Tuesday, October 30, 2012

MiG and Sukhoi have signed a cooperation agreement in the network of development of UAVs

Russian aircraft corporations MiG and Sukhoi have signed a cooperation agreement in the network of development of UAVs, Lenta.ru reports.
According to CEO of RAC MiG, Sergey Korotkov, the corporation will take part in the project launched by Sukhoi after winning the corresponding tender. Russian Ministry of Defense selected Sukhoi as the developer of heavy attack UAV in July 2012. The possible specifications of this UAV have not been unveiled yet.
Sokol and Transas have also started co-development of an attack UAV. However, this refers to medium UAV with a takeoff weight of about 5 tons. Some sources believe that the UAV developed by Sokol and Transas is a surveillance one. In addition, Sokol and Transas are also developing a UAV with a takeoff weight of 1 ton. The total amount of financing for these projects is assessed at 3 billion rubles.
As reported by a source close to RAC MiG, the company told about significant increase of share of composites in the fuselage structure of MiG-29 fighters (from 2-3% to 10-12%). In particular, half of the jet’s external surface area is made of composites. The composites help decrease the aircraft’s weight and increase the airframe’s corrosion resistance and stiffness.

Iran dispatches warships to Sudan after Israeli airstrike on missile base

Iran risked Israeli military retaliation Monday with the dispatch of a naval task force to Sudan just days after a widely reported airstrike by the Jewish state against a missile base run by Tehran in Khartoum.

Sudanese state media said that a docking ceremony was staged in Port Sudan to receive the convoy led by an Iranian naval frigate and corvette warship.
Commanders of the Iranian flotilla reportedly met Sudanese navy chiefs as a gesture of "peace and friendship".
But Israel sees the increasingly close military links between Iran and Sudan as a credible threat. It fears Iran is building missiles to supply Hizbollah and the Syrian regime.
Israeli media has said that a long-range bombing run by eight F15 bombers hit a missile base staffed by Iranian engineers at the Yarmouk military plant.
Sudan has complained to the United Nations that Israel bombed the factory.
Iran claims to have harvested images of "sensitive" Israeli military sites and other potential missile targets form a drone shot down after it was launched from Lebanon by Hizbollah

First Ka-52K Choppers for Mistral Ships to be Built in 2013

The Russian Navy will receive the first batch of Kamov Ka-52K attack helicopters for Mistral class amphibious assault ships in 2013, Kamov General Designer Sergei Mikheyev said.
“The first serial Ka-52K will be assembled in 2013,” Mikheyev said on Monday. “By the time the first Mistral enters service in 2014, we are ready to make as many helicopters as the Defense Ministry will order.”
Prototypes of the naval version of the Ka-52 Alligator attack helicopter are under construction at the Progress plant in Russia’s Far East, he said.
The naval variant will feature a modified version of Zhuk-A phased array radar, folding rotor blades and anti-corrosion treatment to fuselage and on-board systems, which is necessary for any helicopter designed to operate from a ship.
The Ka-52K will reportedly be capable of launching anti-ship missiles.

Monday, October 29, 2012

S. Korea moves to upgrade Patriot defense system

The South Korean military's Patriot Advanced Capability-2 (PAC-2) system has a success rate of less than 40 percent in intercepting ballistic missiles, government sources said Sunday.

   Due to the noticeable inefficiency in deterring North Korean missiles, the PAC-2 system can only be useful in intercepting airplanes, prompting the South's military to rush to introduce the more advanced PAC-3 system, said the sources.

   PAC-2 has been deployed to counter increasing threats from the North's low-flying, short- and medium-range missiles, as part of Seoul's plan to build an independent theater missile defense shield, dubbed the Korean Air and Missile defense (KAMD) network system.

   "The Korea Institute for Defense Analyses and the Missile Defense Agency of the U.S. have just concluded a joint study on the KAMD and found that the PAC-2 system has an interception success rate of below 40 percent," said a ranking government official.

   "A variety of simulations have concluded that in order to raise the interception rate to above 70 percent, the (South Korean) military has to move to the PAC-3 system."

