Minggu, Februari 28, 2010

Apaches take less aggressive role in Iraq

CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE DELATA, Iraq -As the role of U.S. forces turns from a kinetic, action-oriented posture to a supporting role for the Iraqi Army and Police, unit missions must also adapt to the changes.

For the 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 130th Aviation Regiment, from Morrisville, N.C., this means turning their advanced capabilities from shooting to observing.

The AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter, a staple of the 1st ARB, is now turning its advanced cameras and maneuverability to providing another view from the air for U.S. and Iraqi ground forces.

Though still able to engage targets, pilots are finding their missions becoming less visible, said 1st Lt. Chris Miller, commander, Company C, 1st ARB.

"As we're withdrawing from Iraq and putting more responsibility on the security forces of Iraq, the Apaches are performing less of an attack role and more of a recon role," said Miller. "Again, we're the attack recon battalion, but as of now most of our missions are recon."

Miller, a native of Caysville, Utah, said that the Apache pilots communicate with Iraqi forces through the U.S. forces on the ground. With the upcoming elections, this communication becomes even more necessary to keeping track of potential threats and security issues.

"As the elections come closer, obviously security is going to become more and more important," Miller said. "Violence will be increasing, so the Apaches will be in the air more, covering larger areas for longer periods of time."

With the reduction of the U.S. combat role in Iraq, Miller said that the advice he would give any unit that comes after him is to be flexible.

"Every day we got two-to-three mission sets where we're called to fly," he said. "And almost every day we're called off to do something else. If an IED detonates, we could be called to support in that area. If a FOB [Forward Operating Base] gets attacked, we'll fly there to look at the sites. Flexibility is the most important thing we can use in mission planning."

Bulava test launch from Yury Dolgoruky in June

Russia’s troubled new submarine-launched ballistic missile Bulava will be test launched from the newly constructed nuclear submarine “Yury Dolgoruky” this summer, a source in the Russian Defense Ministry says.

Test launches will be conducted from two submarines – the modified Typhoon class submarine “Dmitry Donskoy”, from which all previous missile tests have been launched, and the new Borey class fourth generation strategic submarine “Yury Dolgoruky”, a high ranking source in the Defense Ministry told RIA Novosti.
The same was earlier claimed by a source in the Russian Navy General Headquarters, as BarentsObserver reported.

This will be the first time a missile is being fired from “Yury Dolgoruky”. The submarine was being tested in Russian Arctic waters last autumn, and testing will probably continue in spring.

The test launch will be conducted this summer, most probably in June, when the White Sea is free from ice, RIA Novosti’s source said.

So far, seven out of 13 test launches of the Bulava missile have failed. The test program was interrupted in December, after yet another failed launch of the missile. This time, the people in large areas of Northern Norway became witnesses to the missile exploding in the sky.

Selex to develop AESA technology demonstrator for UK Typhoons

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has entered into a GBP19 million (USD30 million) agreement with Selex Galileo to develop an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar to be flown aboard a Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft.

Announced by the company on 17 February, the technology demonstrator programme (TDP) includes the "development and build of a first of type, multi-function, wide-field-of-regard AESA radar providing increased capability and performance when compared to conventional AESA fire control radar systems".

Although Selex Galileo said that the AESA TDP is earmarked for "future UK platforms", the Royal Air Force (RAF) has shown considerable interest in recent years in acquiring the technology for its Typhoon force.

Edinburgh-based Selex Sensors and Airborne Systems UK is already developing an AESA radar for the Saab JAS 39 Gripen NG and this is the main reason why the UK government has thrown its backing behind that aircraft's bid to secure the Brazilian F-X2 fighter replacement competition.

With regard to the Vixen 1000E/ES05 Raven AESA radar being developed for the Gripen, Air Marshal Nigel Maddox of the RAF said in November 2009 that "any programme that de-risks the UK [Typhoon AESA] radar has to be fantastic.

"It's win-win," he added.

A key-element of the Vixen 1000E/ES05 Raven AESA, which distinguishes it from most other European- and US-developed AESA systems, is its electrically driven swashplate. This allows it to cover a total scan angle of ±100 degrees compared to 60-70 degrees for most current systems, allowing the aircraft to perform a large turn away from the target after launching a missile while maintaining missile support.

