Minggu, Juni 13, 2010

Multi-national Auriga task group on deployment

Whilst practicing Officer of the Watch Manoeuvres in support of the joint inter-operability exercise: Auriga, off the Eastern sea board of the United States of America, the Auriga Task Group, commanded by Commodore Simon Ancona, Commander UK Strike Group, came together with other naval assets from the US and Peru operating in the area for these spectacular photographs.

Taken by Leading Airman (Photographer) Gregg Macready (41) from Liverpool, aboard a Lynx Mark 3 maritime attack helicopter of 212 Flight from 815 Naval Air Squadron based in Yeovilton, these stunning photographs show the Mission Essential Unit, the Royal Navy’s Flagship and UK’s Strike Carrier: HMS Ark Royal, surrounded by her escorts, each of which with its unique role to protect her.

Leading Airman Macready said: “It’s Great to be able to capture these images of the Task Group. We were very fortunate with the weather & sea state, all of which add to being able to capture an impressive show of force”

Ark Royal’s main weapon system is the six Ground Reconnaissance harrier GR9 jets from 1(F) Squadron, Joint Force Harrier. In addition the rotary wing elements of the embarked air group: Merlin Helicopters from 814 NAS, Sea Kings from 849 and 857 NAS and the versatile Lynx helicopters from 815 NAS which, between them, provide her with early warning from above and below the surface, including over the horizon, alongside decisive force..

Her close in weapon systems provide effective defence from fast attack craft but it is the other Units in the Task Group which provide the potency to shield HMS Ark Royal and her support ship: RFA Fort George, from direct attack – eliminating threats from aircraft, ships, torpedoes and submarines.

Usually lurking way beneath the surface remaining unseen and unheard, providing all round sub-surface defence of the Task Group is the Peruvian submarine: BAP Amgamos, who surfaced especially for the photographs.

Providing Air Defence of the Task Group is the Type-42 Destroyer: HMS Liverpool. Hunting for potential threats beneath the waves is the Royal Navy’s most potent Type-23 Anti-Submarine Warfare frigate: HMS Sutherland, with her embarked Merlin helicopter. Providing continuous support to all elements of the Task Group is the RFA Fort George commanded by Capt Dale Worthington RFA.

Other Units featured in the photographs are: the Arleigh-Burke destroyer – USS Barry, a fully paid up member of the Auriga Task Group currently under Cdre Ancona’s operational control; US Ships Leroy Grumann, Mahan, Robert G Bradley and Carr.

As the architect of the photograph, Cdre Ancona’s Chief of Staff, Commander Simon Ward, said: “Events such as this Photex provide a clear visual representation of the kind of combat power available to the Strike Group Commander in coalition operations. The ability to seamlessly integrate and operate with our main coalition ally is one of the key aims of the Auriga deployment and exercises such as the one we have just completed will pave the way for Commander UK Carrier Strike Group to exercise his role as the Coalition Expeditionary Strike Force Commander during a major exercise with US and UK forces in July”.

First F-35B Aircraft Joins US Navy Fleet

The US Navy has received its first mission-systems-equipped Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II test jet at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.

A short take-off / vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft, the BF-4 is the fourth F-35B to arrive and begin testing at the naval air station.

Lockheed Martin F-35 programme integration executive vice-president Tom Burbage said the mission systems aircraft featured advanced aerodynamic capabilities and flying qualities, along with the most capable transcendent avionics capability.

Other features of the STOVL aircraft include a next-generation sensor suit capable of collecting vast amounts of information that can be presented on state-of-the-art cockpit and helmet displays.

With the sensor suite, the pilot can make faster and more effective tactical decisions and transfer information to other aircraft as well as maritime and ground forces.

Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 in cooperation with Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems.

The US Navy is expected to induct a fifth F-35B with the first navy carrier variant in 2011 at Patuxent River.

Jerusalem Blocking Multi-Million Russia Drone Deal

IAI's Heron, the medium range UAV (photo : Militaryphotos)

Move could scupper plans for joint $200 million UAV factory in Russia

The brakes have been put on talks between Israel Aerospace Industries and Russia over sales and the joint production of unmanned aerial vehicles, according to Israeli defense sources who wish to remain anonymous. They say the parties are negotiating to build a plant in Russia for the pilotless aircraft to the tune of $300 million to $400 million, as well as the outright sale of IAI-built drones to Russia.

