Oct 31, 2013

Russia Test-Fires Range Of Nuclear-capable Missiles

Russia on Wednesday test-fired a series of short- and long-range nuclear-capable missiles as part of an unannounced check of the readiness of its massive Soviet-era force.
The defense ministry said several ballistic missiles were successfully launched from the Bryansk and Svyatoy Georgy Pobedonosets submarines stationed in the Barents and Okhotsk Seas.
The ground-based strategic forces also fired one Topol and one Voyevod intercontinental ballistic missile from positions in northern and central Russia.
Both missiles hit their assigned targets on the Russian Far East’s Kamchatka Peninsula.
The country’s armed forces also test-fired four Iskander and Tochka-U short-range rockets as well as about 15 S-300 and S-400 air defense missiles that Russia’s produces primarily for export.
Russia is the only country in the world to still fire intercontinental ballistic missiles at specific targets as part of periodic tests.
Most of the launches are performed to either ensure the safety of Russia’s aging arsenal or to test new rockets that could penetrate a missile defense system now gradually being deployed by NATO in Europe.

Turkey Signs Contract for First National Drone

After a lengthy delay, the Turkish government signed a critical contract for the acquisition of an initial batch of 10 Anka drones that Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) locally designed, developed and will manufacture.
The deliveries of 10 aircraft and ground stations are scheduled to start in 2016.
The Anka passed acceptance tests late in January. The final tests on Jan. 20-21 involved a full-endurance, 18-hour flight, successful auto landing, data link performance at a distance of 200 kilometers under winds up to 45 knots, and night take-offs and landings. The Anka has completed more than 150 flight hours.
The Anka is a medium-altitude, long-endurance drone. Such UAVs usually can operate for 24 hours at an altitude of 10,000 feet. During test flights, the Anka reached an altitude of 30,000 feet.

Egypt bids for brand-new Russian SS-25 ballistic missiles

Russian Deputy chief of staff and head of GRU military intelligence, spent the first day of his visit to Cairo, Tuesday, Oct. 29, with Egyptian military chiefs, going through the list of Russian military hardware items they want to buy in their first major arms transaction with Moscow in more than three decades.
Egyp asked Moscow to supply the sort of advanced weapons withheld by the United States, and topped their shopping list with medium-range intercontinental ballistic missiles that cover Iran and most of the Middle East.
They are most likely after the brand-new SS-25 road-mobile ICBM which has a range of 2,000 miles, which the Russians tested earlier this month.
Russia is not entirely comfortable with this demand, having signed a mutual agreement with the US to stop manufacturing medium-range ballistic missiles. And so the sale of SS-25 ICBMs to Egypt could get the Russians in hot water in Washington.

F-35B Lightning II Completes First Guided Weapon Delivery Against Ground Target

An F-35B short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) fighter aircraft, successfully employed a Guided Bomb Unit-12 (GBU-12) Paveway II laser-guided weapon from the F-35's internal weapons bay against a fixed ground tank test target yesterday.

KAI eyes Botswana, Iraq and Polan for FA-50 and T-50

Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), is now setting its sights on making inroads into emerging nations with growing defense needs.
KAI, is showcasing a wide range of indigenous aircraft models at the Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition (ADEX).
KAI's models on display include T-50 supersonic trainer,KT-1 basic trainer, FA-50 light attack fighter modified from T-50 and the light utility helicopter Surion.
KAI officials said foreign military officials and buyers have been showing interest in their trainer jets and FA-50 at the aerospace fair.
South Korea is set to export 12 FA-50s, a light attack variant of T-50, to the Philippines, expecting to sign a deal by the end of this year and negotiations are currently under way to sell trainers to such countries as Iraq and Poland next year, with Botswana as a potential buyer of trainer jets.
KAI and Lockheed Martin are also gearing up for a lucrative U.S. Air Force competition for at least 300 T-50s worth several billion dollars.
South Korea is also planning to develop a much larger indigenous fighter jet program with the help of U.S. defense contractors, although that has been delayed due to budget constraints and questions over its feasibility.
The KFX project aims to build F-16 class fighter jets to replace the Air Force's aging fleet of F-4 and F-5 fighter planes.

India: No deadline for signing 126 M-MRCA deal

India Defence Minister refused to set a deadline for conclusion of deal to procure 126 Rafale combat aircraft forIndian Air Force.
The Minister was asked to comment on whether issues between HAL and Dassault Aviation were delaying the contract signing.
The Minister's statement came soon after IAF Deputy Chief Air Marshal S Sukumar stated that the contract was expected to be signed between the two sides by the end of this fiscal.
Minister said there would be at least four to five stages after the CNC was over and the proposal was brought before the Government for clearance.
He said the Government was proceeding as per the defence procurement procedure and a number of bodies would be involved in scrutinising the contract.
India had selected Dassault Aviation's Rafale combat aircraft to arrest the fall in its number of squadrons and is engaged in negotiations with the company on the issue.
The deal,would be the biggest ever for the Indian defence forces and the Defence Ministry is taking all precautions to see it through.

