-Defence Force (JSDF), according to the navy. While at sea, the ship was tasked to join RoKN forces for the as-yet unnamed exercise.

The announcement follows a 23 November phone call between US President Barack Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak in which they agreed to combined military exercises "to underscore the strength of our alliance and commitment to peace and security in the region", according to a White House statement.

US embarks on study into future anti-ship missile family

The US Navy is set to kick off a wide-ranging analysis of alternatives (AoA) study intended to shape the characteristics of a new generation of long-range anti-ship guided weapons.

The Joint Resource Oversight Council approved the Offensive Anti-Surface Warfare (OASuW) initiative in early November after a capabilities-based assessment was signed off in May and an Initial Capabilities Document Requirements Review Board completed in August. A request for information (RfI) was issued to industry on 2 December for information to feed into the AoA.

According to Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), which is managing the OASuW effort, the AoA will "specifically address the OASuW engage gaps in the Find, Fix, Track, Target, Engage, Assess [F2T2EA] kill chain and will recommend a preferred system concept for an OASuW weapon family of systems [FoS] – with common subsystems/components – to support the Joint Force Commander's requirement to "gain and sustain access to the maritime battlespace".

Although NAVAIR has not released any specifics of the performance required of OASuW weapons, or of the existing guided weapons the new capability could replace, it characterises the FoS as "required to be mission effective in satellite-enabled, satellite-constrained, and satellite-denied environments to maximize lethality at critical points in the OASuW battle".

Selasa, Desember 07, 2010

Estonian Defence Forces Present New XA-188 Armored Cars

Estonia is buying 81 new armored cars from the Netherlands and they should gradually reach the members of the Defence Forces of Estonia by the year 2015.

The first 13 armored cars are handed over to the members of the Defence Forces of Estonia in Afghanistan in the near future.

The double armor protects from fire of heavy machine guns and from improvised explosives a lot better than armored cars used so far.

Breaking the Bundeswehr

The German Bundeswehr is currently in the process of reducing its armed forces by as much as a quarter. Despite its reputation as an advanced military nation and strong ally for global peacekeeping, it will be implementing the biggest cut since the end of World War II. Albrecht Muller takes a closer look at how the decision, set against a background of economic decline, could radically transform the nations' military standing.

In October, German Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg gave his backing to a radical restructuring of the Bundeswehr, including significant budget cuts and the reduction of the current 250,000 strong conscription army into a much smaller professional force.

Ending conscription, reducing the number of troops by around 70,000, trimming the military command structure, and cutting the Defence Department itself by more than half were three suggestions from a 112-page report, called "Thinking From The Mission. Concentration, Flexibility, Efficiency". The paper was delivered to Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg on 26 October by an expert commission, which was set up in April to examine the future Bundeswehr's structure.

Alongside the goal of developing a future structure, this reform is also supposed to help meet a number of savings objectives the ministry is currently facing. Back in June the German government had decided to slash a total of 8.3bn Euros from the current defence budget, which stands at around 31bn Euros as part of an overall effort to reduce its global expenditure by around 80bn Euros.

4bn Euros are to be saved in the course of the reform and 4.3bn Euros in the department's administrative sector.

The head of the federal employment agency Frank-J├╝rgen Weise suggested the military become a force of 180,000 professionals, temporary-career volunteers and volunteers, who would serve 15 to 23 months.

The 75,000 Bundeswehr's civilian employees should be cut to 50,000 and posts at the ministry of defence be reduced below 1,500.

At the same time the number of troops that could be deployed on a sustainable basis should rise from today's 7,000 to 14,000.

Command control

As part of these overall changes, the future Bundeswehr's command structure must also become more streamlined. The Generalinspekteur, Germany's highest-ranking military offiical, should be transformed into a Chief of Defence, which would give him command authority over all services and missions. At the same time, the chiefs of the services would be downgraded and placed outside of the Ministry of Defence.

The Bundeswehr Operations Command should also become more powerful while other military and civil command levels and institutions should be disbanded. For future Bundeswehr missions the commission suggested a four-level command structure: Defence Minister, Chief of Defence, Chief of Bundeswehr Operations Command followed by troops on the ground.

By the middle of 2011, after 55 years, Germany is set to witness the end of conscription. This was not only one of the suggestions in the commission's report, but has also been finally agreed upon by the last reluctant factions in Germany's parliament.

On 29 September the executive committees of both conservative parties cast an accordant vote, which will be officially affirmed at the party conferences.


The commission also criticised the Germany's military procurement system in its findings. It pointed to the two-decade-old NH90 helicopter program as an example, which is still not ready for service.

A report submitted by General Volker Wieker in September was especially scathing, stating that almost all major projects could be characterised by being too expensive, delayed and often not as capable as intended.

The general also criticised fragmented responsibilities as well as the existing procedures and processes, outside influence and inadequate funding. Both the commission and the Generalinspekteur therefore called for a fundamental change of the procurement process.

The commission's report suggested creating a procurement agency that would issue tenders and procurements alongside common commercial conduct, observing international anti-corruption rules, speeding up procurement, and generally buying arms and gear off-the-shelf.

In his September analysis Wieker also confirmed the need for massive cuts in ongoing arms projects. Already, in June, a 23 corresponding internal working paper titled "Prioritization Material Investments - Recommended Actions" was leaked, which suggested putting a large number of planes, helicopters and ships out of service as well as to cut down procurement, to save up to 9.3bn Euros over the long run.

The paper included instantly grounding 15 of Germany's current 86 Transall transport planes and reducing the number of its successor A400M aircraft. Also included is putting 100 of 185 Tornado fighter jets out of service as soon as possible and cancelling the last 37 Eurofighters currently on order.