Recent news reports have said that IAI and Russia are planning a $200 million UAV factory and that the Israeli company plans to sell Russia an unspecified number of UAVs in the wake of its sale about a year ago of three such aircraft to Moscow for around $50 million.

The sources attribute the current backpedaling to hesitation about the deal in the Foreign Ministry and the Prime Ministry's Office, which have yet to give their approval. Washington has also requested clarifications about the deal, which is considered particularly sensitive.

The sensitive part concerns the transfer of technology to Russia, which despite its attempts has failed to crack the secret of building silent UAVs. While no one is talking about giving the Russians the plans for the most advanced pilotless aircraft in the arsenal of the Israel Defense Forces, a deal would represent a technological advance for the Russians. Neither Jerusalem nor Washington wants the technology to end up in the hands of Israel's enemies.

In the background, raising tensions, are reports of talks between Moscow and Tehran over the potential sale of Russian missiles to Iran. On the other hand, the West has an interest in heightening its strategic ties with Russia in the event of a regional confrontation in the future.

Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Moscow research institute the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, was quoted last week in Western news reports as saying that Russia stands to buy $12 billion worth of arms from European and Israeli firms, including IAI.

Sabtu, Juni 12, 2010

Review of force protection measures

The approved force protection Budget measures will minimise the vulnerability of personnel, facilities and equipment

Soon after ASPI's Mark Thomson released his Budget review, Defence Minister Senator John Faulkner released a statement about how the Force Protection mesures in the budget are structured and funded.

The Chief of Joint Operations (CJOPS), Lieutenant General Mark Evans, conducted a review of force protection measures available for Australian deployed troops instigated by the Defence Minister Senator John Faulkner last year after his visit to troops in Afghanistan.

It included direct discussions with ADF troops in theatre about their force protection needs and an assessment of the effectiveness of previous and ongoing force protection initiatives.

CJOPS' report was reviewed by the Chief of the Defence Force who tasked the Vice Chief of the Defence Force, Lieutenant General David Hurley, to design a decision-making framework for Government consideration.

The outcome of this work put forward 48 recommendations for enhancements to force protection measures, particularly reflecting the escalating improvised explosive device (IED) and rocket attacks in Oruzgan Province.

The force protection improvements recommended from the review cover a variety of active and passive measures, which range from personal protective equipment for soldiers, to unmanned surveillance systems (RPDE's ‘FOB Eye' task comes to mind).

A key initiative in the package is the acquisition of a C-RAM system for use in Afghanistan, which provides advance warning of rocket attacks.

The approved force protection Budget measures, costing a total of $1.1 billion, will minimise the vulnerability of personnel, facilities and equipment so that Australian deployed forces enjoy more freedom of action in support of Afghan National Security Forces.

In addition to the $1.1 billion in the specific force protection Budget measure, Defence has also received $485 million for force protection through Operation Slipper supplementation which traditionally funds ongoing aspects of operations including force protection.

Further ongoing operating costs for force protection initiatives of $48 million will be sought in the context of future budgets.

Indian Air Force MiG 29 Fighters Upgradation to be Completed by 2013

Russia will complete the upgradation of Indian Air Force's 60 MiG-29 fighters by 2013 which will extend their service life by another 15 years. "The implementation of the contract signed between India and Russia started last year, and it will be fulfilled in 2013," a defense source was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.

Under the contract signed last year, Russia's RAC MiG aircraft corporation will upgrade over 60 MiG-29 fighters, in service with the IAF since the 1980s and service life of the aircraft will be extended from 25 to 40 years. The contract also stipulates the construction of MiG consignment depots and service centers in India to resolve the problem of timely supply of spares and after sale services, as well as flight simulators for pilot training.

The upgrade MiG-29s will be fitted with advanced avionics, new multi-functional Zhuk-ME radars, a new weapon control system, as well as modernized RD-33 engines. According to defense official quoted by the agency, first four Indian MiG-29 fighters are being modernized and flight-tested in Russia and the remaining aircraft will be overhauled in India with the Russian technical assistance.