Oct 30, 2013

Eurofighter unveils new upgrade plan

The Eurofighter consortium has unveiled a road-map for the development of a number of further enhancements to the Typhoon combat aircraft to be fielded by operators from late 2015.
Unveiled at the Seoul International Aerospace & Defence Exhibition on 30 October, the development contract was signed by Eurofighter and the NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency (NETMA).
Its proposed Evolution Package 2 consists of a number of improvements including radar enhancements and upgrades to the defensive aids sub-systems (DASS).
In addition, the package will include further improvements to the type's flight control system and the utility control system that will allow the Typhoon to be more compatible with evolving requirements within the commercial aviation air space environment.
The latest contract follows a deal signed at June's Paris air show to begin integration work on MBDA's Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile.
Earlier this week Eurofighter partner company Cassidian revealed that flight-test activities for the Phase 1 enhancements were now complete.

WSJ: U.S. Says France, Spain Aided NSA Spying

Widespread electronic spying that ignited a political firestorm in France and Spain recently was carried out by their own intelligence services and not by the National Security Agency, U.S. officials say.
The phone records collected by the Europeans--in war zones and other areas outside their borders--then were shared with the NSA, U.S. officials said, as part of efforts to help protect American and allied troops and civilians.
The new disclosure upends the version of events as reported in Europe in recent days, and puts a spotlight on the role of European intelligence services that work closely with the NSA, suggesting a greater level of European involvement in global surveillance.
The U.S. has so far been silent about the role of European partners in these collection efforts so as to protect relationships. These efforts are separate, however, from the U.S. spying programs that targeted dozens of foreign leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose phones were tapped for years by the NSA.
The NSA declined to comment, as did the Spanish foreign ministry and a spokesman for the French Embassy in Washington. A spokesman for Spain's intelligence service said: "Spanish law impedes us from talking about our procedures, methods and relationships with other intelligence services."
In Spain, the El Mundo newspaper reported that it had seen NSA documents that showed the U.S. spy agency had intercepted 60.5 million phone calls in Spain during the same time period.

Spying Known at Top Levels, US Officials Say

James R. Clapper, the director of national intelligence, testified before the House Intelligence Committee that the N.S.A. had kept senior officials in the National Security Council informed of surveillance it was conducting in foreign countries. He did not specifically say whether President Obama was told of these spying efforts, but he appeared to challenge assertions in recent days that the White House had been in the dark about some of the agency’s practices.
Their testimony came amid mounting questions about how the N.S.A. collects information overseas, with Republicans and Democrats calling for a congressional review, lawmakers introducing a bill that would curb its activities and Mr. Obama poised to impose his own constraints, particularly on monitoring the leaders of friendly nations. At the same time, current and former American intelligence officials say there is a growing sense of anger with the White House for what they see as attempts to pin the blame for the controversy squarely on them.
Clapper said that spying on foreign leaders — even those of allies — was a basic tenet of intelligence tradecraft and had gone on for decades. European countries, Mr. Clapper said, routinely seek to listen in on the conversations of American leaders.
Asked whether the White House knows about the N.S.A.’s intelligence-gathering, including on foreign leaders, Mr. Clapper said, “They can and do.” But, he added, “I have to say that that does not extend down to the level of detail. We’re talking about a huge enterprise here, with thousands and thousands of individual requirements.”
The White House has faced criticism for the N.S.A.’s surveillance practices since the first revelations by a former agency contractor, Edward J. Snowden, in June. But in recent weeks it has struggled to quell a new diplomatic storm over reports that the agency monitored the cellphone of Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany for more than a decade. White House officials said that the president did not know of that surveillance, but that he has told Ms. Merkel that the United States is not monitoring her phone now and would not in the future.
On Wednesday, a delegation of senior German officials is scheduled to meet at the White House with Mr. Clapper, the president’s national security adviser, Susan E. Rice; his homeland security and counterterrorism adviser, Lisa Monaco; and other officials.

Lithuania Orders Eurocopter AS35 Dauphin Helos

Lithuania has ordered three AS365 N3+ Dauphin helicopters from Eurocopter.
The new copters will replace the Soviet-designed Mi-8 and will be mainly be used in search-and-rescue missions.
The contract also covers related equipment, and training and maintenance services.
In a bid to increase the airlift capacity of its armed forces, Lithuania is reportedly planning to acquire further helicopters by 2016.

India to Bolster UAV Fleet for Border Surveillance

India plans to spend more than US $2 billion in the next five years to boost its UAV fleet, including mini UAVs, and sharpen its border surveillance, intelligence and communications capabilities.
The Army this month floated a tender to acquire 49 UAVs to be used for real-time intelligence and surveillance, to detect human or vehicular movement, target recognition and identification, and electronic intelligence and communication intelligence.
The tender has been sent to private Indian companies Idea Forge, Dynamatrics, Hi-tech Robotics, Ufcon, Omnipresent Technologies, Datapattern, Tata Advance Systems and state-owned Bharat Electronics.
The mini UAVs will be used for counterinsurgency operations in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir, bordering Pakistan. The UAV will have an endurance of 30 to 90 minutes carrying a camera, and be able to perform auto tracking of targets.
The mini UAVs will gather intelligence and carry out reconnaissance along the Line of Control with Pakistan and the India-China border.
The Army is employing UAVs as a communication constellation and has put them to use in rescue operations, as observation posts and for medical evacuation.
The Army and Air Force have an immediate requirement for more than 700 mini UAVs.
The drones need to have endurance of 90 minutes with a loiter time of one hour. The vehicle needs to be able to reach an altitude of 2,000 feet carrying its camera.
In addition, the drones would have jam-resistant uplink and secured downlink, and the system should be easily transportable in one light vehicle and carrier in dismantled configuration in backpacks.
The Army plans to have about 1,600 mini UAVs by 2017 for use by the infantry and mechanized infantry.