India to Receive Nerpa Submarine in May 2010

India would receive its first new generation Nerpa Akula-II class nuclear attack submarine by March this year on a 10-year lease with the vessel being inducted into the Russian Navy prior to its transfer.

The Nerpa submarine was today formally inducted into the Russian Navy with the raising of St Andrews Flag, shipyard officials said.

The commissioning of the submarine coincided with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's visit to the region, but it was not clear whether he was present at the ceremony. The submarine will be subsequently leased to the Indian Navy under the name INS Chakra in March under the USD 650 million for a 10-year lease.

The 12,000-ton K-152 Nerpa, an Akula II class nuclear-powered attack submarine belongs to the class of the quietest and deadliest of all Russian nuclear-powered attack submarines.

Sabtu, Februari 27, 2010

Canberra Plans A$45m Upgrade for C-130Js

Australia has approved an A$45 million ($40 million) upgrade to its air force's fleet of 12 Lockheed Martin C-130J military transports.

"The Block 7.0 Upgrade will enable Australia's fleet of C-130J to meet new global air traffic management requirements and continue to operate in global airspace," says defence minister John Faulkner.

"These will address system obsolescence, maintain coalition compatibility and enable these aircraft to comply with global air traffic standards."

The work will be part of the C-130J Joint User Group Global Project Arrangement, a multi-national programme that enables several operators to upgrade them together. This includes the USA, the UK, Canada and Italy.

The Royal Australian Air Force uses its C-130Js on missions such as air logistics support, aero-medical evacuation, search and survivor assistance, troop transport and airdrop operations. Three aircraft are based in the Middle East, and the fleet is often called upon for operations on short notice in South-East Asia and the Pacific region.

Kockums Receives Overall Design Order for Next-Generation Submarine

Kockums AB, part of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, has signed a contract with FMV (the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration), concerning overall of the design phase of the next-generation submarine.

This confirms the intention to develop Sweden’s submarine capability. Kockums is prime contractor for the order.

The Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces has emphasized the importance of acquiring the next-generation submarine on a number of different occasions.

The next-generation submarine features several advances in the development of underwater technology and marks the adaptation of submarines to meet current and future threats and to conduct the international mission now required. This refers particularly to the submarine’s role as an information gatherer.
Next-generation also refers to further refinements in terms of stealth technology. The submarine will be able to see and hear everything over a wide area, while itself remaining undetected. It will be designed to be efficient in the Baltic and other littoral waters.

“This is an important first step, not only for Kockums, but for the Swedish Armed Forces as a whole. We shall now be able to maintain our position at the cutting edge of submarine technology, which is vital in the light of current threat scenarios. HMS Gotland demonstrated what she is capable of during two years of joint exercises in the water off the USA. This next-generation submarine marks a further refinement of technology,” states CEO Ola Alfredsson, commenting the news.

Navy Frigate Back In Action With Two New Engines

Auckland - The 13-year-old navy frigate HMNZS Te Kaha is back in action after a major refit which saw it get two new diesel engines.

The ship has been out of action since July last year as part of a planned maintenance and mid-life engine upgrade.

It was put back in commission earlier this month but would leave for its next deployment to South East Asia in April without its Phalanx weapons system -- a last line of defence against missiles.

The 20mm rapid-fire machine gun was sent to America for an upgrade which would give the ship protection against fast inshore attack boats and helicopters and was not due back in time to be fitted before Te Kaha left for South East Asia. The Phalanx upgrade for Te Kaha and its sister ship, HMNZS Te Mana was expected to cost up to $25 million.

Lieutenant Commander Chris Fleck, the officer in charge of the engine upgrade, said Te Kaha would be on a diplomatic and training mission in South East Asia and was not on operational duties.

Te Mana was due to begin its engine refit next month and would be out of action until October.

The new engines were part of a package which would cost about $57m for both ships. It also included internal enhancements so the ship could better cope with additional weight from new gear added over the years, an upgrade of the control and monitoring systems and an upgrade of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

The control and monitoring systems upgrade, and the heating, ventilation and air conditioning upgrades were likely to start next year or the year after.

Lt Cdr Fleck said the new engines would be more economic but would not allow the ships to go faster than their top speed of 27 knots.

The old engines could push each ship to 18 knots before a gas turbine kicked in for high-speed running.