NATO Touts Progress in Afghan War Effort

BRUSSELS - NATO leaders declared that the alliance had regained the initiative in the Afghan war, promising that the gains could result in a handover of security responsibilities in some parts of the country to local authorities by year's end.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates urged his alliance counterparts to seize the moment and to provide the resources needed to accelerate efforts to bolster Afghan security forces. NATO wants Afghan troops to replace its forces in the war against the Taliban, thus providing the linchpin of the alliance's exit strategy.

"Our effort is moving in right direction (but) the road ahead will be long and hard," Gates said after a meeting of NATO's 28 defense ministers. "I hope that by the end of year, we will be able to demonstrate that we are making progress throughout the country."

Gates urged countries who are not committing combat troops to Afghanistan to contribute more instructors to train the expanding Afghan police and army. More trainers would step up "the pace that we can proceed with transition," he said.

NATO officials say they have been stymied because it is difficult to find qualified people to train foreign forces.

Earlier Friday, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told ministers that the Afghan government and international authorities would soon agree on how to start handing over responsibility for security, "province by province."

His optimism comes despite troubles with the military campaign.

Rabu, Juni 09, 2010

NATO Helicopter Shot Down in Afghanistan

A medevac helicopter lifts off from Camp Nathan Smith in Kandahar city, carrying an unidentified NATO soldier

Militants in Afghanistan have shot down a helicopter, killing four NATO troops.

NATO officials said the incident took place Wednesday in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province. The Taliban said they downed the helicopter with rocket-propelled grenades.

In a separate incident, NATO said a service member was killed by a roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan.

NATO has now lost 18 troops in a series of attacks since Monday. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Wednesday the coalition of nations with forces in Afghanistan needs to see progress by the end of this year.

Gates, in London for meetings with his British counterpart, said the top U.S. military commander is confident American forces will make enough progress to justify a continued presence in Afghanistan. He also said the U.S. could start giving the Afghan government increased control in areas where security has improved.

Taliban militants have increased their attacks as NATO prepares an effort to drive the group from its stronghold in southern Kandahar province.

NATO said Tuesday a bomb killed two of its soldiers in southern Afghanistan. Elsewhere in the region, a British soldier was killed in a gunbattle with insurgents in the Nad-e Ali district of Helmand province.

On Monday, seven Americans, one French and two Australian soldiers were killed in attacks in the south and east of the country. It was the deadliest day so far this year for international forces in Afghanistan.

Amphibious Task Group Heads For The USA

HMS Albion embarks 3 Commando brigade Royal Marines prior to sailing

The Royal Navy’s amphibious flagship, HMS Albion sails today, leading the UK’s amphibious Task Group for exercises with the United States Marine Corps and navy off the East coast of the USA. The AURIGA deployment, as it is known, includes a Carrier Strike Group led by the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal. However, the focus of attention for Commander Amphibious Task Group and Stonehouse based staff from 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines will be a series of exercises in the challenging terrain of Camp Lejeune in North Virginia. The amphibious Task Group began the year with Exercise COLD RESPONSE in Norway and the hot and humid climate of the swamplands of the eastern USA will provide training in a very different environment.

The amphibious Task Group will arrive in late June and will be joined by an impressive force of US warships including the USS Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group and 26 Marine Expeditionary Unit – over 8000 US Navy personnel and marines. The US and UK force will conduct familiarisation training before tackling a scenario loosely based on tackling an aggressor nation threatening regional stability in a fictional part of the globe but centred on the excellent training facilities offered in Camp Lejeune.

Plymouth based HMS Albion, HMS Ocean and RFA Largs Bay sail on 9th and 10th June with men from Bickleigh based 42 Cdo RM as well as elements of 29 Cdo RA, Stonehouse based 30 IX Cdo RM and personnel and helicopters from Commando Helicopter Force.

The short deployment will last until mid August when most of the ships will return to the UK.

Exercise AURIGA is part of a series of training exercises that will build on the UK’s ability to conduct small scale focused Intervention operations anywhere in the world, delivering amphibious forces supported by air power from the Joint Harrier force.