RAF C-130Ks make last operational flight

The UK Royal Air Force’s remaining Lockheed Martin C-130K tactical transports will be formally retired next week, with its last two examples having made their final operational flights on 25 October.
Operated from Brize Norton air base in Oxfordshire, the RAF’s final K-model Hercules will be flown to St Athan in south Wales on 29 October.
The RAF began operating its first C-130Ks in 1966. The type will be replaced by 22 Airbus Military A400Ms, the first of which is scheduled to be delivered to Brize Norton in September 2014. It also expects to continue flying its new-generation C-130Js until around 2022.
Austria, Mexico and Sri Lanka still operate the C-130K.

Indian air force receives fourth C-17 Globemaster

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has received its fourth Boeing C-17 Globemaster strategic transport.
The delivery on 19 October came after the type was formally inducted into the IAF in September. Boeing says it will deliver five more C-17s in 2014, completing its contract with the IAF.
The IAF recently used the C-17s to support relief efforts for victims affected by Cyclone Phailin.
Boeing will complete production of the C-17 transporter in the fourth quarter of 2015. In addition to the remaining aircraft for India, it will build 15 more aircraft for delivery to customers outside the USA.

BAE Systems poised to commence South Korea F-16 upgrades

BAE expects Seoul to sign the letter of agreement for both the avionics and radar upgrades by the end of 2013.
BAE will also install the RACR equipment, to upgrade two F-16s – one single-seat C-model aircraft and one two-seat D-model – to the new configuration. After extensive testing, BAE will then develop upgrade kits that will be shipped to South Korea. BAE is deciding between Samsung Techwin or Korea Aerospace Industries to perform the in-country upgrade work.
The upgrades of operational aircraft could begin in 2017, with four to six aircraft receiving the modifications each month.
Following its success in South Korea, BAE is looking at other opportunities to upgrade legacy F-16s in nations such as Singapore, Turkey and Egypt.

MQ-8C First Flight this week

This week the newest Fire Scout variant, MQ-8C Fire Scout, will take to the skies for the first time.
MQ-8C is an RDC effort in response to an urgent request to provide maritime based Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) at extended ranges from host ships in less than 24 months. First flight is set to occur this month, 18 months after the contract award to prime integrator, Northrop- Grumman.
Leveraging off the existing MQ-8 Fire Scout infrastructure, the C variant provides the Navy with double the endurance and triple the payload capability of its predecessor, allowing for 15+ hours of flight time and over 2,600 lbs. of payload. This increase in capability will allow us the opportunity to put additional weight, perhaps sensors, on the aircraft.
The MQ-8C, is a modified commercial Bell 407 helicopter to include additional fuel capability, upgraded engines and improved reliability to provide increased range and endurance and then integrated the majority of the MQ-8B avionics and payloads onto that air frame.
The MQ-8C will complete ground testing at Naval Air Station Pt. Mugu and also be integrated into the Guided Missile Destroyer (DDG) for maritime assessment.

More Super Hornets and Growlers for US Navy?

The Navy is considering buying 36 more F/A-18 Super Hornets, according to a notice posted this month on a federal procurement website.
The Super Hornet is the Navy’s premier fighter jet, but it’s nearing the end of its production line as the service begins to shift over to Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The Navy’s last order is set to be made in the current fiscal year, ending Sept. 30, 2014, with the last plane due for delivery in 2016.
But amid Pentagon budget cuts and delays to the F-35 program, Boeing has been pitching the Super Hornet as a cheaper and more reliable alternative.
Earlier this month, the Naval Air Services Command quietly posted a “pre-solicitation” notice on a federal contracting website, declaring its intent to “solicit and negotiate” a fixed-price contract for 36 more F/A-18 Super Hornets and E/A-18 Growlers.

Oct 29, 2013

Fifth PAK FA fighter aircraft made its first flight

The fifth prototype of the prospective 5th — generation aviation complex (PAK FA, T-50) made its maiden flight in Komsomolsk-on-Amur at the Y.A.Gagarin KnAAZ aircraft plant of the Sukhoi Company.
The fighter aircraft spent 50 minutes in the air and landed safely on the factory airfield runway. The test flight was a success and in full accordance with the flight plan. The stability of the aircraft and the propulsion system were tested during the flight. The aircraft performed well in all phases of the planned flight program. The pilot confirmed reliability of all systems and equipment.
Upon completing the test flights program in Komsomolsk the aircraft will join the flight tests in the city of Zhukovsky near Moscow. Four 5th — generation fighter aircraft have already joined these tests. Two more planes are involved in ground tests — one as a complex ground stand and the other undergoes static tests.
The first flight of the PAK FA took place on January 29, 2010 in Komsomolsk-on-Amur. Currently work is underway on the full range of ground and flight tests. To date, more than 450 flights were carried out under the flight test program.