Lt Cdr Fleck said the new engines would go to 21.5 knots before gas turbines took over, making the ships more economic to operate.

The new engines were also "environmentally compliant", he said.

Te Kaha was expected to be in commission at least until 2025 and Te Mana would last until 2028.

Jumat, Februari 26, 2010

Russia to build nuclear submarine

Russian navy to start construction of the strategic submarine Borey-class Project 955 or 2010 years. Project 955 is the fourth generation of nuclear power submarines intended to replace the Navy's submarine Russian Delta IV class submarines and Typhoon-class ballistic.

Borey-class submarines that carry 20 ballistic missiles and carrying 10 nuclear warheads and has a range of more than 8000 km with 160 m long and 13.5 m wide, Borey submarine has 130 personnel and the speed of 28 knots when submerged.

Kamis, Februari 25, 2010

HMS Monmouth Strengthens Ties With Kuwait

The Plymouth based T23 Frigate, HMS Monmouth, visited Kuwait in the North Arabian Gulf for two days with the primary purpose of supporting the Kuwait Joint Command Staff College with their ‘Staff College Sea Days’.

The Kuwait Joint Command Staff College is a centre of excellence in the region with students from all three services mostly of the rank Major/Lieutenant Colonel and above. Its syllabus is modeled on its British equivalent, JSCSC Shrivenham, and teaches British style doctrine. It is supported by the tri-service British Military Mission, working directly under the Chief of Staff, Kuwaiti Armed Forces and is headed by a British Colonel with 15 staff. Approximately a third of the College’s students are from outside Kuwait, on this occasion it included students from Bangladesh, Canada, China, Egypt, India, Lebanon, Jordan, Mauritania, Pakistan, South Korea, Syria, UK and USA.

The ‘Staff College Sea Days’ was an excellent opportunity for the British warship to offer an interesting, first-hand insight into the maritime environment on a modern, sophisticated frigate. With the majority of the students having never experienced a warship before, due to their Air Force or Army background, the visit was key to providing them with the essential understanding of maritime operations.

A full programme was delivered over each day with the highlights being a live boarding demonstration by the ship’s Boarding Team and an air defence exercise supported by two Kuwaiti Air Force F18’s. Two Kuwaiti Puma helicopters also conducted a winching exercise to the frigate and ‘Blackbird’, Monmouth’s Merlin helicopter, conducted a full role demonstration. There were many other stances around the ship including a damage control demonstration, a live gunnery serial and a look around the main machinery spaces.

More than 90 Staff College students embarked Monmouth, more fondly known as ‘The Black Duke’ over the two day period, one of them commented on his experience:

“I have thoroughly enjoyed the hospitality that Monmouth extended to us today. Coming from an Army background I have never been on a warship before and after this experience I have a better understanding of how the Navy operates and the capabilities it can offer.”

Keen to demonstrate one of the many roles and functions of a modern Royal Navy frigate, Leading Physical Training Instructor Howard Peplow acted the role of a non-compliant dhow captain during the boarding exercise. He said:

“It has been hard work but a great opportunity to demonstrate the wide variety of training we conduct within the Royal Navy; we are a fully trained, operational warship and what we hoped to give the Staff College was realism and excitement delivered with the ‘Black Duke’s’ passion for success.”

The embarked Royal Marines spent a highly successful 48 hours training with the Kuwaiti Coast Guard. They conducted integration training with simulating boarding operations. The Kuwaitis also extended the use of their firing ranges to the RN Ratings in order to maintain their marksmanship skills.

The ship’s job is vital in contributing to the fight against international terrorism and helping to develop regional stability; supporting the event was fundamental in demonstrating the UK’s continued commitment to the region and reaffirming the excellent working relationship between the two countries.

Commander Tony Long Royal Navy, Commanding Officer, summed up by saying:

“This was a highly valuable 48 hours where the Royal Navy extended a warm welcome to key nations and introduced them to the flexibility of maritime power, its relevance to the joint environment and the support that Air and Land units can expect from a high readiness frigate such as HMS Monmouth.”

Within hours of dropping off her guests ‘The Black Duke’ was on patrol with the Combined Task Force (Iraqi Maritime) in its role of protecting the offshore Iraqi oil platforms. HMS Monmouth hands over responsibility to HMS St Albans in March and will return to the UK after spending more than six months deployed.