The Navy cuts are just as sweeping, the report recommended placing eight frigates and ten fast attack boats from the current fleet out of service over the medium and long term, while reducing the number of new F125 expeditionary frigates from four to three. Mentioned in the paper as an urgent measure, the navy must also place all of its six older U206A diesel submarines out of service.

Recruiting the future

Like other German experts, the commission around Weise has also pointed out that as a complete voluntary service the German military will have to become a more attractive workplace.

For instance the work-life balance would have to be improved. To gain more personnel it should also made easier for people from other professions to enter the military at a later stage of their life and officials should even look at ways to allow for the enlistment of citizens of other EU or NATO countries.

A major part of all these considerations is Germany's ability to act within its alliances like EU and NATO. To help maintain current action levels and reliability the commission therefore suggested an intensified division of tasks and a deepening of military cooperation within these alliances as well as the European defence industry.

Looking forwards, at the handover of the commission's report Defence Minister zu Guttenberg said, that it would be the basis for a five-to eight-year effort.

A task force in the ministry of defence, headed by Permanent Secretary Walther Otremba, has been established to evaluate the report until January. In the first half of next year, the detailed planning of personnel, equipment and modernisation will begin. At the end, the basing concept will be established in the middle of 2011.

From the outset it's clear that changes are going to be sweeping, what isn't entirely clear as yet is how these changes will affect Germany's role as a militarised nation. Based on the commission reports, however, it is evident that Germany is a rusty war-machine and that only a serious overhaul will prepare it for the demands of 21st century conflict.

Rabu, November 10, 2010

STX Canada Marine - Warship Design and Analysis

STXM is a naval architecture and marine engineering company with offices in Vancouver and Houston and is a wholly owned subsidiary of STX Europe ASA. STXM focuses on the design of complex vessels, including offshore service vessels, research vessels, coastal patrol vessels, offshore patrol vessels and other commercial or government ships.

The company is very experienced in all aspects of ship design including specialized analyses such as computational fluid dynamics, seakeeping analysis, and finite element analysis.

Warship design, testing and performance predictions

STXM uses a commercial approach to patrol vessel designs using well-proven off-the-shelf materials and equipment. Almost all hull forms have been extensively model tested and full scale data has been used to correlate the tow tank results to ensure the accuracy of performance predictions.

The hull forms are typically larger than equivalent size naval combatant platforms and this offers greater internal volume to reduce construction cost and offer a higher level of crew comfort and safety. The designs developed by STXM are principally aimed at economic zone patrol duties served by a country’s navy, coast guard or other defense authority.

Coastal patrol vessels

For patrol duties in coastal or brown water locations, STXM have designs ranging from the PV45 and PV50 up to the helicopter capable PV62. These designs are based on proven hull forms and are capable of speeds in the range of 20kn - 25kn and in excess of 30kn for the PV62. For loiter duties the designs are outfitted with either a drop-down electric driven propulsor or an integrated diesel or electric drive of the main propellers.

Offshore patrol vessels

The STXM PV75 was designed for the Mauritius Coast Guard with the design derived from the Canadian Coast Guard vessel "Leonard J Cowley" and has a maximum speed of 21kn. This was a turnkey project with STXM acting as prime contractor and subcontracting the construction of the vessel at the ASMAR naval shipyard in Talcahuano, Chile.

STXM procured all equipment and provided project management and on site supervision during the construction and post delivery logistics and training support in Mauritius.

Two vessels were built to the PV80 design at Appledore Shipyard in Devon, UK for the Irish naval service. The designs were a further development of the PV75 and have a maximum speed in excess of 22kn and a range of 6,000 nautical miles. and operate in the harsh environments of the North Atlantic and the Irish Sea. These vessels were the first STXM design to include segregated machinery spaces for added safety and redundancy.

The latest design of STXM is the PV85 with two vessels to this design having just been completed for the Royal New Zealand Navy at the BAE Systems Australia shipyard in Williamstown, Victoria. This design offers a 23 knot maximum speed with full helicopter facilities, including maintenance hangar and refueling capability. The vessel has a range of 6,000 nautical miles and is also ice strengthened for patrol duties in the Antarctic regions.

Future developments

STXM is continually working to develop new vessels and to improve the efficiency, flexibility and producibility of all OPV designs. This includes the incorporation of the latest hybrid propulsion systems for slow speed operations, the use of the latest technology for mission systems such as UAVs and USVs and the harmonization of the structure for modular construction techniques and pre-outfitting.

NAVDEX 2011 - Naval Defence, Coastal and Maritime Security

NAVDEX is the dedicated exhibition for naval defence, coastal and maritime security in the Middle East. Launching in February 2011, NAVDEX will be co-located with IDEX, the largest defence exhibition in the Middle East and North African region.

Event features

The exhibition areas at NAVDEX include:

  • On water boat exhibits berthed along marina pontoons
  • An air-conditioned temporary structure adjacent to the water
  • Stand alone exhibition areas built alongside the marina

NAVDEX is more than just an exhibition and will feature:

  • Quayside displays
  • Visiting naval vessels
  • Daily amphibious and waterborne demonstrations

Exhibiting opportunities

For the first time in the United Arab Emirates NAVDEX offers local and international manufacturers and suppliers of naval equipment and technology the opportunity to showcase their latest products at a dedicated naval event to do business within this region.

Exhibitors can showcase their products and services within the quayside purpose built air-conditioned exhibition structure; showcase vessels and crafts on the purpose built marina, demonstrate technology aboard visiting naval vessels and highlight equipment capabilities in live on-water displays all with direct walking access of IDEX.

High profile audience

NAVDEX will attract an audience of decision makers dedicated to the procurement of naval and coastal defence products and solutions.

In addition NAVDEX will receive high quality visitors including international delegations from IDEX. Year-on-year IDEX continues to attract a growing wealth of international decision-makers from within the defence industry, alongside key representatives from governments and the navy.