Increased operational capabilities for Eurofighter Typhoon

Cassidian-EADS, has successfully finalized its flight testing of the Eurofighter Typhoon Phase 1 Enhancements (P1E) programme. After an intensive test programme of this First Batch of Enhancements on Instrumented Production Aircraft 4 and 7, this enhancement is confirmed to deliver a robust simultaneous multi-/swing-role capability to the Nations' Air Forces. It will be ready for the customers by the end of 2013.
The testing took place at Cassidian´s Military Air Systems Centers in Manching/Germany and Getafe/Spain, in cooperation with BAE Systems and Alenia Aermacchi.
P1E implements full Air-to-Surface capability on Eurofighter Typhoon - including Laser Designator Pod -, full smart bomb integration, modern secure Identification Friend or Foe (Mode 5), improved Radios and Direct Voice Input, Air-to-Surface Helmet Mounted Sight System, improved Air-to-Air capabilities including digital integration of Short Range Air-to-Air Missiles and updated MIDS (Multifunctional Information Distribution System) Datalink functionalities for enhanced interoperability with Coalition Forces.
The Enhancements cover the design, development, qualification and clearance of the first major upgrade after the Main Development Contract. It is a major milestone in the development of Eurofighter Typhoon giving seamless air-to-ground integration to the weapon system and forming the baseline for further enhancements such as AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radar and Meteor missile.

Russia to double number of warplanes at Kyrgyzstan airbase

The number of Russian planes at the Kant airbase in Kyrgyzstan will expand twofold by the end of the year.
Kant, which is Russia’s only military base in Central Asia, currently hosts 10 Sukhoi fighters, two Mi-8 helicopters and about a dozen other transport and training airplanes.
The Kant base is seen as a vital tool to increase Russian influence in the region after the US lease at its Manas base expires in July 2014.
Despite previous disagreements, Moscow and Bishkek signed a deal in September, which prolonged Russian stay at Kant until 2032. The Kremlin agreed to write off nearly half a billion dollars in Kyrgyzstan’s debt in exchange for the contract.
The airbase, situated 20 kilometers from the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek, has a contingent of 250 Russian officers and 150 soldiers.
After the NATO troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014, it’ll become part of a collective air force, created in the under the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), an intergovernmental military alliance of Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
Meanwhile, the US is planning to pull its flight operations from Manas and use an alternative airbase in Romania as a transit point for troops departing from Afghanistan.

US Marines fly first F-35 STOVL mission at Eglin

The 33rd Fighter Wing and the F-35 Lightning II program reached a new milestone when Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron-501 completed its first short take-off and vertical landing mission on Oct. 24.
It was an hour-long mission in which the aircraft remained in the STOVL configuration for the entire flight. The aircraft flew pattern procedures around the base before gliding in, stopping in mid-air about 100 feet off the Eglin runway, performing a stationary right turn and slowly lowered to the ground.
The STOVL operation also marks a significant achievement in the program for some partner countries. VMFAT-501 hosts three pilots and 13 maintainers from the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force and Royal Navy.

Work begins on U.S. missile defense system in Romania

NATO Deputy Secretary General participated in a groundbreaking ceremony of the missile defence facility at the Deveselu airbase in southern Romania.
Romania has a bilateral agreement with the United States which sees the construction of an Aegis Ballistic Missile Defence system at Deveselu. This will include the construction of a missile defence radar and interceptors. The Romanian site will be part of NATO’s Ballistic Missile Defence system and when operational in 2015, will be under NATO command and control. NATO leaders declared the Alliance’s interim ballistic missile defence capability at their Summit in Chicago last year, marking the first step in the development of NATO’s missile defence system.

Unknown Chinese five-bladed helicopter spotted by satellite

Sikorsky ready to replace AgustaWestland as supplier of VVIP helicopters to India

American aircraft firm Sikorsky Thursday said it was willing to provide VVIP helicopters to India as the government takes steps to scrap the existing deal with AgustaWestland.
Sikorsky, which had also bid for the Rs.3,600 crore contract to supply 12 VVIP helicopters to the Indian Air Force, is ready to supply the helicopters if the Indian government calls it to do so.
Sikorsky had offered its S-92 helicopters to the Air Force but the deal was won by Italian helicopter major AgustaWestland's AW-101.
Sikorsky's willingness to supply the choppers comes amid reports that the Indian government issued show cause notice for cancelling the contract after AgustaWestland's bid to seek arbitration.

Russian Tu-160 Strategic Bombers Land in Venezuela/ Dos bombarderos rusos Tu-160 aterrizan en Venezuela

Two Russian Tupolev Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers on Monday flew from an airbase in southwestern Russia and landed in Venezuela.
The nuclear-capable bombers, took off from the Engels airbase in the Volga region, flew over the Caribbean, the eastern Pacific and along the southwestern coast of the North American continent, and landed at Maiquetia airfield in Venezuela.
According to the Russian ministry, the bombers covered a distance of more than 10,000 kilometers (over 6,200 miles) during a 13-hour non-stop flight. Two NATO F-16 fighter jets were scrambled from Bodo airbase to monitor their flight near the Norwegian airspace.
The current mission was carried out in line with the program of combat training.
Russian strategic bombers conducted a similar mission in 2008.
The Tu-160 Blackjack is a supersonic, variable-geometry heavy bomber, designed to strike strategic targets with nuclear and conventional weapons deep in continental theatres of operation.