Ethiopia sends five Helicopters to Darfur peacekeepers

The Ethiopian government today said that a tactical aviation unit comprising of five helicopters has headed to Sudan’s Darfur region to join the badly-needing African Union and UN peacekeeping operation in Darfur (UNAMID).

Speaking at the departure ceremony, Ethiopian air force chief, Major General Mola Hailemariam said that Ethiopia has continued to proof herself the commitment it has to peace.

He said the move is an indication of the country’s military competence and commitment to take part in regional and international peace keeping missions.

An official ceremony to receive the five MI-35 tactical helicopters is expected to be held this week in Nyala-South Darfur where these choppers will be based. A high level delegation from Ethiopia is expected to attend the event.

The helicopters arrived in Nyala, South Darfur, with 15 pilots and crew members onboard. They will join a 185 member advance team, including pilots, technicians and protection force, which arrived last month, the hybrid mission said today.

The UNAMID force still needs 18 transport choppers to move the supplies and equipment necessary to carry out its mandate.

While conferring with the Ethiopian foreign affairs minister earlier this month, the new head of UNAMID Ibrahim Gambari Lauded Ethiopia’s efforts for Sudan peace and its continued contributions to support the AU/UN peace force.

He then called on Ethiopia to further strengthen its support to UNAMID joint coordination and support mechanism in Addis Ababa

Ethiopia has so far contributed nearly two battalions of peacekeeping forces which he said, was significant.

Ethiopia’s contribution of the Helicopters is said to boost the capabilities of the hybrid peace force by easing mobility problems and other difficulties the peace keeping activity is facing due to the large size of Darfur, equivalent to the size of France.

The Ethiopian troops deployed in Darfur consist of an infantry battalion and engineering unit, as well as a multi role, reconnaissance and transport companies.

The Ethiopian troops provide transport service, conduct security patrols within area of responsibility to enhance security and encourage confidence with the local population, conduct escorts for humanitarian convoys and accomplish other peace keeping related operations.

U.S. Army Surges CROWS Weapons Stations to Afghanistan

The CROWS systems mount what is essentially a small turret on top of Army combat vehicles that provides soldiers the ability to employ their machine guns while using a control grip and video monitor from inside the protection of an armored vehicle. In response, PEO Soldier's PM Soldier Weapons office is ramping up its stateside logistics support and is in the process of establishing three new support sites in Afghanistan to manage the fielding, soldier training, and sustainment of the XM153 Common Remotely Operated Weapons Station (CROWS) systems.

"We are embedding the new CROWS support sites with units that are farther afield," said Lt. Col. Michael Ascura, Product Manager Crew-Served Weapons. "Our new sites will put the support closer to the units that need it and reduce system down time. We fielded one new site this month, and will bring two more online by April in Afghanistan."

The complexity of the fielding is magnified by the sheer number of vehicles and vehicle variants that are now employing CROWS; including MRAPS, HMMWVs, RG31A1 route clearing vehicle, the Buffalo EOD vehicle, the new MATVs, and others. Each of these vehicles require customized vehicle integration kits to bring the units online.

Maj. Michael Pottratz, Assistant Product Manager for Crew-Served Weapons, manages the logistical support of the entire system. To accomplish his mission, Maj. Pottratz has devised a "building in a box" concept that enables the Field Service Representatives (FSR) that staff the support sites to independently set up sites in a matter of days. All they need is a piece of real estate and some fuel.

"We wanted to put together a custom kit for our Field Service Reps that enables them to get operational as soon as possible," said Maj. Pottratz. "All the components necessary to establish the support site come in a single container: tools, equipment, computers, classroom space and materials, generators, air conditioners, even a Gator ATV. Our FSRs can provide CROWS support within 48 hours after offloading."

Once operational, FSRs begin comprehensive, hands-on training sessions with soldiers. Lt. Col. Ascura recommends that every member of a unit receives training on the system, not just operators. CROWS training provides leaders with critical knowledge on how best to employ CROWS to support a diverse set of missions. With its day and night cameras, CROWS provides target identification and surveillance capabilities that are well beyond what small unit leaders have had previously.

