Senin, Agustus 30, 2010

Boeing reaches HUG milestone

Boeing Defence Australia has modified the 32nd wing pylon under the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) F/A-18 Hornet Upgrade Phase 2.3 (HUG 2.3) program, and has now delivered the number of pylons required for the project’s interim operational capability (IOC) milestone.

The milestone demonstrates that Boeing Defence Australia is meeting both contract and customer requirements.

Under HUG 2.3, Boeing Defence Australia is responsible for upgrading the active electronic warfare threat receivers on all 71 RAAF F/A-18 aircraft from its facilities at RAAF Base Williamtown.

This includes modifying the wing pylons on each aircraft to carry advanced countermeasures dispensers and re-wiring the electrical system to accommodate the new system.

Boeing Defence Australia commenced the pylon modification program in March 2010 and is expected to complete the remaining 44 pylons by August 2011.

Minggu, Agustus 29, 2010


The Indian Army follows a philosophy of having a mix of legacy equipment, equipment with matured technology and state-of-the-art equipment. T-72 tank is not an antiquated equipment. Therefore, the Army intends to retrofit/upgrade these tanks to enhance their mission reliability and life expectancy.

Orders for 124 Main Battle Tank (MBT) Arjun have already been placed on the Heavy Vehicles Factory, Avadi. As on date, 85 MBT Arjun Tanks have been issued to the Army. Keeping in view the production capacity for MBT Arjun Tanks and strategic considerations, the Indian Government is also exercising the option for modernising T-72 tanks instead of total replacement of these tanks on completion of their life span.

Kamis, Agustus 26, 2010

Royal Navy may need to borrow US fighter jets

The country could also turn to America for surveillance aircraft if plans to buy new RAF spy planes are scrapped.

Furthermore, the Navy may lose its ability to put troops ashore in an amphibious assault.

The prospect of relying on allies for military hardware has emerged from talks about the extent of the defence cuts.

Dr Liam Fox, the Defence Secretary, has said that, instead of "salami-slicing", where pain is shared equally across the department, the cuts must be allocated strategically.

Defence sources have suggested this will result in the Forces giving up entire capabilities, like aerial surveillance and amphibious landing.

Britain would have to rely on allies until the defence budget recovered, when these operations could be resumed.

The cuts could also have serious implications for the Navy's two new aircraft carriers, which will cost £5 billion and are due to enter service in 2014 and 2016.

Defence sources said at least one of the carriers was almost certain to be completed, but questions hang over the second.

If the second carrier is built, it could be adapted to carry helicopters instead of jets. A more radical option would see the second carrier shared with another country, most likely France.

The Treasury is understood to be budgeting for the cost of the carriers as empty hulls, and balking at the additional cost of planes to fly from them. A military source said: "The Treasury seems to think it's quite normal to budget for aircraft carriers with no aircraft to carry. It's rather bizarre."

To ensure both carriers are built, Navy chiefs are considering making several sacrifices. These include retiring Britain's 45 Harrier jump jets ahead of schedule.

The Harriers, operated by both the Navy's Fleet Air Arm and the RAF, are due to retire in 2018 and be replaced with new Joint Strike Fighters. But the jets could be retired earlier, saving more than £1 billion. That in turn could mean that the first carrier enters service in 2014 with no British aircraft to carry.

Mine Countermeasures Flotilla Departs Bahrain for UK - US Exercises

Hunt class mine countermeasures vessel (MCMVs) HMS Middleton (M34) and HMS Chiddingfold (M37) head into the Arabian Gulf for a 10 day mine countermeasures exercise with counterparts from the U.S. Navy.

Four Royal Navy mine countermeasures vessels (MCMVs) departed Bahrain in mid August for ten days of exercises with counterparts from the U.S. Navy in the Arabian Gulf.

The exercises were designed to enable the two navies to further develop mine hunting techniques in the warm, shallow waters of the Middle East, which form a busy and important maritime environment.