Dos bombarderos estratégicos rusos Tu-160 tomaron tierra este lunes en Venezuela tras despegar de una base aérea de la provincia de Sarátov y volar a lo largo de la costa suroeste de Norteamérica, informó el Ministerio de Defensa de Rusia.
Los Tu-160 llegaron junto a una aeronave Antonov-124 de apoyo logístico, otros dos bombarderos estratégicos, Tu-95MS, fueron los encargados de facilitar la comunicación en zonas remotas entre los centros de mando que intervinieron en la misión.
Los Tu-160 recorrieron más de 10.000 kilómetros en un vuelo que duró alrededor de 13 horas. Al sobrevolar el territorio de Noruega, fueron escoltados por dos cazas F-16 que despegaron de la base aérea de Bodo.
El Ministerio ruso subraya que todos los vuelos de aviones militares rusos se realizan siempre de estricta conformidad con los reglamentos internacionales sobre el uso del espacio aéreo.
El Tupolev Tu-160 (en ruso: Туполев Ту-160, designación OTAN: Blackjack2 ) es un bombardero pesado supersónico de geometría variable desarrollado por Túpolev en la Unión Soviética. Fue el último diseño soviético de bombardero estratégico, siendo el avión de combate más pesado construido.
Entró en servicio en 1987 y continúa activo en la Fuerza Aérea Rusa con un total de 18 unidades.

Oct 28, 2013

KAI Proposes Smaller KF-X Design

Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) is pushing for South Korea to cut the technical challenges of its proposed KF-X fighter program, offering a single-engine concept that probably has a distant connection with the Lockheed Martin F-16. KAI's KFX-E design should be cheaper to develop and build than the larger proposals put forward by the Agency for Defense Development (ADD), the chief proponent of the KF-X.
Also much smaller than and more differentiated from the Lockheed Martin F-35, the KFX-E may offer the further advantage of minimizing competition from that U.S. stealth fighter. But it may have Lockheed Martin or other U.S. intellectual property in its design, exposing it to a foreign veto over sales or even development.
Seoul will probably have a foreign alternative to consider, too. Western proposals for KF-X include twin-tail developments of the F-16 and Eurofighter Typhoon, and an advanced version of the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. Those offerings were included as technology transfer in bids for the separate F-X Phase 3 program for 60 fighters. F-X Phase 3 has been abandoned, but a successor competition will be needed, probably reviving foreign KF-X proposals.

Boeing, Lockheed Martin Team for US Air Force Bomber Program

Boeing and Lockheed Martin are teaming to compete for the United States Air Force's Long-Range Strike Bomber program, with Boeing acting as the prime contractor and Lockheed Martin as the primary teammate.
Separately the companies are developing two of the Air Force's top priorities, the KC-46 tanker and F-35 Lightning II, respectively, and they partnered on the F-22 Raptor stealth fighter.

Turkey Open To New Bids For Anti-Missile System

Turkey said Saturday it was open to new bids in its plan to acquire its first long-range anti-missile system, should its controversial negotiations with China come to nothing.
Last month, in a move that irritated Turkey’s allies in NATO, particularly the United States, Ankara announced it was entering talks with the China Precision Machinery Export-Import Corporation (CPMIEC) to buy a long-range anti-missile system.
The US said it had “serious concerns” about the deal. Over the past decade the US has hit the Chinese company with a series of sanctions for selling arms and missile technology to Iran and Syria.
CPMIEC, which makes the HQ-9 missile system, beat out competition from a US partnership of Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, Russia’s Rosoboronexport, and Italian-French consortium Eurosam.
Turkish Prime Minister defended the decision to enter into talks with China. “Nobody has the right to intervene in (Turkey’s) independent decisions,” he said.

South Korea Envisions Light Aircraft Carrier similar to Spanish Navy 'Juan Carlos I', to buy retired S-3 'Viking'

The South Korean Navy believes it can deploy two light aircraft carriers by 2036 and expand its blue-water force to cope with the rapid naval buildups of China and Japan, according to a Navy source.
The service has been exploring ways of securing light aircraft carriers based on an interim feasibility study.
The South Korea Navy envisions three phases:

■The first is to equip the second ship of the Dokdo-class landing platform helicopter ship (LPH) with a ski ramp to operate short-range or vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft.
The flight surface of the landing ship is already sprayed with urethane, which can withstand the heat created by the aircraft during operations.
Dokdo, with the addition of a ski ramp, could be deployed before 2019, according to the report, which suggests the Navy procure used VTOL jets from the US, UK and Spain if needed.
■Second, the Navy could build an amphibious assault ship, similar to the Spanish Navy’s Juan Carlos, before 2019.
■Finally, the service aims to build two 30,000-ton light aircraft carriers between 2028 and 2036, the report said. The carrier is to have specifications similar to the Italian aircraft carrier Cavour, which can support about 30 aircraft.
China commissioned its first aircraft carrier last year, with three more carriers planned. Japan, whose Navy is classed as a self-defense force, has controversially unveiled a 20,000-ton helicopter destroyer akin to a small aircraft carrier.

More Aegis Ships and Jets
During the National Assembly last week, the Navy unveiled mid- to long-term procurement plans to further strengthen its naval power.
The service plans to commission three more 7,600-ton KDX-III Aegis destroyers by 2023 to develop a strategic mobile fleet. The service has three KDX-III destroyers fitted with Lockheed Martin-built SPY-1D radar capable of tracking incoming ballistic missiles and enemy aircraft.
The Navy also puts a priority on acquiring reconnaissance and surveillance aircraft. In particular, the service laid out plans to buy the Lockheed S-3 Vikings retired from front-fleet service aboard aircraft carriers by the US Navy in January 2009.
The service will purchase 18 S-3 jets and modify them into a new configuration meeting the Navy’s operational requirements. If adopted, it will be the first fixed-wing jet patrol aircraft operated by the South Korean Navy, which flies 16 P-3CK turboprop patrol aircraft.
In January, AgustaWestland won a $560 million contract to supply the South Korean Navy with six AW159 Lynx Wildcat helicopters equipped with an active dipping sonar for anti-submarine role.