Commodore Paul Bennett, Commander Amphibious Task Group said:

“I am delighted to be leading some of the UK’s most capable warships in this important exercise where we will refresh our working practices with US amphibious forces”.

Sukhoi fighters to fly in India-France exercise

India is sending its frontline Sukhoi fighter jets to France for a joint air exercise to be held in the European country next week.

Besides six Su-30MKI fighter jets, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is sending three Ilushin-78 flight re-fueller aircraft and one Ilushin-76 heavy lift transport plane for the exercise Garuda that will be held at the Istres air base in France June 14-25, an IAF spokesperson here said.

This is the first time Su-30MKI fighter jets of the IAF would participate in an exercise in France, he said.

The IAF contingent of 230 air warriors was flagged Monday off for the event by Central Air Command Senior Air and Staff Officer Air Marshal S. Varthaman from air base here.

The French and Indian air forces will be joined by the Singapore Air Force with its American-origin Block 52 F-16s for the Garuda series of exercises that were started in 2003 aimed at enhancing military ties between the two countries.

The French Air Force will field for the exercise its Mirage 2000 and Rafael fighters - a contender for the IAF's 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft tenders worth $11 billion.

'A joint exercise of this nature enhances mutual operational understanding. It also refines the procedural aspects and provides for tremendous learning experience for all the participating air forces. It also enables the operators to understand each other's capability,' the spokesperson said.

Group Captain J. Mishra is the team leader under whose supervision the IAF contingent would perform in France and Group Captain N.N. Sinha would be the exercise director, who would be planning, coordinating and executing different aspects of the flying and ground manoeuvres during the exercise.

Senin, Juni 07, 2010

Pentagon Recertifies JSF, Cost Increases

Pentagon acquisition czar Ashton Carter recertified the embattled Lockheed Martin Joint Strike Fighter program to move forward after a major cost increase, but defense officials are now saying the total acquisition price of the multinational, triservice aircraft has increased by yet another $54.2 billion.

Carter sent his Nunn-McCurdy recertification letter to Congress on June 1. This recertification was widely expected, as Pentagon officials since last fall have been working to restructure the single-engine, stealthy fighter program through a series of rigorous reviews in anticipation of the cost breach. But the recertification documentation includes more detail about the extent of problems leading up to the most recent cost spike.

Since December, Pentagon officials anticipated the per-unit cost including the price of development to be $112 million; it is now expected to be $155.6 million. The number most closely associated with flyaway pricing was estimated at $92.4 million only a few months ago; it is now at $133 million. Earlier this year, development was extended from Fiscal 2012 to Fiscal 2016 in an effort to reduce schedule risk and concurrency between testing and production.

The increased price is a result of new estimates for developing a verification simulation capability, tooling needed for production and military construction requirements for introducing the aircraft into service, according to Carter’s documentation.

The Air Force and Navy will be required to “take necessary actions to fund the program” and the additional overrun and the money will likely start to shift in the Fiscal 2012 budget request, due to Congress in February 2011, according to Carter’s documents.

Cultural issues during the program’s history also contributed to a climate that allowed cost to grow unchecked. A section of the document labeled “root cause analysis and assessment” acknowledges “flawed programmatic and technological assumptions at program inception and a series of execution actions which hindered the overall government/contractor management’s ability to address these problems as they were encountered.” Carter also points out that there was a “general intolerance for failing to meet externally driven schedule goals” and a “general reluctance to accept unfavorable information” in the program.

Delays in reaching developmental milestones account for 26% of the cost increase. Another 23% is from correcting airframe weight estimates that were low, incorrect escalation rates and an incorrect use of a cost model in the earlier acquisition strategy. Five percentage points account for the extension of production.

Carter certifies that the management structure is adequate to manage cost, but he includes a list of actions required to improve oversight of the program. The government is providing expertise to JSF prime contractor Lockheed to improve the company’s compliance with the Defense Department’s Earned Value Management System (EVMS), which is a method used to allow the department to audit and track progress on major elements of the program. The corporation has been deemed “non compliant” with EVMS standards. The situation is “disappointing and unacceptable,” Carter says.

A corrective action plan is being implemented, and Carter directs completion by June 30. Furthermore, he directs that a compliance review be successfully completed by the second quarter of Fiscal 2011, which ends next March.