"Soldiers learn how they can turn 'area weapons,' such as the M2 machine gun, into precision engagement weapons," said Lt. Col. Ascura. "Beyond the guns, leaders begin to think about how to integrate the system capabilities into their tactics. In the past, soldiers had to perform the same functions with the naked eye from an exposed position in the turret. Thanks to CROWS, those days are coming to an end."

Rabu, Februari 24, 2010

Saudi Arabia Buys MBDA Missiles

Saudi Arabia has signed a deal to acquire the Storm Shadow cruise missile from European weapons builder MBDA as part of a Tornado strike aircraft update package, said industry sources here.

The weapons package also includes the Brimstone anti-armor missile, they said.

French-based weapons firm MBDA, in which BAE is a major shareholder, has always refused to discuss negotiations even though a Saudi aircraft being modified at BAE's Warton aerospace complex in the U.K. was photographed taking off on a test flight carrying a Storm Shadow.

News of the contract signing emerged as a result of an entry in BAE Systems' preliminary results for 2009.

The document said that "significant incremental orders totalling £1.2 billion ($1.9 billion) were received in the period for the Tornado Sustainment Programme weapons contract, naval minehunter mid-life update and a multi-year naval training program."

MBDA seemed unaware the deal had been made public. A spokesman declined to confirm any details, saying it was "up to the Ministry of Defence or the customer to comment."

BAE revealed last year that it was upgrading three Saudi minehunters originally supplied by the VT Group in the mid-1990s.

The British-based company employs around 4,900 people in Saudi Arabia supporting the Tornado, Hawk trainer and other programs.

Last year, the company delivered the first eight of 72 Typhoons purchased by the Saudis and agreed on a package to support the aircraft.

The first deliveries of the Tactica armored security vehicle for the Saudi National Guard commenced in 2009 and a support package has been secured by the company.

BAE chief executive Ian King said that future Saudi orders might include more Tactica orders, upgrades to Bradley armored vehicles, and the purchase of mine-protected vehicles.

The company admitted, though, that it was having problems with a command-and-control, communications, computers and intelligence program it signed in 2006 with the Saudis.

The C4I program remains "challenging and discussions continue with the aim of agreeing the definition of a solution that meets customer requirements" said the results document.

RAAF Will Soon Have its First Super Hornets

The first three of an eventual 24 F/A-18F Super Hornets destined for service with the Royal Australian Air Force were handed over to the Australian Defence Materiel Organisation by the US Defence Materiel Organisation at Naval Air Station Lemoore in California, USA.

The three Super Hornets, A44-202, 203 and 204, were checked over by personnel from 1 Squadron based at RAAF Amberley in Queensland.

Raytheon Australia has been awarded a Training Support Services Contract to support Super Hornet training at Amberley. “The signing of the contract is worth approximately $21.5 million over three years, and secures about 25 jobs at RAAF Amberley for that period,” said Greg Combet, Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel and Science. Raytheon Australia will provide maintenance, logistics, and training services to support the Super Hornet flight simulators, visual environment maintenance trainers and electronic classrooms.

The first Australian Super Hornets will arrive at Amberley in late March with the rest following through to 2011 and will replace the ageing F-111, which will be retired in December.

Selasa, Februari 23, 2010

New Canadian Naval Helicopter To Begin Trials

A new Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclone helicopter for the Canadian Navy has arrived at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Shearwater in Nova Scotia to begin test trials.

CFB Shearwater media relations officer Captain Paul Finnemore said that a stripped-down test model arrived in Nova Scotia from the company's facility in Florida, according to Canadian Press.

The helicopter will undergo several weeks of testing in a cold and hostile marine environment, carried out by an assessment team.

During the trials, the test model will carry a couple of dummy torpedoes to simulate actual flight conditions to more accurately evaluate the performance.

The Canadian Government is spending $5bn on 28 Cyclone helicopters, the first of which is scheduled to be delivered by June 2012.

The Cyclone helicopters will replace the navy's aging fleet of Sea King helicopters, which will continue to be flown until their arrival.

Afghanistan Risks “Domino Effect” After Dutch Pullout

As the campaign in Helmand faces tough opposition from outnumbered and outgunned Taliban, NATO is facing a new threat – this time an internal one. The alliance is fearing a domino effect could follow the Dutch planned pullout from Uruzgan, following the resignation of the Dutch government, announced by Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende. About 2,000 Dutch military personnel stationed in Uruzgan are expected to withdraw from Afghanistan by August, if the decision is not reversed.