Iraq to press U.S. on drones, F-16s to fight al Qaeda

The Baghdad government wants the immediate delivery of U.S. drones and F-16 fighter jets in order to combat al Qaeda insurgents, who are making swift advances in the west of the Iraq.
Washington agreed in August to supply a integrated air defence system and F-16 fighter jets, with delivery due in autumn 2014.
Iraq Prime Minister, has also requested drones to carry out surveillance of Iraq's desert border with Syria.
But Deputy National Security Adviser said Iraq needs them now.

China would consider an act of war UAV shoot down by Japan

A spokesman for China’s Ministry of National Defense has criticized Japan for making provocations and creating a tense atmosphere after it declared it will shoot down Chinese drones if they violate Japanese territorial airspace.
"Japan means to make provocations and create a tense atmosphere. The training and flying missions by the Chinese military aircrafts including drones, over the South China Sea are in line with international laws and practice," Chinese defense ministry spokesman.
"China’s military aircraft will not violate the territorial airspace of other countries; nor will we allow aircraft of other countries to violate China’s airspace. We’d like to remind relevant sides of not underestimating the unwavering will and resolve of the Chinese military to safeguard national sovereignty.
"We consider such forceful measures as Japan’s claim of 'shooting them down' a severe provocation and an act of war. We will respond with resolute counter-attacks and the provocator will bear all consequences."
The spokesman also briefed the press about a joint operation with Japan to rescue a stricken Japanese fishing boat in restricted Chinese waters.
The incident occured on Wednesday roughly 650 kilometers south of Okinawa when the fishing boat sent out a distress signal. Japan requested the Chinese side to allow its vessels to provide help.
China agreed to the request and Japan’s Maritime Safety Agency was allowed to dispatch vessels into Chinese waters. The Chinese Navy also responded to the request for help and rendered assistance to the rescue operation out of humanitarian considerations.

Philippines buy 8 AW109 light attack helicopters

Agusta Westland has won the bidding to supply eight attack helicoptersfor the Philippine Air Force.
The helicopters may be delivered next year if the budget is released soon.
A letter of credit is a document that assures the winning bidder or supplier that the government will honor its financial obligations.
The Air Force would be getting eight 109 Power (109 P) attack helicopters with 0.50 caliber machine guns and rocket launchers.
The helicopters should be delivered within 540 calendar days from the opening of the letter of credit.

Oct 25, 2013

Austrian Eurofighter Typhoons equipped with latest capability standard for Tranche 1 aircraft

All the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft in service with the Austrian Armed Forces have been upgraded and equipped with enhanced hardware and software capability.
The aircraft were upgraded within a two-year program that saw the 15 Austrian Typhoons receive the Service Release Proposal 4.3 standard software, as well as new radios, GPS and IFF.
The Austrian Air Force’s fighter jets are used for air defense purposes, with a Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) cell ready to scramble for air-policing purposes at Zeltweg airbase.
Since delivery of the first Eurofighter to Austria in July 2007, the 15 Austrian Typhoons have logged more than 5,000 out of a overall +200,000 flying hours accumulated by the whole Eurofighter fleet of six countries (Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, Austria and Saudi Arabia).

Unmanned Taranis has flown, MoD reveals

Breaking a long silence about the status of its BAE Systems-led Taranis unmanned combat air system technology demonstrator, the UK Ministry of Defence has revealed that initial flight tests have already taken place.
The debut is believed to have occurred at the Woomera test range in South Australia. BAE has used the site during previous unmanned flight test campaigns, including with its Mantis, Herti, Corax and Raven systems. In a 1 August trading statement, the company said the Rolls-Royce Turbomeca Adour-powered Taranis was due to fly “in the second half of the year”.
The MoD’s written submission also includes a detailed split of its currently 577-strong UAV inventory, which is predominantly used to support operations in Afghanistan. The total comprises five General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Reapers, eight leased Elbit Systems Hermes 450s, 222 Lockheed Martin Desert Hawk IIIs, 324 Prox Dynamics Black Hornets and 18 Honeywell T-Hawks.

US 'Seriously Concerned' About Turkey's Chinese Missile Choice

The United States is “seriously concerned” about NATO ally Turkey’s controversial decision to select a Chinese company for its long-range air and missile defense system.
Ankara’s announcement last month that it was launching discussions with the China Precision Machinery Export-Import Corporation (CPMIEC) for the deal, according to media reports — irritated Turkey’s allies in NATO, particularly the United States.
CPMIEC, which makes the HQ-9 missile system, beat out competition from a US partnership of Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, Russia’s Rosoboronexport, and Italian-French consortium Eurosam.
The Chinese company has been hit by a series of US sanctions over the past decade, accused of selling arms and missile technology to Iran and Pakistan.
NATO said missile systems within the transatlantic military alliance must be compatible with each other.
Turkey launched the tender for 12 missile batteries in 2009. It had previously defended the choice of CPMIEC saying it had offered the best price.