Carter has established a review process to rectify differing risk-management approaches by Lockheed and government managers. Also, an Independent Manufacturing Review Team will reassess the program’s risk-management planning and global supply chain in the fall (the IMRT’s first set of recommendations were already included in the restructuring).

The JSF program executive officer is crafting a plan to address 42 “areas of concern” in the flight test plan. Those areas are not identified in the documentation.

Armed Forces to Get 3 Support Ships Worth RM 2.2bil (USD 650mio)

Galicia class (Spain)/Rotterdam class (Netherland) is offered to Malaysia for RM 800mio (photos : naval technology)

SINGAPORE: The Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) will be acquiring three Multi-Role Support Ships (MRSS) worth RM2.2bil to provide faster humanitarian and disaster relief.

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the MRSS would be a floating support system that would carry food, medical supplies, clothing supplies and utilities to areas affected by disasters.

“The vessel would also have a helicopter pad which would enable flexibility in the deployment of disaster relief supplies to affected areas.

“This way, we will be able to approach disaster stricken areas by berthing the vessel at a port or flying relief supplies to the areas from a nearby anchorage position,” he said.

He was speaking to pressmen after delivering a speech to delegates during the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Asia Security Summit held at the Shangri-La hotel here.

Ahmad Zahid also added that, currently, five ship builders have been accepted from several countries in Europe and Asia for the building of one of the three MRSS.

“The first MRSS will be built in a foreign country while the other two will be built locally,” he said.

He added that several Malaysian experts would also be sent to the chosen country to acquire the knowledge on the construction of the ships.

“These experts will then return to Malaysia and start the building of the remaining two ships there,” he said.

He also commented that the MAF would be conducting humanitarian and disaster relief training focused on civilian protection.

“The training sessions would either be conducted at the MAF peacekeeping training centre or we may set up a dedicated centre specialising in such training,” he said.

Minggu, Juni 06, 2010

MP, Expert Back RI-S. Korea Jet Fighter Project

KFX 101 version (photo : chosun)

Planned cooperation between Indonesia and South Korea to start a joint project on jet fighter production received strong support from a lawmaker and researcher here on Friday but they warned that it will need to undergo feasibility studies.

“The joint cooperation is good for Indonesia because it will help us revitalize our defense industry.

However it is strongly recommended both countries conduct thorough feasibility study,” Kemal Azis Stamboel, lawmaker from the House of Representatives Commission I overseeing defense and intelligence told The Jakarta Post on Friday.

Kemal added that among points to be looked into in the study would be an assessment of possible future conflict between the two countries.

“This policy applies for all potential partner countries because of course we don’t want to be caught out if it occurs,” he added.

Initiated during a visit to Indonesia by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak last year, both countries are now gearing up to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the fighter production, which will be called “KFX project”.
According to secretary-general of the Defense Ministry Deputy Marshal Eris Haryanto, the MoU is likely to be signed at the end of this year. After the signing, a joint team comprising experts from both countries will be formed.

This team would be tasked with building five prototypes of the aircraft before 2020. After achieving the break even point target of 200 units, the aircraft will be ready for mass production.

Military expert from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences Jaleswari Pramodhawardani said the project offers Indonesia a rare chance to develop its defense industry.

“There is always a risk in everything but in my opinion we should take this risk,” she said.

However, she said the project would cost a huge part of the budget, meaning the Indonesian Military may have to work hard to convince lawmakers to grant funding.

Under the MoU, Indonesia will shoulder 20 percent of the initial budget of US$8 billion, which Kemal described as “reasonable”.

The joint project is widely seen as a pilot project for Indonesian military in revitalizing defense industry. The Indonesian military is now perfecting an draft paper on boosting the country’s defense industry.

Philippine Army Looking For 155mm Howitzer

Philippine Army with 105mm howitzer (photo : sulekha)

DND Shopping Around for Heavy Weapons, Trucks

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of National Defense (DND) is in the market for heavy guns as well as military trucks for the Philippine Army (PA) in line with its ongoing efforts to modernize the military.

While there was no mention of the exact amount allotted for the procurement, Defense Undersecretary Antonio Romero said they are looking forward to the purchase of 155mm howitzers for the Army.

