Minggu, September 19, 2010


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RAN, RSN complete Ex SINGAROO 10

HMAS Arunta joined other RAN, RSN and RAAF assets for Exercise SINGAROO 10.

The Australian and Singaporean Navies have concluded Exercise SINGAROO 10, an annual maritime activity that cultivates bilateral ties between the two nations.

Building upon the recent success of Exercise KAKADU 10, the Royal Australian Navy and Republic of Singapore Navy practised maritime surveillance, air defence, anti-submarine warfare and defence against small boat threats during the week-long exercise.

RAN ANZAC class frigates, HMAS Arunta with a S70B Seahawk helicopter embarked and HMAS Toowoomba, Auxiliary Oiler HMAS Success with an AS350BA Squirrel helicopter embarked, and Collins class submarine HMAS Dechaineux took part in SINGAROO 10.

RSN Formidable class frigate RSS Tenacious and Victory Class Corvette RSS Vigour, together with a Fokker 50 Maritime Patrol Aircraft detachment, also participated.

RAAF assets enhanced training outcomes with an AP-3C aircraft from 92 Wing, three F-111s from 82 Wing and four Hawk Fighter Trainers from 78 Wing.

“Exercise SINGAROO is an important exercise in the annual calendar, strengthening professional ties, mutual understanding and improved interoperability at sea and in the air,” Royal Australian Navy SINGAROO 10 Exercise Director Captain John Vandyke said.

“By maintaining close and friendly defence ties, Australia and Singapore contribute to the stability of the region and develop our ability to work together in real-world operations,” Capt Vandyke said.

The Republic of Singapore Navy and the Royal Australian Navy regularly engage in a wide range of activities, which include bilateral and multilateral exercises as well as professional exchanges.

These extensive interactions have strengthened mutual understanding and professional ties between the personnel of both navies.

This exercise marked the 14th iteration of the SINGAROO series.

Sabtu, September 18, 2010

Cambodia Boosts Army With Tanks, Fighter Vehicles

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia - Cambodia is buying dozens of new tanks and other combat vehicles to boost its military, the foreign ministry said Sept. 15, as a deadly border dispute with Thailand rumbles on.

The pro-government newspaper Rasmei Kampuchea reported that 50 new T55 tanks and 44 armored personnel carriers are set to arrive in the country next week.

Military officials could not be reached for comment, but foreign ministry spokesman Koy Kuong confirmed that Cambodia had purchased a number of tanks and fighting vehicles and said further shipments would follow.

"We will have many more" than 94, Koy Kuong said.

He said Cambodia would not pose a threat to anyone with its new military hardware - despite a long-running border fight with Thailand, a spat that has claimed the lives of several soldiers on both sides.

"We have purchased this equipment in order to strengthen our military capacity to defend territorial integrity and to prevent any intentional invasion from another country," Koy Kuong added.

He would not confirm how much Cambodia is paying for the new military equipment or from where it is coming.

Cambodia has about 124,300 armed forces, according to 2010 data from the International Institute of Strategic Studies in London.

Compared to Thailand with its 300,000-strong armed forces and well-equipped air force, Cambodia has much less military muscle than its neighbor, a situation it has been trying to improve in the wake of the border dispute.

Cambodia and Thailand have been locked in a troop standoff at their border since July 2008, when the ancient Preah Vihear temple was granted UNESCO World Heritage status.

The World Court ruled in 1962 that the temple belonged to Cambodia, although its main entrance lies in Thailand.

The Thai-Cambodia border has never been fully demarcated, partly because it is littered with landmines left over from decades of war in Cambodia.

Senin, September 13, 2010

Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia Beach, USA

Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana is the sole east coast master jet base in the entire US Navy. Located in Virginia Beach, the air station supports the operations of the US Navy's Atlantic and Pacific Fleet strike fighter aircraft.

The air station occupies an area of 6,000 acres and accommodates approximately 22,700 personnel. This includes 10,000 military, 11,000 family members and 1,700 civilian employees.

The NAS Oceana is situated within the city limits of Virginia Beach, about 25.7km east of the city of Norfolk. The base was developed on a swampy wasteland. The facilities at the air station cover an area of 5,916 acres.