Saudi Arabia receives more Typhoons

BAE Systems has delivered its latest pair of Eurofighter Typhoons to Saudi Arabia, boosting the nation’s fleet of the type to 32 aircraft.
The single-seat fighters are drawn from a 72-unit Project Salam order.
BAE transferred an initial 24 Tranche 2 Typhoons by 2011, including six two-seat trainers, before entering discussions with Riyadh over the configuration and price of its remaining examples.
While this process has yet to conclude, the company earlier this year resumed deliveries, starting with four trainers. This was followed by the transfer of the first two single-seat examples from the remaining order.


Alenia Aermacchi of Italy is preparing to deliver the first of two C-27J Spartans to a new customer, Chad, as the aircraft face the final stages of assembly at the company's Caselle site in Turin.
The first example of the tactical transport for the African nation is largely complete, with its Rolls-Royce AE2100 engines installed. Avionics and mission systems are presently being added, with painting and a number of tests still to be performed ahead of delivery provisionally scheduled for mid-December.
The fuselage for the second aircraft will shortly arrive from Alenia's plant at Capodichino, Naples, says Francesco Dogliatti, product co-ordinator for the C-27J.
Training of Chad air force technicians and flight crew is already under way.
These new transport aircraft will add to the single C-130 Hercules currently in service with the Chad Air Force. Recent acquisitions by Chad of armoured vehicles and small arms, mainly from Eastern Europe, to re-equip its military forces may indicate an increase in military activities to combat the threat from rebel forces operating from the Darfur region in Sudan.

Airbus Military signs additional contract with Kazakhstan for two more C295 aircraft

Airbus Military has signed a contract with Kazspecexport, a State Company belonging to the Ministry of Defence of Kazakhstan, to supply two C295 military transport aircraft plus the related service support package for spare parts and ground support equipment. This order is implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that was signed in 2012 between the Ministry of Defence of Kazakhstan and Airbus Military for the procurement of eight C295s in total and on the basis of which two C295s were already delivered in 2013.
The first two C295s are already in service with the Kazakhstan Air Forces and the third and fourth are planned for delivery in 2014 and 2015 respectively. With regards to the remaining four aircraft in the MoU, a delivery schedule will be defined over the coming years.

Pakistan ready to start sale of JF-17 Thunder planes from next year

Pakistan has decided to start sale of state of the art JF-17, Thunder combat planes developed by the collaboration of China to other countries from next year.
Ministry of Defence Production sources said as many as 42 JF-17 Thunder planes have been developed so far under joint venture with China. Pakistan Air Force has been assigned a target of exporting 5 to 7 JF-17 Thunder planes next year, and the discussions in this regard are under the way to Sri Lanka, Kuwait, Qatar and other friendly countries.

Boeing Begins Assembling 3rd KC-46A Tanker Aircraft

Boeing is assembling a third KC-46A test aircraft for the U.S. Air Force’s next-generation aerial refueling tanker program at the company’s Everett factory, keeping the program on schedule to complete production of four test aircraft by the third quarter of 2014.
The KC-46A is based on the Boeing 767 commercial jetliner
The first test aircraft will roll out early next year. The first test flight of a fully provisioned KC-46A tanker is projected for early 2015, and the first delivery of a production aircraft to the Air Force is planned for early 2016. Boeing expects to build 179 tankers by 2027 if all options under the contract are exercised.

La Fuerza Aérea Venezolana adquirirá nueve aviones Hongdu K-8W Karakorum

La Fuerza Aérea Venezolana (FAV) adquirirá nueve aviones de entrenamiento/ataque ligero Hongdu K-8W Karakorum, de fabricación china, según el Ministerio del Poder Popular para la Defensa.
Con los nueve K-8W se completará la flota actual de 15 aeronaves de ese tipo, para totalizar 24 unidades.
Los Karakorum son empleados por la FAV como entrenadores básicos y aviones de ataque ligero.
En 2008 la FAV adquirió 18 aviones K-8W, los cuales comenzaron a operar en marzo de 2010 y, desde entonces, han resultado destruidos tres aparatos en accidentes, aunque sin víctimas mortales que lamentar.
Los K-8W están asignados al Grupo Aéreo de Caza Nº 12, destacado en la base aérea Teniente Vicente Landaeta, de Barquisimeto.
Por otra parte, serán invertidos más de 4,5 millones de dólares, en partes y repuestos para los aviones de entrenamiento Alenia Aermacchi SF.260.
Además, una cantidad no especificada para la compra de partes destinadas a la recuperación de los aviones, también de entrenamiento, Cessna 182 Skylane y los ultralivianos Challenger LSSII Special, estos últimos, de la Academia Militar de la Aviación.
Los SF.260 y los Skylane forman parte de la dotación del Grupo de Entrenamiento Aéreo Nº 14, cuya sede se encuentra en la base aérea Mariscal Sucre, de Boca de Río, estado Aragua.