At present, the Army is heavily dependent on 105mm howitzers, which only have a maximum range of less than 12 kilometers (air distance), for its counterterrorism, counterinsurgency and anti-lawlessness campaign, especially in Mindanao.

The 155 mm howitzers, which have a range of 15 kilometers (air distance), will boost the Army’s reach into enemy lines, considering that most areas of conflict in the country are confined to rugged terrain.

Also being programmed for acquisition by the defense department are M35 military transport trucks to facilitate the mobility of Army troops on the ground.

But Romero admitted that in so far as the Army’s armor needs is concerned, it is unlikely that the department will program the purchase of heavy tanks since this fighting vehicle is designed to do combat in deserts and plains.

“Also, the country’s road networks and bridges have been designed for light and medium military tanks. If we purchase 60-ton heavy tanks our roads and bridges will be damaged because they are designed for 20-ton vehicles,” Romero said.

The defense department has already sealed a P2.8-billion deal with Poland for the acquisition of eight brand-new combat utility helicopters for the Philippine Air Force (PAF).

Delivery of the four units is expected to happen within a year.

Palace: No AFP midnight deal

MalacaƱang yesterday gave its full backing to the deal with Poland, saying it was a long overdue step towards the modernization of the Armed Forces.Deputy presidential spokesman Rogelio Peyuan said the deal was “definitely above board” and there is no sufficient reason for it to be blocked.Aside from the eight brand-new helicopters, the DND is also looking at Canada or
France for the acquisition of fighter jets, which the Air Force also needs.

“For now only Canada has a funding scheme for us if we are going to purchase fighter jets from them,” Romero said.

The Philippine Navy is also procuring two MVRs (multi-role vessels), at P5 billion each.

“We fully back the position of the Secretary of National Defense. His office is open to those who have concerns (regarding the acquisition). The documents are available for the proper scrutiny of anyone who’s interested to find out the transparency of the purchase of these choppers,” Peyuan told reporters.“It (deal) is not an overnight idea. We’ve been hearing this modernization thing of the Armed Forces and the entire defense system even during the time of President Fidel Ramos,” he said.Peyuan urged Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to support the acquisition once he assumes the presidency on June 30.He said defense officials involved in the deal would be able to justify the purchase.“(The government) has already started attending to the modernization efforts of the AFP. So, I would think that the entire defense organization and the AFP will be presenting the same position to the incoming leadership in due time,” Peyuan said. – Paolo Romero

Pakistan Begins Domestic Fighter Avionics Production

JF-17 Cockpit diagram (photo : ggpht)

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan said it has commenced domestic production of avionics for the Sino-Pak JF-17 Thunder combat aircraft.

The announcement came May 28 at a ceremony attended by Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman at the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) in Kamra, just outside Islamabad.

To date, the majority of avionics produced in Pakistan have been manufactured under license from foreign companies, most notably Selex Galileo radars for the Air Force's Mirage III and F-7P Fishbed fighters. However, this looks set to change.

During the May 28 ceremony, the PAC's chairman, Air Marshal Farhat Hussain Khan, outlined the JF-17 avionics, in which he stated, "four indigenously designed and developed avionics systems were also being produced," and that the "production scope would be progressively broadened to include the production of a complete JF-17 avionics suite at the complex."

Officials at PAC could not provide any details on the announcement, and Air Force officials declined to answer any queries.

It is believed, however, that at least two of the domestically designed and produced systems include a head-up display and a weapons and mission management computer.

Past indigenous avionics projects have included a radar homing system in the 1960s for the F-104 fighter jet; an IRST pod and modifications to the GEC 956 HUD (Head Up Display); and the HUDWAC (HUD Weapon Aiming Computer) for the F-7P in the 1990s.

Efforts to sustain avionics design in Pakistan have not succeeded.

Retired Air Commodore Kaiser Tufail said he believes the reason is because it has "not been a viable proposition so far."

However, large-scale indigenous production of the JF-17 and potential export sales mean such a move is now more economically viable, he said.

Tufai said the Air Force has the potential to succeed because it has "a very large pool of highly qualified avionics engineers at the bachelor's, master's and even doctorate level, both serving and retired."