NAS Oceana history

NAS Oceana was commissioned in August 1943. Construction of the base began after the US Government purchased 328.95 acres of land in 1940. A small airfield was built and 32 officers and 172 enlisted men were assigned to the air station. Asphalt runways were constructed in November 1941.

The expansion of the base was approved by the wartime Congress in 1943.

Longer runways and personnel facilities were added to accommodate larger aircraft, and up to 160 officers and 800 enlisted men. The station was redesignated a naval auxiliary air station in 1943.

The station was changed to a naval air station in April 1952. The airfield was renamed Soucek Field in honour of Vice Admiral Apollo Soucek in June 1957. Soucek Field serviced fighter aircraft carriers during the World War II and the station became home for advanced naval aircraft with the introduction of high-performance aircraft in the US Navy.

The F-14 Tomcats were assigned to the NAS Oceana in 1974. The F-14 replacement air group (RAG) squadron was established in 1976. The F/A-18 Hornets arrived at the air station between 1998 and 1999.

Oceana operations

The NAS Oceana base is home to 19 fighter or attack squadrons, flying more than 250 advanced aircraft of the US Navy. The air station operates 18 F/A-18 Hornet squadrons. Fleet Composite Squadron 12 (VFC-12) provides air combat manoeuvring training. Fighter Attack Squadron 106 (VFA106) provides Hornet training and Fighter Squadron 101 (VF-101) provides support for Tomcat training.

The fleet area control and surveillance facility at Virginia Capes conducts surveillance and manages the sea and air traffic control of the Virginia Capes warning areas. The Fleet Readiness Center Mid-Atlantic provides intermediate and depot level maintenance support to the tenant squadrons. It also assigns technicians to aircraft carriers home-ported on the east coast. The Port Operations Department allots berths and anchorages, and monitors the docking and undocking of ships.

Garrison facilities

The major tenant commands assigned to the base are Commander, Carrier Air Wing ONE, Commander, Carrier Air Wing THREE, Commander, Carrier Air Wing SEVEN, Commander, Carrier Air Wing EIGHT, Commander, Carrier Air Wing SEVENTEEN, Commander, Strike Fighter Wing Atlantic, Marine Aviation Training Support Group Thirty Three, Naval Aviation Engineering Support Unit, Strike Weapons and Tactics School, and Atlantic and Combat Direction Systems Activity.

The air station houses Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 56 (VR-56). It also accommodates a search and rescue (SAR) unit of the UH-3H Sea King helicopter. The VR-56 squadron provides airlift and logistics support to the US Naval units and shore-based commands.

NAS Oceana air facilities

The NAS Oceana has four runways occupying more than seven miles of land. Runway 5R/23L is 3,651m long and runway 5L/23R is 2,439m. Runways 14L/32R and 14R/32L both measure 2,438m.

All runways at the base are surfaced with asphalt or concrete. The airfield allows the operations of F/A-18 Hornet, F/A-18 Super Hornet, A-6 Intruder, C-9 Skytrain II and F-14 Tomcat aircraft. The air station also serves as an alternative landing site for Nasa's space shuttle.

Other facilities

The NAS Oceana includes family housing units, enlisted family units and accompanied personnel units for marines and their family members. Temporary lodging facilities are available for visitors. The air station also features a commissary, a navy exchange, a mall, a childcare centre and a clinic.

Armoured Tanks Ready for Action

GEMAS: The army's pride -- the PT-91M Pendekar main battle tanks (MBT) -- are now fully operational.

Army chief Gen Datuk Zulkifeli Zin said the Pendekars (Malay for warriors) have full battle capability with the fleet of 48 complemented by 14 support vehicles, six WZT-4 armoured recovery vehicles, five PMC Leguan armoured vehicle-launched bridges, three MID-M armoured engineering tanks and an array of supplementary vehicles.

"The MBT regiment's readiness embodies the 'man, machine and method' development strategy the army professes."

He said this at the MBTs operational readiness declaration ceremony at the Syed Sirajuddin Camp in Negri Sembilan on Sept 1.
The delivery of the 48 Pendekars began in 2008.

This was followed by the other supplementary vehicles, reportedly under a US$380 million (RM1.18 billion) package from Poland.

Calling the Pendekar acquisition as very pricey, Zulkifeli justified their need as history had proven that armoured vehicles played a significant role during battle.