For the Royal Navy, it is also an opportunity for the Commander UK Mine Counter Measures Force (COMUKMCMFOR) to direct a bi-lateral, multi ship mine countermeasures task force at sea.

The British contingent consisted of two Hunt class MCMVs, HMS Middleton (M34) and HMS Chiddingfold (M37), and two Sandown class vessels, HMS Grimsby (M108) and HMS Pembroke (M107). The Royal Fleet Auxiliary Landing Ship RFA Lyme Bay (L3007) has also joined the exercise the afloat headquarters COMUKMCMFOR.

They were joined by four ships from the U.S. Navy's Avenger class: USS Ardent, USS Dexterous, USS Gladiator and USS Scout.

Commander David Bence Royal Navy, Commander UK Mine Counter Measures Force, said:

"Sea mines and unexploded ordnance have the potential to cause great disruption to international shipping lanes, restricting freedom of the seas and damaging world economies. The Royal Navy is at the forefront of mine countermeasure capabilities, in experience, expertise and in technology. It is important that we maintain these capabilities across a range of different environments, from the cold Atlantic to the warmer coastal waterways of the Middle East".

"This exercise was an opportunity to demonstrate our ability to deploy an expeditionary mine countermeasures task force and battle staff, in conjunction with international partners."

The four British MCMVs are forward deployed to Bahrain for several years at a time. They are maintained locally and crew members are rotated with counterparts in the United Kingdom on a regular basis.

They are among several Royal Navy warships and auxiliaries operating in the Middle East region, undertaking maritime security operations such as counter-piracy and counter-terrorism alongside partner nations from NATO,
the European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) and the 24 nation Combined Maritime Force (CMF).

Rabu, Agustus 25, 2010

RAAF Heron contract extended

As yet unconfirmed reports indicate that the RAAF, as part of the NATO forces in Afghanistan, will continue to utilise Israel Aerospace Industries’ (IAI) Heron unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as part of Australia’s Project NANKEEN, in cooperation with the Canadian Defence Forces.

According to one report, experts believe the contract could reach “tens of millions of dollars”.

Almost a year into the project, the ADF have announced that they will continue to benefit from the essential operational capabilities the Heron UAV offers in Afghanistan for another year, starting in January 2011.

Project NANKEEN was made possible with the cooperation of Canadian company MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates Ltd (MDA).

In August 2008 IAI and MDA were awarded a contract worth approximately US$81 million by the Canadian Ministry of Defense to provide Heron UAVs as part of the Canadian NOCTUA project.

Within five months of contract signature, Canadian forces were flying the Heron in Afghanistan.

Over the last three decades, IAI’s UAVs have been sold to more than 47 customers, including the Israel Air Force, the US army, and armies in Asia and Europe.

Six armed forces are currently operating IAI’s UAVs in Afghanistan: Spain, Australia, the US, Canada, France, and Germany.

IAI’s UAVs have logged approximately 750,000 operational flight hours to date, over 15,000 of which were in Afghanistan.

Lockheed Martin Receives $111.4 Million Contract Modification For F-22 Raptor Sustainment

MARIETTA, Georgia -- Lockheed Martin Corp. [NYSE: LMT] has received a $111.4 million contract modification from the U.S. Air Force for sustainment of the F-22 Raptor fleet, resulting in a contract value of $709 million. This modification is for the 2010 Follow-On Agile Sustainment for the Raptor (FASTeR) sustainment contract, which was issued initially in 2008 and extended in 2009.

FASTeR is a Performance-Based Logistics contract providing weapon systems sustainment of the F-22 fleet at all operational bases for the 2010 calendar year, including training systems, customer support, integrated support planning, supply chain management, aircraft modifications and heavy maintenance, sustained engineering, support products and systems engineering.

“Our focus in sustaining the F-22 Raptor fleet is total support to our customer by helping enable higher readiness rates, more sorties, faster response and lower life-cycle costs,” said Scott Gray, F-22 Program vice president of sustainment for Lockheed Martin. “Our mature supplier base ensures the F-22 receives efficient support anywhere in the world and provides the fastest, most effective link between customer requirements and delivered capability.”