If that potential does result in a focused effort, "the next decade may well see Pakistan establish itself as one of the leading Asia-Pacific producers of avionics hardware and software," he said.

Sabtu, Juni 05, 2010

Non-Combatant Evacuation Operation Exercise

An Army unimog is loaded onto HMAS Balikpapan.

As part of the Minor War Vessel Concentration Period, two Royal Australian Navy ships, HMAS Balikpapan and HMAS Betano took part in a Non-Combatant Evacuation Operation exercise.

A Non-Combatant Evacuation Operation (NEO) is an amphibious operation conducted to relocate threatened non-combatants to a place of safety in a foreign country.

The simulated amphibious operation involved the Australian Army’s 2nd Cavalry Regiment loading an Australian Light Armoured Vehicle (ASLAV), a General Motor Vehicle and three Unimogs onto HMA Ships Balikpapan and Betano.

Aussie C-17 Delivers the Goods in Afghanistan

A Royal Australian Air Force C-17 Globemaster lands on the dusty airstrip of Multinational Base Tarin Kowt.

Royal Australian Air Force C-17 Globemaster aircraft are used by Australian forces in the Middle East Area of Operations for heavy lift capability including the movement of combat vehicles in and out of theatres of operation as well as large freight items.

The C-17 has a short take-off and landing capability that is well suited to the environmental demands of Afghanistan where dirt runways such as the one at the Multinational Base in Tarin Kowt are common.

RAAF C-17 delivered two recently refurbished Australian Light Armoured Vehicles (ASLAV) to the 1st Mentoring Task Force based in Tarin Kowt.

A number of large freight items were also delivered on the day with the American K-Loader getting a solid workout. The K-Loader is the American version of the Australian TASLU platform.

Canada Accepts First Of 17 Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules

MARIETTA, Ga., -- Canada formally accepted the first of 17 Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] C-130J Super Hercules aircraft today at ceremonies here and at Canadian Forces Base Trenton.

Canada finalized its CC-130J contract with Lockheed Martin in December 2007, with a subsequent agreement from the U.S. Air Force to ensure an early delivery of the first two Canadian aircraft. The balance will be delivered by the end of 2012. The CC-130Js (the Canadian designation) are the "stretched" configuration of the C-130J and are of similar specification to those already operated by the U.S. and other worldwide air forces.

"This year is the 50th anniversary of the first CC-130 Hercules aircraft accepted by Canada," said the Honourable Peter MacKay, the Canadian Minister of National Defence. "I am proud to mark this milestone by welcoming the J-model Hercules into our fleet – on budget and on schedule – ensuring the Canadian Forces have the equipment it needs to be a modern, multi-role force able to take on the challenges of the 21st century."

"Lockheed Martin is proud to again support Canada and the Canadian Forces," said Tony Frese, Lockheed Martin C-130J program director. "The C-130J Super Hercules is an operationally proven platform and the ideal aircraft to replace Canada's existing C 130 fleet. The current C-130s have been Canada's indomitable workhorse for decades and this new aircraft will now meet the demanding tactical airlift needs of the Canadian Forces."

The C-130J generates greater operational efficiency than Canada's existing E and H models, by flying further, faster, with more payload and higher reliability. The aircraft's increased performance gives it an enhanced range with a payload capability of over 4,000 nautical miles. In addition, its short-field performance allows the aircraft to engage in direct support missions for frontline forces down to the last tactical mile.

C-130Js are currently deployed in several theatres and are operating at a high tempo efficiently and reliably. C-130Js are used daily for troop and equipment re-supply via ground delivery and airdrop, for air-to-air refueling, ground refueling, humanitarian relief and search and rescue.

Lockheed Martin recently announced the team of Canadian companies that will provide maintenance and support for Canada's new CC 130J fleet. The initial in-service support (ISS) contract period is for six-and-a-half years from contract award in December 2009 to June 30, 2016.

"Through a rigorous and competitive process, we assembled a team to support Canada's CC 130J fleet that rivals any such team in the world," Frese said."This team – as well as the expertise and capabilities in Canada to fulfill our industrial benefits obligation – stands as a testament to the quality of Canada's high-technology industrial base."

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 136,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation reported 2009 sales of $45.2 billion.