While the Uruzgan province, located north of Helmand is generally quiet, the alliance fear a domino effect could evolve of the Dutch decision, drawing other countries where public opinion is turning against the Afghan campaign to pull back as well. Of particular concern is Canada, which suffered the biggest proportional casualty rate in the conflict, and is committed to withdrawing its 2,800 troops by the end of 2011. Australia, which has more than 1,000 Australian troops deployed, sofar refused to take over the lead role in Uruzgan. The decision comes at a time when NATO is demanded to share the burden of increased operations in the country, sending 10,000 additional troops to support 30,000 troops sent by the U.S.

Another blow to NATO's war effort happened today in Uruzgan, after 27 Afghan civilians were killed in a NATO air strike on a convoy. NATO officials said the attack was directed at a suspected insurgent convoy. Following the attack the troops realized there were wemen and children among the dead. The convoy was suspected to contained Taliban insurgents on their way to support military activities in the area. Uruzgan is located north of Helmand, where the battle rages between Taliban and NATO forces, around the village of Marjah.

Senin, Februari 22, 2010

The Second and Third Gripen of the Thai Air Force First Flight

Two-seat version of the Gripen aircraft and two single-seat version of the first aircraft to fly. The image is noticed integrated electronic warfare system, EWS-39 is looking at installing a two-seat model number 70102 with the following manufacturers have not installed EWS-39 at a time when the numbers 1 to flight first time.

The Cabinet also approved 800 million baht budget to provide two Gripen lot to provide integrated electronic warfare system looking EWS-39 installed on the 12 Gripen aircraft.

Australian Forces to Receive Improved Firepower with Saab's Carl Gustaf Anti-armour Weapon

“Defence has contracted SAAB Bofors Dynamics for the supply of the M3 84mm Carl Gustaf anti-armour support weapon,” Mr Combet said.

“These new weapons provide an increased direct fire support capability and will be employed by the Infantry, Special Forces and RAAF Airfield Defence Guards.

“Soldiers will appreciate the weight savings afforded by the M3 Carl Gustaf anti-armour weapon.

“The value of the contract with SAAB Bofors Dynamics is approximately $10.5m which includes the supply of weapons, spares and documentation to support the system,” Mr Combet said.

In addition, Mr Combet announced the contract with BAE Systems Australia to supply the enhanced sighting system for the newly acquired M3 84mm Carl Gustaf anti-armour weapon.

“The value of the contract with BAE Systems Australia is approximately $16m which includes the supply of sighting systems, spares, documentation and three years of support for the system,” Mr Combet said.

“The enhanced sighting system includes thermal technology which provides the ADF with an increased direct-fire support capability when used with the M3 84mm Carl Gustaf anti-armour weapon.

“Furthermore, the new sight will also now permit engagements during day, night and adverse conditions,” Mr Combet said.

Israel's Third UAV Squadron to Operate 'Strategic UAV'

Israel's Air Force (IAF) has formally accepted today the Eitan (Heron TP) unmanned aircraft – the largest UAV built in Israel, and the second largest operational UAV in the world. 210 Squadron operating from Tel Nof Air Force base was established specifically for this unique new aircraft. While Eitan is a new aircraft, considered to be among the world's most ophisticated unmanned aircraft, it is answering an operational specification, defined by the IAF over 15 years ago.

"The launching of this airplane is another, substantial landmark in the development of unmanned aerial vehicles. From the humble beginning of their development, with initial operational results during the first Lebanon war, the substantial and professional apparatus now accompanies almost any air force operational frame-work" said Major General Ido Nehushtan, Commander in Chief of the Israel Air Force said during the inauguration ceremony.

The IAF cooperated closely with the industry team in developing the aircraft, headed by IAI as the system development and prime ontractor. The aircraft made its maiden flight in June 2006, three years after the official program 'kickoff'.