F-22 Raptors are assigned to seven U.S. bases. Flight testing takes place at Edwards AFB, Calif. Operational tactics development is ongoing at Nellis AFB, Nev. Pilot training occurs at Tyndall AFB, Fla. Operational F-22 aircraft are assigned to Langley AFB, Va.; Elmendorf AFB, Alaska; Holloman AFB, N.M.; and Hickam AFB, Hawaii.

The world’s only operational 5th generation fighter, the F-22 boasts a unique combination of stealth, speed, agility, situational awareness and lethal long-range air-to-air and air-to-ground weaponry to make it the world’s best air dominance fighter and to enable it to deter and defeat current and emerging threats.

Selasa, Agustus 24, 2010

Russia Intends to Supply Mi-17 Helicopters to Afghanistan

Russia intends to supply Mi-17 helicopters to Afghanistan and has set no constraints on a potential deal, according to a Kremlin official.

Kremlin aide Sergei Eduardovich Prikhodko said Russia was ready to provide helicopters under a possible Nato contract and to be part of a US-run tender for providing helicopters to the Afghan military.

"The Russian side is definitely interested in this [deal]; there are no impediments on our side," he said.

Nato military committee chairman Giampaolo di Paola said that in July Russia and Nato were considering a possible deal on the supply of 27 Mi-17 helicopters to the Afghan military.

Russian state-run arms exporter Rosoboronexport was looking to bid for a US contract to supply Mi-17 helicopters to Afghanistan in July.

In May 2010, the US lifted sanctions against Rosoboronexport, imposed in 2006 over violation of the nuclear non-proliferation regime.

The US purchased dozens of Mi-17s for Afghanistan and Iraq during the ban through intermediaries, according to RIA Novosti.

New Zealand Ship Helicopter Integration Support

Prism has just provided short notice support to enable the conduct of a deck handling and integration trial for the New Zealand Defence Force, who are acquiring the NH-90 Tactical Transport Helicopter (TTH).

The NH90 will replace the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s fleet of 14 UH-1H Iroquois helicopters, with the first aircraft to be delivered later this year. The trial was conducted with an Australian MRH90 aircraft onboard the multi-role vessel HMNZS CANTERBURY, and established the capability to stow, secure and conduct operational maintenance on an NH90-based helicopter in CANTERBURY’s hangar and cargo bays. Prism personnel used their extensive experience to provide trial management, coordination and engineering review of ship-helicopter interface aspects, with a number of crucial issues identified that can now be resolved prior to delivery of the first New Zealand NH90 aircraft.

Senin, Agustus 09, 2010

Korea After Cheonan

With the subsequent investigation laying the blame squarely at the door of a bellicose and blustering North Korea in denial, and with South Korean loudspeakers once again deployed and blaring propaganda across the border with renewed vigour, it is difficult to see how the two main protagonists will resolve this particular drama.

How much influence the global community can, or will choose to bring to bear, remains equally uncertain. China, Russia and the US in particular all have their own vested interests in the region, but with some predicting an inevitable challenge to US hegemony in the Asia-Pacific area as the ascendency of China continues, the regional dynamics were already changing long before the torpedo was fired.

Security repercussions

Much of the initial fallout from the incident followed largely predictable lines as South Korea suspended trade with its neighbours to the north, China dragged its heels for a month before expressing condolences for the 46 lives that were lost and the US echoed the diplomatic noises coming out of Seoul.

As the weeks and months have drawn on, however, one thing that has emerged clearly in the wake of the sinking is a notable strengthening of the ties between the US, South Korea and Japan. While President Lee Myung-bak has always explicitly formulated his foreign policy to promote the notion of South Korea as an important regional power – its economy is, after all, the fourth largest in Asia – and a key US ally in the region.

The Japanese position had become somewhat cooler in recent years but with the recent resignation of Yukio Hatoyama, that particular wheel seems to have turned full circle and many commentators, including Fumiaki Kubo, dean of political studies at the University of Tokyo, expect Naoto Kan's government to attach far more importance to closer regional security.