Strong representation from the GCC, African and Asian Subcontinent countries will make NAVDEX a primary mechanism to reach such an important naval audience.

Senin, November 01, 2010

Australia Takes Command of Combined Task Force CTF-150

Pakistan navy Rear Adm. Zafar Mahmood Abbasi turned over command of Combined Task Force 150 to Commodore Gregory Sammut of the Royal Australian navy during a change of command ceremony here. CTF-150 is one of three task forces operated by Combined Maritime Forces, a 25-nation coalition based in Bahrain.

The task force works to create a lawful and stable maritime environment free from terrorism, smuggling and other illegal activities across an area of two million square miles, covering the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Oman. "It is a privilege to be entrusted with Australia’s second command of CTF-150," Sammut said after the ceremony. "My team and I look forward to building on the outstanding achievements of Rear Admiral Abbasi and his staff, and working closely alongside our CMF partners and regional friends to promote security and stability throughout the surrounding maritime domain."

The task force's main mission is to deter, disrupt and defeat attempts by international terrorist organizations to use the maritime environment as a venue for an attack or as a means to transport personnel, weapons and other materials. This is done by conducting maritime security operations. CTF-150 vessels also assist mariners in distress and perform humanitarian assistance missions as required. CTF-150 is a multinational task force. Participatory nations have included: Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Republic of Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, and Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.

This is the second time that Australia has led CTF-150. Commodore Richard Menhinick of the Royal Australian navy commanded the task force . The change of command ceremony concluded the Pakistan navy’s fourth successful command of CTF-150. Abbasi said the task force has come a long way since it was established near the start of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The task force "is a coherent force that is able to respond effectively to the challenges it faces," Abbasi said. "Command of CTF-150 for the fourth time is a manifestation of the Pakistan navy’s continued commitment to support coalition efforts to maintain peace and lawful maritime order at sea," he continued. “We feel proud for having contributed wholeheartedly, and to the best of our abilities, to advance the cause of maritime security in the region that undoubtedly is vital for the economic prosperity and well being of the world at large."

During his six-month command tenure, Abbasi commanded a range of ships from CMF member nations, including Australia, France, Pakistan, United Kingdom and the United States. The admiral also visited a number of littoral countries including Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen and Jordon to strengthen relations with CTF-150.

Airbus Poised to Complete Qualification Flights with Australian Tankers

RAAF's KC-30A tanker aircraft

The last customer qualification flights involving the Royal Australian Air Force's new KC-30A tankers will be flown by early November, clearing the way for two of the modified Airbus A330s to be handed over before the end of the year.

"We are now doing a final few flights with the customer to clear the deliveries," says Gabriel Garcia Mesuro, Airbus Military's head of flight operations for the A330 multi-role tanker transport. Totalling around six sorties, the work will include final activities with the Boeing F-18 and Lockheed Martin F-16 fighters, night flights and work involving two KC-30As, he says.

The RAAF will in early December take delivery of the second and third aircraft from its five-unit KC-30A programme. The latter has been modified in Australia by Qantas Defence Services and is currently being painted in Paris as part of its final pre-delivery preparations, Mesuro says. Aircraft one should be transferred in the second quarter of next year, after its flight-test instrumentation has been removed at Getafe near Madrid.

Australia's fourth KC-30A is being converted by Qantas, with the company due to receive the programme's last aircraft for modification in early 2011.

Two more A330 tankers have already entered flight testing in Spain under the UK's Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft project. Mesuro says the first modified examples for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are on track to follow suit around early 2011.

Airbus Military secured military certification for its A330 MRTT design from Spain's INTA authority in early October.

Thai Starts Testing Chaiseri 4x4 Tactical Vehicle

First Win 4x4 (all photos : TAF)

First Win as Chaiseri 4x4 tactical vehicle was first introduced to the public on Defense & Security 2009 event.

Research and development funded by the company, now the vehicle began to undergo tests by the Thai army.

Tests conducted on actual terrain in Kanchanaburi.

Sabtu, Oktober 30, 2010

Malaysia Will Make Six Littoral Combat Ship in The Next 10 Years

The Malaysian Inshore Patrol Vessels or batch Littoral Combat Ship program

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian government announced that it will build the new six coastal patrol boats in the 2011-2015 period.

Malaysian Ministry of Defence in the House of Lords yesterday to answer questions raised by Tunku Abdul Aziz, said that the Ministry has been under the 10th Malaysia Plan to include the first two batches of coastal patrol ship construction program.

"Department of Defense plans to Po, the actual (Boustead) construction of a further six shipyards, the construction period will last until the 11th Malaysia Plan. The new ships will have a three-dimensional combat capability."

Department of Defense announced the consolidation of the Po, the actual shipyards continue to be a coastal patrol vessel contractor status. The first two batches of inshore patrol vessels, or now renamed the construction of Littoral Combat Ship program, Defense Department did not give any explanation, but said the new ship will have 3D capability.

Germany TKMS Malaysia next generation combat ship design called "MEKO 100 patrol frigate" (photo : KLSReview)

In addition, Germany and Turkey Shipbuilding in LIMA 2009 to present the Malaysian government during the first two batches of the new inshore patrol vessel program, the Littoral combat ship will use the technology in Germany or Turkey, but also to be explored.

In addition, the Defense Ministry said that according to the Government in 1995 and "cooperation Penang Shipbuilding - Naval Dockyard" (PSC-ND), or now known as Po, the actual Naval Shipyard (BNS), signed the memorandum, the authorities hope that the company commissioned the construction of 27 navy patrol vessels.

"The number 27 is considered the navy to patrol over to the Malaysian maritime enforcement agencies (MMEA) and the upcoming annual session in 2015, age 45 years, the fast attack submarine ship factors."

Ministry of Defence said today, the number 27 is still valid, but ultimately depends on the number of warships in the construction of the Government of Malaysia for each 5-year plan to develop the budget allocation.