Oct 24, 2013

MiG Begins Testing New Russian Navy MIG-29K/KUB Fighter Jets

Russian aircraft maker MiG has started flight tests of series-produced MiG-29K/KUB carrier-based fighter jets slated for delivery to the Russian Navy.
The Russian Defense Ministry signed a contract with MiG in February 2012 for delivery of 20 MiG-29K single-seat and four MiG-29KUB two-seat carrier-based fighter aircraft.
MiG is expected to deliver the first four aircraft by the end of 2013.The aircraft will operate from Russia's sole serving carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, based in Murmansk with the Northern Fleet.
The Admiral Kuznetsov currently operates Sukhoi Su-33 naval fighter aircraft.
The MiG-29K is a naval variant of the MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter jet, and has folding wings, an arrester tail-hook, strengthened airframe and multirole capability thanks to its Zhuk-ME slotted array radar. Unlike the Su-33, which is capable of air defense missions only, the MiG-29K can be armed with a wide variety of air-to-surface as well as air-to-air weaponry and laser-designation systems.
The aircraft is also capable of “buddy” refueling other MiG-29Ks using the PAZ-1MK refuelling pod.
So far, the aircraft has only entered service with India, for use on refitted Russian-built carrier INS Vikramaditya, due to be handed over to the Indian Navy on November 15.

Raytheon Sells Stingers for South Korea Apaches

Raytheon is boosting sales of its Stinger missile for AH-64 Apache attack helicopters around the world.
Raytheon already sold the helicopter-launched Stingers to Japan and Taiwan, recently inked a similar deal with South Korea and expects to finalize agreements in coming months with India and Qatar.
The FIM-92 Stinger entered U.S. military service in the early 1980s as a shoulder-fired, heat-seeking missile for ground troops.

South Korea nearing decision to buy F-35 fighters

South Korea is nearing a decision to buy some Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets, but will likely keep its options open for a limited purchase of Boeing Co's F-15.
South Korea could announce the plan as early as November to secure the funding needed to ensure initial deliveries of the F-35 in 2017.
South Korea's fighter competition has been closely watched given its importance to Boeing, which is keen to extend its F-15 production line beyond 2016, and to Lockheed, which is trying to drive down the price of the F-35 by securing more buyers.

Turkey Intercepts Russian Military Plane

Turkish fighter jets intercepted a Russian military plane in international airspace over the Black Sea.
“Two F-16 jets were scrambled to prevent a potential violation of (Turkish airspace)” after the Ilyushin II-20 plane was detected flying in parallel to Turkish coast, the general staff said in a statement about Tuesday’s incident.
Turkish jets intercepted the plane off the port city of Ordu on the Black Sea coast and monitored its flight from the Georgian border in the east through to the Bulgarian border.
It was not immediately clear why the Russian plane approached Turkish airspace. Such air incidents between the two countries are rare.

Sequester Could Delay 'Four to Five' USAF F-35 Purchases

Sequestration could cause the US Air Force to delay purchasing four to five F-35A joint strike fighters in fiscal 2014.
The Marine Corps and Navy could each cut one of its F-35B and F-35C variants, as well, if the automatic cuts are not overturned by Congress.
Last year, Air Force officials warned they could lose three to five F-35As from planned purchases due to sequestration. But those cuts were avoided when the Pentagon was able to cut a good deal for low-rate initial production lots six and seven with contractor Lockheed Martin.
Sequestration would also cause potential cuts to fiscal 2014 aircraft orders, including one F-35B jump-jet variant for the Marines and the F-35C carrier variant for the Navy, as well as up to four EA-18G Growler electronic attack jets, according to testimony from top naval leaders.

Beijing gets large-scaled UAV industrial base

A large-scaled whole-chain unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) industrial base will settle in southern Beijing's Daxing District, according to the top management of China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics (CAAA) under China Aerospace Sci & Tech Corporation.
The UAV industrial base, which covers a total area of 134 ha, will be the first of its kind in China. The base will cluster flagship enterprises and regional S&T leaders in the sophisticated industry within three years. It will also develop a top-notch technological service system and explore new modes for commercial application so as to turn itself into a UAV tech and service hub with high value-added.

Oct 22, 2013

Airbus Military ensaya el C295 apagafuegos

Unas semanas después de haber realizado varios ensayos en vuelo, Airbus Military ha anunciado públicamente que ha probado el C295 como avión apagafuegos cerca de Córdoba. Según el comunicado, los ensayos han sido satisfactorios y están previstos más vuelos en el futuro para un análisis más detallado.

España compra un nuevo Canadair CL-415

Bombardier y el Ministerio español de Agricultura, Alimentación y Medioambiente han cerrado la compra de un nuevo Canadair CL-415 que se sumará a la flota operada por el Grupo 43 del Ejército del Aire.
Se trata del cuarto CL-415 adquirido por España (UD-14 para el Ejéricto del Aire), que con otros 14 CL-215T (UD-13 y UD-13T), son operados por el Grupo 43 con base en la de Torrejón de Ardoz (Madrid). Además, otros cinco CL-215 también propiedad del ministerio son operados por CEGISA. Todos ellos componen la mayor flota mundial de aviones anfibios dedicados a la extinción de incendios.

Bell unveils V-280 Valor mock-up

Bell Helicopter revealed the first full-scale mock-up of its V-280 Valor tiltrotor aircraft in Washington DC.
The model allows Army procurement officers to see firsthand Bell’s answer to the Army’s request for an aircraft under the Joint Multi-Role (JMR)/Future Vertical Lift (FVL) programme.
The V-280 will have a composite fuselage made by Spirit AeroSystems, a large-cell carbon-core wing, fly-by-wire controls and a V-shaped tail.
It also incorporates lessons the company learned from its V-22 Osprey tiltrotor, which Bell produced in partnership with Boeing.
The V-22 is used by the US Marine Corps and US Air Force.