The aircraft adds significantly to the operational capabilities of the IAF, primarily in long endurance, long-range missions, offering new capabilities in carrying heavy payloads, on higher and longer missions than most contemporary UAVs. The IAF never confirmed the combat use of weapon-carrying UAVs, although such missions using U.S. weapons are performed by U.S. forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen. One of the UAVs built by the Israelis for the U.S. Army – the Hunter, has already been configured to use weapons and is believed to have been operating on combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"The aircraft is designed around an 'open architecture', enabling operators efficiently to introduce new systems and payloads without requiring major changes on the platform." An IAI official told Defense Update, "the airframe combines several payloads located throughout the aircraft, in the fuselage and under the wings, and in a removable 'gondola'-shaped fairing, located under the belly and around the center of gravity (CG), enabling rapid reconfiguration of aircraft for specific missions. Eitan can fly without the Gondola, on 'pure ISR' missions, or perform multifarious missions with multiple payloads, as the mission requires. A distinctive payload is the high power electro-optical system, mounted ahead of the nose landing gear, offering unobstructed hemispherical view for the telescopic thermal camera. This highly stabilized payload, unique to the IAF, offers unprecedented long-range and high altitude performance, sofar provided only by fixed wing aircraft."

Unlike multi-mission jet fighters, designed to perform in a wide operational envelope, Eitan was designed to excel in a specific domain – relatively low speed, medium to high altitude, and long endurance. The aerodynamic design selected for the aircraft has matched these attributes – twin tail with large horizontal stabilizer, the large, unswept wing's airfoil and profile, are optimized for cruising at high altitude. The wide fuselage, contributing to body lift, is further adding to extending endurance in cruising speed.

According to IAF personnel, the large payload capacity of Eitan enabled the IAF to equip the aircraft with sophisticated defensive systems, similar to modern combat aircraft. Some of the systems are visible in different locations around the aircraft. The aircraft has built-in features supporting safe operation in controlled airspace, including several video cameras, on the wing and tail, providing wide field of view for 'see and avoid' flight.

Other sensors like the Interrogator Friend and Foe (IFF) already introduced in the basic platform, provide part of the functionality required for 'sense and avoid' capability. Both sensors are considered mandatory for future flight certification in civil-controlled airspace, currently being formulated by civil aviation authorities in the U.S., Europe and Israel. Furthermore, the payload reserves available in the aircraft also provide for installation of TCAS systems, if required.

Minggu, Februari 21, 2010

Israel Turns to Germany for Naval Stealth Ships

Israel is interested in acquiring two corvette size ships to extend its naval operational capabilities. After analyzing the U.S. Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), Israel decided these vessels would be too costly. While each LCS would have cost $480, Israel was prepared to spend up to $300 per ship, which roughly corresponds with what the Malaysian Navy spent on a similar design (MEKO A-100 Kedah class). Yet, an obstacle that could hinder the potential sale is the recent acquisition of Blohm + Voss Shipyards - the shipbuilder of the MEKO Class vessels - by the Abu Dhabi MAR Group of the United Arab Emirates.

and delivered israel already deploys three medium size Saar V Eilat class corvettes, slated for an upgrade by 2011. The modernization will include the introduction of a new phased-array radar system and the replacement of current point defense missile systems with the Barak 8 extended air defense system. Fielding such new networked air defense capability will provide the Israeli surface fleet independence of air-cover for the first time, enabling the Israeli vessels to deploy further away from their shores.

Originally the Israel Navy turned to the Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) in Germany for proposals. Construction or the assembly of the vessels by Israel Shipyards in Haifa has also been considered. The possible subcontracting of work to U.S. manufacturers, by benefiting from Foreign Military Sales funding has also been evaluated.

Israel is said to be interested in a 'stretched' version of the MEKO A-100 corvette, a ship with a displacement of 2,200 tons. However, for such a vessel to become superior to the current Eilat class, the Israelis should opt for the latest, advanced stealth version of the MEKO CSL, which has already been designed for such specifications. The CSL will better adapt for the Israeli requirements for versatility, deck space and sensor placements.

A major obstacle for the potential deal is the recent acquisition of Blohm + Voss Shipyards - the shipbuilder of the MEKO vessels - by the Abu Dhabi MAR Group of the United Arab Emirates. MAR and TKMS announced the agreement to establish a joint venture 'Blohm + Voss Naval', for the design and manufacturing of naval surface ships - frigates, corvettes and offshore patrol vessels. Israel could find such move difficult to digest, accepting 'Blohm + Voss Naval' as a strategic supplier. Considering this obstacle, and well aware of the potential opportunities, TKMS and Israel should have worked out a solution to satisfy both the Germans and Israelis. A previous attempt to merge procurement of German vessels with Israel Navy acquisitions or the transfer of existing German Navy vessels to Israel have not materialize.