Thai Offshore Patrol Vessel Takes Shape

Thai's new design OPV

Bangkok, Thailand: Construction of the first BAE Systems designed Offshore Patrol Vessel for the Royal Thai Navy is now well underway in Thailand, as demonstrated this week at a formal keel laying ceremony at Bangkok Dock, the Company’s local partner.

The occasion, attended by Thailand's Royal representative, HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and senior officials from the Royal Thai Navy, comes just 14 months after the initial contract was signed.

Under the agreement, BAE Systems supplied the design of its proven 90 metre Offshore Patrol Vessel, which Bangkok Dock has adapted to meet the specific requirements of the Royal Thai Navy, for example incorporating a similar combat system to that being fitted to other ships in its fleet. Engineers from BAE Systems are working alongside Bangkok Dock, throughout the construction of the vessel to transfer design knowledge, technology and skills that will contribute to the growth of a sustainable shipbuilding capability in Thailand.

Commenting on the programme, Alan Johnston, Managing Director of BAE Systems’ Surface Ships division, said: “At a time when we are seeking to boost exports, this approach to industry partnerships shows the strength that BAE Systems can bring to navies around the world as they look for cost-effective solutions to enhance the capability of their fleets to meet future requirements.”

Captain Chumpol Promprasit, managing director of Bangkok Dock, said: “To promote a domestic shipbuilding industry, the Royal Thai Navy assigned Bangkok Dock to undertake the provision of design and supply of ship build material using both domestic and international experts during construction of the Offshore Patrol Vessel.

“This is considered as promoting and improving the technical competency and potential of the Royal Thai Navy personnel in building ships for domestic purposes, based on the King’s self sustainability programme.

”The multi-mission Offshore Patrol Vessel will be used by the Royal Thai Navy to primarily be used for Economic Exclusion Zone roles, including routine patrols and border controls. It will also undertake fishery protection tasks as well as protection of natural resources in the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea and disaster relief.

The BAE Systems designed 90 metre Offshore Patrol Vessel being built by Bangkok Dock for the Royal Thai Navy is the same core platform design as the ships that BAE Systems is building in the UK for the Trinidad & Tobago Coast Guard. The platform is based on the design for the smaller River Class vessels used by the UK Royal Navy and is a highly capable vessel that is attractive to the export market.

As the company continues to expand its international maritime footprint, there are ongoing discussions with prospective customers and partners in a number of markets, including South America and India.

SGPV-LCS Will Be Larger Than Kedah Class

Second generation patrol vessels of Malaysia

Malaysia approaches Boustead for six new patrol

Boustead Naval Shipyard has received a letter of intent from Malaysia's Ministry of Defence to undertake the construction of six Second Generation Patrol Vessels (SGPV) with combatant capabilities.

The value and duration of the project are to be negotiated with the government, parent company Boustead Heavy Industries announced in a filing to the Malaysian Securities Exchange on 18 October.

The SGPV will be a larger and more heavily armed follow-on to the Kedah-class corvettes built for the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) under the Next Generation Patrol Vessel programme, although the final design and equipment fit has yet to be finalised.

The SGPV specification calls for a length overall of 99.5 m and displacement of 2,200 tons (full load) in comparison with Kedah-class figures of 91.1 m and 1,650 tons.

Several foreign shipbuilders have submitted proposals based on existing designs that would be modified to fit the Malaysian requirement. BAE Systems is offering a larger version of its 90 m offshore patrol vessel (OPV), Damen Schelde has proposed its SIGMA design, DCNS its Gowind family, Navantia the Caribe-class OPV it is building for Venezuela and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems its K130 corvette.

Several United States-based companies, including Raytheon, are competing for the SGPV's combat and weapon system. The new ship will have anti-surface, anti-air and anti-submarine warfare capabilities and Malaysia has indicated that the combat and weapon systems will be selected separately from the ship design.The government has also stated that all ships should be built by Boustead, although most of the companies that have submitted proposals have called for the first hull to be built in the home country followed by the remaining five in Malaysia. The matter is currently under review.

The SGPV programme is regarded as crucial by the RMN, particularly following the cancellation of a second batch of Lekiu-class frigates. This has led to concern within the RMN that it will lack combat-ship capability in any territorial dispute over the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.

However, the commitment to the SGPV is likely to mean that the Malaysian requirement for a multi-purpose support ship is to be deferred for the time being. RMN sources have stated that funding will only be provided for one ship procurement programme, with the SGPV getting priority despite the RMN's loss of a significant portion of its amphibious and transport capability with the destruction of the landing ship KD Sri Inderapura by fire in October 2009.The SGPV has been given priority owing to the fact that Boustead Naval Shipyard will have no further major shipbuilding work when the final Kedah-class corvette is completed this year.

Upgraded Hercules Return to Base

The flight deck of the newly upgraded Hercules

The Royal New Zealand Air Force today welcomed the return of the first of its C-130 Hercules aircraft to have undergone the Life Extension Programme (LEP).

During a short ceremony at Air Force Base Auckland, the aircraft was provisionally accepted by the Air Force from the Ministry of Defence, to commence Operational Testing and Evaluation (OT&E).

This enables the crews to develop and exploit the capabilities of the new systems leading to optimal use of the aircraft when tasked to support government requirements.

Air Component Commander, Air Commodore Steve Moore, who is responsible for the RNZAF’s operational taskings, said the upgraded Hercules is one of the most comprehensive C-130 upgrades ever carried out.

“The Air Force’s five C-130 Hercules are undergoing an upgrade that includes a new glass cockpit, upgraded navigational capability, an advanced communication suite, a centre wing refurbishment, a new self protection suite and replacement of 98 percent of its original wiring. The upgrades will enhance the ability to meet the varied and demanding tasks required of the aircraft.