With Beijing having already expressed some disquiet over the growing cooperation between these three nations, India and Australia, this may have long-term implications for Sino-South Korean relations, which Seoul's announcement of moves to enhance joint US naval capabilities can scarcely have helped.

The threat of war

In the immediate aftermath of the sinking, Pyongyang threatened to meet any attempt at retaliation by South Korea with "all-out war" – a position further underlined in late June in a statement from the government made via the country's official news agency, KCNA.

"The recent disturbing development on the Korean peninsula underscores the need for [North Korea] to bolster its nuclear deterrent in a newly developed way to cope with the US persistent hostile policy toward [the North] and military threat toward it."

According to some analysts, this appears to be a further hint at moves to develop a thermonuclear programme, hot on the heels of claims made in May that North Korean scientists had successfully achieved fusion. The country has previously conducted two nuclear tests, and is thought to already have uranium and plutonium fission weapons.

Across the 38th parallel, South Korea has itself begun an arms build-up which some see as intended to enhance its ability to act without deference to US geo-political sensibilities, particularly in the light of Obama's need to keep his counterparts in Beijing and Moscow on side over the nuclear ambitions of North Korea and Iran.

"Our military is charged with the supreme task of maintaining high readiness to sternly counter any North Korean provocations," said General Hwang Eui-don, the army's new chief of staff, at his recent inauguration in Daejeon, before vowing to strengthen the means to achieve it.

Fanning the flames

Behind the military grandstanding, as always, lurks the shadowy imprint of political intrigue. There is speculation that Lee Myung-bak, has chosen to manipulate domestic opinion over the Cheonan incident to bolster support for his long-standing policy of forging stronger links with the US, to provide a counterbalance to China's burgeoning economic and military presence.

Equally, with Kim Jong-il's health and a continuing concern after his apparent stroke in 2008, and moves afoot to pave the way for the eventual succession of his youngest son Kim Jong-un, some observers have suggested that the attack was orchestrated by Jong-un to prove his merit for the post.

Whatever the truth, events have challenged the view of North Korea as a failing state, with chronic food shortages and a weak economy, despite its considerable mineral wealth. Perhaps most worryingly, the new paradigm seems to be of a country emboldened by its assumptive status as a nuclear power, which many believe may lead Pyongyang to feel able to strike at its neighbour with virtual impunity.

However, despite tension and rhetoric fanning the flames, the sound of calm can still be heard above the noise of rattling sabres – at least for now – and few believe the threat of war will become an imminent reality.

Much of the reason for this lies in the unique position of China, and the particular way that Beijing has chosen to play the game.

The role of China

"No one is more concerned about peace and stability in this region than the Chinese," US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton said during her official visit to Beijing in May. It is unquestionably true, largely because it is driven by that most powerful of motives – self-interest.

China's role is pivotal, but, as the sinking of the Cheonan highlights, attempting to maintain good relations with both North and South Korea in the interests of a balanced strategy to ensure lasting stability on the peninsula is fraught with difficulties. To describe Kim Jong-il's regime as "maverick" is to descend to a level of political parody that borders on the grotesque. It is not yet two years since North Korea was removed from President Bush's notorious "axis of evil" – and there are those on Capitol Hill who see this incident as cause enough to justify reinclusion.

An openly critical China, now seeking to distance itself from its long-standing political and economic "traditional friendship" with Pyongyang, would undoubtedly win friends internationally, but such a move courts major risks.

Without the modifying influence of Beijing to whisper warnings into Kim's ear, the spectre of a reignited war moves infinitely closer. Few believe that North Korea would win such a conflict, and the casualties would almost certainly be high – but it is arguably not the defeat of an ideological ally that worries China.

A reunified and Western-leaning Korea after the fall of Kim's North – standing as a staunch US ally on the Chinese doorstep – would be hard to countenance and it might even threaten the extant regime of China itself.