"For instance, during World War II the German military used its Panzers to combat and capture Allied Forces.

"The speed and mobility of the Panzers were very suitable with their Blitzkrieg lightning offensive tactics," he added.

India and Russia Signs Deal to Develop PAK-FA

Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA

India, Russia to Ink gen-5 fighter pact

Each side to pledge $6 bn to co-develop plane.

Late on Thursday evening, in a triumph for the Russia-India defence relationship, the two countries signed off on a joint venture to co-develop a 15-20-tonne payload, 2,500-km range multi-role transport aircraft (MTA), which will replace the Indian Air Force’s venerable AN-32 at the end of the next decade.

But this path-breaking $600-million co-development of the MTA is likely to be dwarfed soon, when India and Russia each pledge $6 billion to co-develop the world’s premier fighter, a step ahead of the US Air Force’s F-22 Raptor, which currently rules the skies.

Senior defence ministry sources have confirmed to Business Standard that years of tortuous negotiations have been successfully concluded in time for Russian President Dimitry Medvedev’s visit to India in December. Russian and Indian negotiators have finalised a preliminary design contract (PDC), a key document that will allow designers from both sides to actually begin work on the fighter.

“The negotiators have done their job, and the Cabinet Committee for Security will consider the PDC, probably this month,” says the ministry official. “If the CCS gives the green signal, as is likely, the contract will be signed during Medvedev’s visit.”

HAL Chairman Ashok Nayak had indicated to Business Standard on a recent visit to HAL, Bangalore, that the deal was done. “It is in the system for approval,” said Nayak. “The respective work shares have been agreed to by both sides and once we sign the preliminary design contract, we will finish the design in about 18 months. Developing and building the fighter could take 8-10 years, and each side will pay $6 billion as its share.”

The Russian and Indian Air Forces each plan to build around 250 fighters, at an estimated cost of $100 million each. That adds up to $25 billion, over and above the development cost.

These astronomical figures prompted Russia into co-development with India. The inescapability of cost sharing was reinforced last year when the Pentagon was forced to shut down its F-22 Raptor programme. Since the technologies in the F-22 were deemed crucial to America’s technological superiority, the fighter was developed and built entirely within the US. As a result, its prohibitive cost — $340 million per fighter — forced the Pentagon to cap the programme at 187 fighters, just half what it planned to buy in 2006.

“If the US could not afford to go it alone on a fifth-generation fighter, Russia clearly cannot,” points out a senior Indian Air Force officer. “There was no choice but to co-opt India as a partner.”

Russia initially offered India partnership in the fighter programme around eight years ago, but there was little clarity then on crucial issues like work-share, ie, what systems and components each side would develop. From 2005-07, India’s growing closeness with the US slowed down the project. Progress received a boost from the Russia-India inter-government agreement in November 07.

But HAL sources recount that, even after the agreement, Russian negotiators’ concerns about sharing top-secret technologies meant that a green signal from Moscow was needed for every step of the negotiations.

“This is the first time that Russia is co-developing a cutting-edge military platform with another country. Therefore, they were unclear about how to share work in a top-secret project like this,” says a senior HAL official. “Before each step, the Russian officials wanted clearances from the highest level in Moscow. Those ‘presidential decrees’, as they call them, took their time.”

Consequently, says the HAL chairman, it has taken almost three years from the inter-government agreement to negotiate a general contract and non-disclosure agreement. In March 2010, a tactical technical assignment was signed, in which the work-shares were agreed upon.

Meanwhile, Russia’s Sukhoi Design Bureau has built a basic fifth-generation fighter, which Russia terms the PAK-FA, an acronym for Perspektivnyi Aviatsionnyi Kompleks Frontovoi Aviatsy (literally Prospective Aircraft Complex of Frontline Aviation). A prototype, tailored to Russian Air Force requirements, made its first flight in January 2010.

India’s work-share for the joint fighter programme, according to HAL officials, will amount to about 30% of the overall design effort. This will centre on composite components and high-end electronics like the mission computer, avionics, cockpit displays and the electronic warfare systems. Additionally, India will have to redesign the single-seat PAK-FA into the two-seater fighter that the IAF prefers. Like the Sukhoi-30MKI, IAF prefers one pilot flying and the other handling sensors, networks and weaponry.