“The Air Force is looking forward to commencing OT&E to optimise how our crews operate what is a significantly upgraded aircraft. Many elements of the upgrade will inherently improve reliability and availability of the C-130 Hercules fleet. It is an exciting time for the RNZAF with new and upgraded aircraft coming on board.

“No. 40 Squadron who operates the C-130s, will be able to utilise the aircraft in the many roles undertaken for the government and New Zealand, including tactical air transport, disaster relief and civil defence support, aeromedical transport and support to the New Zealand Antarctic programme,“ said Air Commodore Steve Moore.

Part of the upgraded Hercules package is the C-130 LEP Part Task Trainer (like a flight simulator) which electronically emulates the aircraft systems and thus represents a significant technological leap in terms of training for aircrew.

An upcoming Joint Exercise Between Seaborne Troops Takes Chinese and Thai Military Ties to Another Level

STRAIGHT AS A DYE: A Chinese-made C-801 guided missile is test-fired from the Thai warship ‘Sai Buri’, marking the end of a major naval defence exercise in the Gulf of Thailand.

Starting Tuesday and running to Nov 14, the Marine Corps of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) will conduct joint drills with their Thai counterparts in Sattahip.

Sino-Thai military ties have steadily improved in recent years, especially between the two armies and navies, and which will also see ties extended between the two air forces in the near future. This has been thanks to Thailand's hedging strategy of maintaining its traditionally close relationship with the US while increasing defence ties with China in support of Beijing's grand plan to secure safe passage at sea.

Dubbed "Blue Assault-2010", the joint training exercise in Chon Buri province will be the first time Chinese marines will have conducted drills with marines from another country, the Chinese National Defence Ministry said, according to a report by the official Xinhua news agency.

The joint drill will focus on anti-terrorism and help the two marine corps learn from each other,
enhance mutual understanding and build friendly exchanges and cooperation in a bid to improve the capabilities of both countries' seaborne troops in handling new challenges and threats together, the report said.

SHOW OF STRENGTH: A Chinese fleet is assembled off the eastern port city of Qingdao just weeks after tensions flared following a naval stand-off with the US in the South China Sea. (photo : Bangkok Post)

The exercise will be held just 11 days after the end of a 15-day counter-terrorism training exercise between Thai and Chinese Special Forces in Guilin in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.
The two armies have been holding annual joint Special Forces exercises since 2007.

Japan's Kyodo news service has also reported that 135 marines from each country will take part in the upcoming 20-day exercise that will include basic and comprehensive training scenarios on land, at sea and in the air.

The first naval exercise between China and Thailand took place in December 2005 in the Gulf of Thailand and was called "China-Thailand Friendship 2005". This exercise featured the People's Liberation Army Navy's guided-missile destroyer Shenzhen and supply ship Weishanhu as well as the Royal Thai Navy frigate Chao Praya.

This was the first exercise China had conducted with a Southeast Asian navy, though similar exercises were conducted with the Pakistani Navy in October 2003 and the Indian Navy in November 2003.

Ties between the two armed forces were widened during the Thaksin administration, thanks to General Chavalit Yongchaiyudh's established links with the Chinese leadership, and the integrated economic ties between the two nations.

Military cooperation between Thailand and China actually goes back a bit further to Vietnam's December 1978 invasion of Cambodia. Here Thailand became a supply route for Chinese-made military equipment to Khmer Rouge guerillas fighting the Vietnamese invaders. Clashes between Vietnamese troops and the Thai military as a result also saw Chinese pressure being put on Hanoi with cross-border shelling into Vietnam by the PLA.

Over the past few decades, China has also supplied Thailand with weaponry at knock-down, "friendship prices". In 1987, Thailand became the first Asean country to purchase arms from China and included 400 armoured personnel carriers (APCs), 50-60 tanks and anti-aircraft guns.

A couple of years later the Thailand ordered four Jianghu-class frigates (Bangpakorn, Chao Praya, Kraburi, and Sai buri) and two larger vessels of the same class (Naresuan and Taksin), which were delivered in the early 1990s and still form the bulk of the Royal Thai Navy's fleet.

The patrol boats Pattani and Narathiwat were also built by China.

However, Thai purchases of Chinese military equipment during the 1980s were as much for political reasons as military ones, according to Dr Ian Storey from the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in a 2008 article titled: China and Thailand: Enhancing Military-Security Ties in the 21st Century published in the Jamestown Foundation's China Brief. Throughout this period Thailand still looked to the US for its most technologically sophisticated weaponry, such as the F-16 fighter, he said.
The close military ties with the US prompted president George W. Bush to declare Thailand a Major Non-Nato ally in October 2003.
A large proportion of China's oil imports cross both waterways and Chinese naval vessels have recently been involved in anti-piracy patrols off the Somali coast, their most distant operational commitment to date, said Mr Davis.

China's growing focus on the South China Sea and Indian Ocean theatre has involved both naval cooperation with, and the building or upgrading of ports in friendly countries such as Cambodia, Burma, Bangladesh and Pakistan. China is also increasing its engagement at a range of levels with Sri Lanka, added the analyst.

"Sino-Thai military exchanges have been gathering pace over the past decade, so there is nothing radically new here. But the closer cooperation between the two navies will certainly be something that Thailand's traditional big-power ally, the US, will be monitoring closely along with other states in Asean and beyond," said Mr Davis.

India, he said, was particularly watching the extension of Chinese naval power into its Indian Ocean 'backyard' with close attention.

Khien Thiravit, Chulalongkorn University's professor emeritus on political science, said closer military ties between China and Thailand should be welcomed as Bangkok already has established relations with the US.

But Mr Khien, a China expert, said he would like to see, at the same time, warmer and more constructive collaboration between Thailand and her neighbours in the region: "If the military leaders of each country know each other well, this region and the world should be at least be more secure with sensible channel of communications. But this can only happen when the politicians also establish constructive and respectful dialogue with each other as well."