Being a loyal supplier of naval equipment for many years, Germany is considered a safe choice for Israel. Germany already provided two Dolphin class submarines to Israel at no cost and waived part of the cost for the remaining three. The reason for the generous German gesture is the understanding that claims for increased compensation for remaining survivors of the holocaust will be deferred.

Germany already delivered three submarines while two are still under construction. These new subs utilize Air Independent propulsion (AIP) systems enabling the Dolphins to remain submerged for several weeks. Israel's submarines are believed to be equipped with underwater-launched cruise missiles, capable of striking land targets at long range. With such capability, Israel possesses a potential 'second strike' capability that could establish a viable deterrence against unconventional missile attacks from adversaries such as Iran. Extended endurance provided by the AIP could improve the survivability of such strategic missile submarines, enabling them to maintain combat patrols in the region of the Arabian Sea, maintaining strategic Iranian targets at risk.

India speeds up $11 bln fighter jets purchase

India will narrow down the number of bidders by mid-2010 for its $11 billion fighter jet tender, a minister said, in a closely watched deal where diplomacy and strategic interests will play a big role.

Lockheed Martin's F-16 is competing with Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet, France's Dassault Rafale, Russia's MiG-35, Sweden's Saab (SAABb.ST) JAS-39 Gripen and the Eurofighter Typhoon, produced by a consortium of European companies.

The acquisition of 126 air and ground attack fighters will elevate India's air force to a super-power status, with deployments planned near the western and northeast borders to tackle any threats from Pakistan or China, officials say.

India fears China could be trying to strategically encircle it as they jostle for resources and global influence, while Pakistan has the U.S. F-16 fighters in its fleet, forcing New Delhi to buy planes that can shoot at targets 30 miles away.

"The trials should conclude by the middle of this year," Pallam Raju, India's junior defence minister, told Reuters on the sidelines of an arms fair in New Delhi this week.

"Once the trials are concluded, then we will be looking into the financial bids. We are speeding up things."

While Lockheed's F-16 has completed trials which began last August, the other five, including the MiG-35 from Russia, India's traditional supplier of weapons, and Sweden's Gripen, are in the midst of field trials. The phased trials will end by April.

Interest into the lucrative deal picked up worldwide after India's ambassador to Italy told reporters in Rome last month that the Eurofighter Typhoon, conceived and built by Germany, Spain, Italy and Britain, was leading in the race.

This week, Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony took some flying lessons at the New Delhi fair in a cockpit simulator of the Eurofighter, which defence officials privately acknowledge is a frontrunner to win the contract.

New Delhi is also keen to diversify its weapons acquisition from European countries, said Brahma Chellaney, a professor on strategic studies at the Centre for Policy Research.

"By engaging in this campaign, India would ensure virtually a partnership, a strategic partnership on the political level with the rest of Europe," Matthias Schmidlin, campaign director of the Typhoon, told Reuters.


Security experts say New Delhi's growing ties with Washington, seen as a counterweight against China, might tilt the scale towards the two U.S. companies in the fray.

India and the United States signed a landmark civilian nuclear deal in 2008 and another pact in July last year, facilitating the entry of U.S. companies like Lockheed and Boeing into India's lucrative defence market.

"Over the last few years, the U.S.- India relationship in the defence sector has strengthened significantly and we are very optimistic regarding the future of this relation," said Vivek Lall, head (India) of Boeing defence.

Indian Air Force officials were also seen getting into cockpit simulators of the F/A-18 Super Hornet and Lockheed's F-16 -- two stalls located near each other at the arms fair.

"But we are not together on this one (trials). It is a keenly fought contest," a Lockheed official said, underlining the fierce contest by defence companies lined up at India's door for a share of the $100 billion defence market pie.

Some experts say the U.S. government's refusal to transfer full technology to India could turn out to be a roadblock when it comes to choosing the fighter India wants.

Russia's MiG-35, and France's Rafale are also keenly watched by experts, and are equally strong contenders, officials say.

"The decison will be based on multiple matrices. First it must match user requirements and then it will go to the political arena," said Uday Bhaskar, director of the National Maritime Foundation, a New Delhi-based defence think tank.