Holding joint military exercises are theoretically a sovereign issue of any nation, but Thailand should also exert some diplomatic finesse to secure the support and understanding of neighbours and allies when it holds them, he noted. In light of China's soft diplomacy, he also urged the Thai government to craft well-calculated policy platforms that can best fit the national interest.

Australia to Procure 17 SM-2 Block IIIB Standard

Concept of operation SM-2 block III

WASHINGTON, – The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress today of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Australia of 17 SM-2 Block IIIB STANDARD Warhead Compatible Telemetry missiles and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $46 million.

The Government of Australia has requested a possible sale of 17 SM-2 Block IIIB STANDARD Warhead Compatible Telemetry missiles, including AN/DKT-71 Telemeters and assembly kits, spare and repair parts, technical data and publications, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is $46 million.

Australia is one of our most important allies in the Western Pacific and contributes significantly to ensuring peace and economic stability in the region. Australia’s efforts in peacekeeping and humanitarian operations in Iraq and in Afghanistan have served U.S. national security interests. This proposed sale is consistent with those objectives and facilitates burden sharing with our allies.

The proposed sale of SM-2 Block IIIB STANDARD missiles will be used for anti-air warfare test firings during Combat Systems Ship Qualification Trials for the Royal Australian Navy’s three new Air Warfare Destroyers, currently under construction. Australia, which has already integrated the SM-2 Block IIIA, will have no difficulty absorbing these missiles into its armed forces.

The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The prime contractors will be Raytheon Missile Systems Company in Tucson, Arizona, The Raytheon Company in Camden, Arkansas. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

SM-2 block III specification (image : Raytheon)

Implementation of this proposed sale will not require the assignment of U.S. Government or contractor representatives to Australia.

There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.
This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.

Singapore To Blaze RoboTruck Trail

Light Combat Tactical Vehicle/LCTV

Singapore is expected to issue a request for proposals next year for new logistics vehicles — and, for the first time, wants the new trucks to be ready for adaptation to unmanned operation.

“It’s the first time we have seen that in an official bid document,” says Ron Ziebell, vice president for international programs at Oshkosh Defense.

Oshkosh is likely to pitch a version of the U.S. Army Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) truck, which it is building for the service under a five-year, 23,000-vehicle contract. (The first Oshkosh-built FMTVs are being tested at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., and full-rate production is due to be underway next summer.)

On show at the Association of the U.S. Army symposium in Washington is an FMTV equipped with the latest version of the company’s TerraMax autonomous guidance system. While the guidance system itself is still under development, the changes to the truck that allow it to be operated robotically are mature. They include steer-by-wire, with no mechanical connection between the steering wheel and the drivetrain (the steering wheel itself is back-driven) and full electronic control for the engine, brakes and transmission.

The unmanned control suite itself includes two spinning lidar sensors on the cabin roof, and forward-looking lidar and radar in the front bumper, together with GPS and a digitial terrain system. The lidar can compare the sensed terrain image with the terrain database to cross-check the vehicle's position.

Also new from Oshkosh is the all-black Light Combat Tactical Vehicle (LCTV) demonstrator, a fast, four-seater diesel-electric vehicle built to show off new technologies. It is a no-chassis design with automotive subframes attached to a unibody armored pod supplied by Plasan. Its 400-hp engine is linked to a 250-kw. generator that drives two rear-mounted electric propulsion motors.

Minor War Vessel Concentration Period

Members of 2nd Cavalry Regiment manoeuvre an Australian Light Armored Vehicle onto the tank deck of HMAS Betano whilst conducting a Naval Evacuation Operation Exercise during Minor War Vessels Concentration Period.

Armidale Class Patrol Boats enter Darwin Harbour in formation with Landing Craft Heavy on the completion of Minor War Vessels Concentration Period 2010.

The Minor War Vessel Concentration Period (MWVCP) sea phase has commenced in waters off Darwin, with five Royal Australian Navy ships practising general mariner, surface and amphibious warfare skills.

During the week-long activity, HMA Ships Glenelg, Pirie, Bundaberg, Balikpapan and Betano will work focus on collective competencies including boarding operations, tactical manoeuvring, and seamanship.

MWVCP is part of ongoing efforts to improve ADF capability to protect Australia and its interests, and enhance interoperability within the ADF and with the many agencies involved in the border protection task. It is a carefully planned activity and will be conducted within strict environmental, safety and risk management constrai.

Future USS San Diego Launched

The future USS San Diego (LPD 22) was launched May 7 from Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding's Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss.

The launch of the 684-foot ship into the Gulf of Mexico marks an important milestone in the ship's construction process.

"As the sixth ship of the class, this launch is a considerable achievement in the program." said Jay Stefany, LPD 17 program manager for the Navy's Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. "The ship was more than 75 percent complete prior to launch, more complete than any other ship of the class at this point in construction. We continue to work with the shipbuilders to identify production improvements and a consistent build plan that will lead to lower costs and predictable schedules. San Diego is the first ship of the LPD 17 class that started construction after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, and is testament to the spirit of the Northrop Grumman workers as they and the shipyard continue their return to normalcy."

The ship's keel was laid May 23, 2007. Named for the city of San Diego and her future homeport, the ship's next major milestone will be christening, scheduled for June. The future USS San Diego is expected to deliver to the Navy in 2011.

The principal mission of LPD 17 class amphibious transport dock ships is to transport and deploy the necessary combat and support elements of Marine Expeditionary Units and Brigades. The ship will carry approximately 720 troops and have the capability of transporting and debarking air cushion (LCAC) or conventional landing craft and Expeditionary Fighting Vehicles (EFV), augmented by helicopters or vertical take off and landing aircraft (MV 22). These ships will support amphibious assault, special operations and expeditionary warfare missions through the first half of the 21st century.

As one of the Defense Department's largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all major surface combatants, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, and special warfare craft. Currently, the majority of shipbuilding programs managed by PEO Ships are benefiting from serial production efficiencies, which are critical to delivering ships on cost and schedule.

Sabtu, Oktober 23, 2010

Indian Air Force Stations Su-30 Fighters at Gwalior Air Base

The Indian Air Force has moved Sukhoi Su-30 fighters to an airbase in Gwalior and the fighter jets will operate in tandem with the French Mirages-2000 fighters already stationed there. The three Sukhoi fighters arrived at the Maharajpura Air Station yesterday in the presence of GOC-in-C of Central Air Command, G F Kochar, officials said today.

Later, the aircrafts, along with Mirage and Mig 21, took part in a flypast at which Kochar took the salute. Meanwhile, a new airstrip has been built at the airbase to enable arrival and departure of combat aircrafts, the officials said.

The Sukhoi Su-30MKI [3] (NATO reporting name: Flanker-H) is a variant of the Sukhoi Su-30 jointly-developed by Russia's Sukhoi Corporation and India's Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force (IAF). It is a heavy class, long-range air superiority fighter which can also act as a multirole, strike fighter aircraft.

HMS Ocean Conducts Mid Atlantic Dash

When you are on a ship in the middle of the Atlantic and something goes wrong, there is no one around to help - or so the crew of the Italian registered 'Grand Guinea' thought when one of their crew members was struck down with an acute case of suspected appendicitis on Friday night. Fortunately, HMS Ocean, the Royal Navy's largest warship, was on hand to assist.

Although nearly 600 miles away, conducting maritime security operations in the Gulf of Guinea, Captain Keith Blount, HMS Ocean's Commanding Officer, turned the 20,700 tonne helicopter carrier around and proceeded towards the vessel at maximum speed. By the following morning HMS Ocean was close enough to launch one of her Lynx helicopters and the Ship's Medical Officer was winched onboard the Grand Guinea to assess the patient and provide immediate medical care. It was immediately clear that the patient needed urgent hospital treatment, so the decision was made to transfer him to HMS Ocean, where he could be stabilised in the Ship's medical centre, before being transferred to a hospital in Cape Verde later that day, once the ship was within range.

Lieutenant Pascal Patterson, the Lynx helicopter pilot, said:

"This kind of medical rescue is something we train for regularly and with such good weather conditions it was a straight forward procedure to winch him onboard the aircraft. He was obviously in quite a lot of discomfort when we arrived, so I am glad we were able to get the medical officer to him when we did".

HMS Ocean is currently conducting maritime security operations in the Gulf of Guinea, in close partnership with Cape Verdean and Portuguese legal authorities. Due to return to the UK at the end of October, this is the final phase of an extremely successful 5 month deployment that has seen the Ship travel over 16,000 miles, visiting 4 continents and conducting a wide range of roles, including Amphibious War-fighting Exercises, Maritime Security Operations, Defence Diplomacy and Capacity Building.

U.S. Preps $2B in Gear For Pakistan

ISLAMABAD - At last week's U.S-Pakistan strategic dialogue, officials discussed American military aid, counterinsurgency strategy and flood relief for Pakistan. It was, however, the mention of a $2 billion security assistance package that caught analysts' attention.

The package would be spread over five years, and includes "helicopters, weapons systems and equipment to intercept communications, Pakistan Army officials said, confirming initial reports by the APP and CNN.

Army spokesman Brig. Azmat Ali said negotiations were underway for "transport and attack" helicopters, but declined to provide further details. He said the package was "still in the stages of finalization. It will take some time."

U.S. defense officials at the embassy here declined to comment.

South Asia analyst Brian Cloughley said the only thing he was sure of "is that the assistance package will have conditions attached - although these may well be kept under the counter, and not publicized."

The Pakistani army has long been short of utility helicopters and gunships. The need for attack helicopters is particularly keen, but Pakistan's attempts to get additional ones from the U.S. have not succeeded. Past efforts to obtain AH-64 Apaches have been rebuffed.

Defense officials at the U.S. embassy have discounted the possibility of acquiring AH-1Z Vipers to replace Pakistan's well-worn AH-1F Cobras until the initial order for the U.S. Marine Corps is fulfilled in 2015. The U.S. State Department's "Pakistan Assistance Strategy Report," published last December, raised the possibility of some Vipers being diverted to Pakistan.

Ali confirmed a recent order for 30 Bell 412 utility helicopters. The deal is in addition to and separate from the security package currently under negotiation.

Some doubt that the Bell 412 is suitable for Pakistani operations, which often take place at high altitudes and in warm climates.

Cloughley noted the Canadian military's problems in Afghanistan with its Canadian-built variant, the CH-146 Griffon, and the political debate over its suitability. But he concluded that the Bell 412 was a "good enough aircraft, but it has its limitations, especially in hot and dry" environments, and said, "On balance, the PA [Pakistan Army] could do worse."

The Army has made no public criticism of the Bell 412.

The military's need to disrupt communications was first publicly recognized in the initial campaigns against the Taliban in the Swat valley, where the inability to block the Taliban's FM radio propaganda broadcasts hindered operations.

That such equipment may be included in the U.S. aid package came as a surprise, however.

"It is my understanding that there is already a quantity of U.S.-supplied electronic equipment in service, especially in the field of [improvised explosive device] detection and neutralization," Cloughley said. "Intercept technology has also been provided, and I had thought that jammers were already in use."

The announcement of the package comes during a difficult time in U.S.-Pakistani relations, in the wake of a NATO crossborder incursion that resulted in the deaths of three Pakistani soldiers.

Washington wants to equip the Pakistan Army to eradicate Taliban hideouts in North Waziristan. However, the Army is still involved in flood relief operations, something the dialogue also addressed.

To clear the Taliban out of North Waziristan, the Pakistan Army would need from the U.S. "surplus/retired artillery guns and also smart artillery munitions," plus night-vision goggles "for infantry and helicopter pilots," said Usman Shabbir of the Pakistan Military Consortium think tank.

The Bell 412, which has night-vision technology, has been used extensively by units such as the Special Operations Task Force (SOTF) during nocturnal operations. The SOTF was raised with American help to hunt for al-Qaida and Taliban elements along the Afghan-Pakistan border.

German Naval Ships Equipped with Cassidian Identification Systems

Cassidian, the renamed defence and security pillar of EADS, has completed equipping German Navy ships with identification systems to avoid confrontations with unknown aircraft.

The latest identification friend or foe (IFF) technology has been fitted on all 12 frigates, five K130 Braunschweig Class corvettes and ten S143 fast patrol boats.

The MSSR 2000 I type systems use encryption technology in line with the mode S identification process for quick recognition of the approaching aircraft to prevent erroneous attacks.

IFF systems, also known as secondary radars, gather precise data about the origin, course and speed of individual aircraft by transmitting interrogation signals that are answered by transponders on board friendly aircraft.

Cassidian has delivered IFF systems to various Nato countries for sea and ground-based applications and has contracts for about 250 systems for 29 different countries.

Minggu, September 19, 2010


The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) have recently completed a full evaluation of the multi-purpose rifle system (MPRS) developed by Israel Military Industries (IMI). Possible international customers are starting to visit Israel to test this new product at a growing pace.

"This system will completely change the way infantry soldiers engage targets and hit them" an IDF sources said. IMI has used the same technology found in fire control systems of advanced tanks like the Merkava MK4 to develop a sensor that makes any assault rifle a very diversified weapon system.

The basic limit of existing technology has been known for years - the standard M-203 rifle grenade launcher is not accurate and forces the soldier to carry a great number of grenades of different types to be able to address a variety of operational scenarios.

"We decided to change this and to transfer the assault rifle to a system that can launch one grenade that will be able to handle any combat situation and with very high accuracy" said Moshe Elert IMI's chief of staff.

The MPRS is a personal fire control system that first measures the range to the target before completing a variety of other calculations. The correct red dot aiming point is displayed on the system's eye piece in the right elevation necessary for an accurate shot, and then automatically sets the time delay fuse in the grenade to activate it just before impact at a preset altitude over the target. The fuse of the advanced 40 mm grenade can also be set to explode at a preset delay after an impact, for example to enable penetration of a relatively soft target such as a window.

Moshe Elert said that IMI is already planning an upgrade of the current version: "by adding a small transmitter the range of the target will be transmitted to other soldiers or commanders and become part of the network centric approach the IDF is adopting" Defence Review Asia was given the opportunity to test the MPRS at an IMI range. An inert grenade was put through a window target some 100 meters from the shooter without any problem.

The IDF is showing "very high" interest in the system for two main reasons - the low accuracy of the current M-203 and the need to carry a variety of grenades have made the launcher a burden rather than an asset. The recent wars fought by the IDF in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip highlight the need for a capability able to hit hidden targets that are sometimes in a building or "around the corner". This must be done with minimum collateral damage: "All this under heavy combat pressure that effects the solder's ability to use the simple rifle sights to aim and hit " an IDF source pointed out.

The air burst ammunition is designed for assault rifles such as the IDF’s Tavor, as well as other similar weapons.

The IMI Air Burst Ammunition can be used in rifle grenades, a 40mm grenade for M203/AG-36 and other grenade launchers, as well as in non-lethal weapon systems.

As a result of test firing the system DRA concluded that it is very user friendly . A soldier selects the mode of action – air burst, time delay, point of detonation – based on the type of target, measures the range, feeds the data into the armament, aims precisely at the target and shoots.

The MPRS replaces existing sights. A controller on the clip allows the user to operate the system without having to interrupt the weapon’s operation. A communications unit handles the interface between the sight and the armament, allowing operational data to be transmitted. The recoil absorption mechanism is designed in order to support high-momentum firing to increase maximum range.

The system determines the delay time of the grenade and tests made by the IDF proved that the interval is very accurate and achieves the optimum result.
DRA were shown videos of recent tests and they confirm very precise detonation.

The MPRS adds 750 grams to the weight of the assault rifle but according to Elert it replaces the currently used "red dot" sight so that the real weight addition is "much smaller and we work to make it even smaller". The MPRS is very rugged and according to IMI passed all kinds of "torture tests" that simulated the harshest operating conditions.

IMI is aware that many armies have large numbers of the basic rifle launched grenades, and offer them to use the MPRS with the old rounds to achieve greater accuracy. "The accuracy is dramatically improved " Elert said.

Like many other ammunition types made by IMI, the air burst grenades are equipped with self destruction fuses that are aimed at eliminating the possible collateral damage caused by duds.

Any army that will use the IMI MPRS will determine the number of systems in a combat squad, but the basic number is two per squad "this is the basic configuration that will allow accurate grenade launching under all combat conditions " and IDF source said.

The IDF will purchase the MPRS depending on the current budget constraints and it will be integrated with other systems that have been developed in recent years in Israel for use by combat infantry. This is based on the understanding that in recent times the combat individual did not always receive the technology to allow him perform his missions effectively. "Recent wars and the everyday operations of the IDF have proven above any doubt that the infantry soldier is still one of the most crucial elements in winning a war. To allow him do his role we have to equip him with the right tools and the MPRS is no question one of them " the IDF source said.

While the local market is important, IMI hopes to sell the MPRS to foreign armies and officers from several interested countries are currently testing it either in the company's ranges or in their own ranges around the world. "The close working relations between IMI and the IDF enable us to develop the best combat tools for the infantry soldier" says Avi Felder president of IMI.