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Q-53 Radar Finds Enemy Firing Positions Before Their Mortars Find Us

Fighting wars would be a hell of a lot easier if everybody still just lined up on the field of battle where we can see them. But with the advent of guerilla tactics and asymmetric warfare, you now need to keep your head on a swivel in a vicious cockfight—or just let Lockheed Martin's new mobile radar system watch your back.
Officially known as the AN/TPQ-53 Quick Reaction Capability Radar, this truck-mounted mobile radar system is designed to spot and track incoming mortar, artillery, and rocket fire, then backtrace the enemy's firing position and the round's estimated impact location based on its trajectory thanks to a suite of purpose-built ballistics algorithms. This allows our forces to respond to incoming threats faster while severely limiting the number of rounds an attacker can get off before being engaged.
The Q-53 is actually composed of two FMTV trucks; the Mission Essential Group totes the radar itself and the primary 60Kw generator while the Sustainment Group transports the radar's four operators and a backup power supply. An encrypted radio channel allows the operators to remain a safe 1km distance from the radar itself, either in the climate-controlled comfort of the SG truck or in the field using ruggedized Linux-based laptops. This may seem like a lot of resources for a simple radar setup, but the Q-53 system is actually quite svelte compared to its predecessor, the Q-36, which needed three trucks and a crew of six.
"We improved the software and improved the overall hardware of the system, incorporating lessons learned from the earlier systems," said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Daniel McDonald, Training and Doctrine Command capability developer and requirements staff officer. "We developed more robust gears, a rotating platform, an automated leveling system and an improved air cooled system."

Patriot, SM-2 engage ballistic and cruise missile targets in sophisticated test scenario

Raytheon Company's radars, missiles and integrated systems played key roles in the U.S. Missile Defense Agency's Flight Test Integrated-01, the largest combined developmental and operational integrated live fire missile defense exercise ever conducted.

"This is the most sophisticated test of our ballistic missile defense capabilities ever attempted," said Tom Kennedy, Raytheon's Integrated Defense Systems president. "Raytheon's radars, missiles and integrated systems are an indispensable part of our nation's missile defense architecture."

During the test, Raytheon's AN/TPY-2 X-band radar detected a medium range ballistic missile target and provided cues to the THAAD weapon, enabling a successful intercept. Raytheon's Patriot system detected, tracked and successfully intercepted a short range ballistic missile target with a PAC-3 interceptor and a low-flying cruise missile target over water. The company's Standard Missile-2 was fired from the USS FITZGERALD and engaged a low-flying cruise missile. While the Aegis combat weapon system tracked a short range ballistic missile threat and launched an SM-3 Block 1A, there was no indication of an intercept; program officials are assessing test data.

DCNS innovates with a new weapons system for submarines: self-defense anti-aircraft

Currently, submarines have no alternative but to flee to defend against torpedoes dropped by helicopters and maritime patrol aircraft. Systems with air defense developed by DCNS in cooperation with MBDA, they will require aircraft now questioning their mode of action, forcing them to stay away.

In fact, to meet the needs of marine protect their submarines from air threats, DCNS offers a weapons system comes in two versions.

The self-defense anti-aerial mast

It is designed to integrate into the massive submarine. It consists of a mast which carries a hoistable turret containing several short-range missiles (Mistral).

The self-defense with a underwater vehicle

It implements from a torpedo tube, underwater vehicle (VSM) within which is a medium-range missile Mica.

Life Extension Programs Modernize Minuteman III ICBMs

BARKSDALE AFB, La. | Fifty years ago, officials deployed the first Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles to the missile fields in support of the strategic deterrence mission. Five decades later, these missiles are still in place, providing safe, secure and effective strategic nuclear deterrence.

Since it first deployed, a number of state-of-the-art improvements and modernization programs have helped the Minuteman system continue its deterrence mission with improved reliability that supports the missile's remarkable 99 percent alert rate. Air Force Global Strike Command officials continue to modernize the weapon system through a series of extensive Minuteman III Life Extension Programs.

Nearly the entire missile has been refurbished, including the flight controls and propellant in all three stages, the guidance system and the Propulsion System Rocket Engine.

"We are checking and balancing everything, but they are basically new missiles except for the shell," said Michael Knipp, ICBM program analyst. "Over the last decade we've done more than $7 billion worth of upgrades to 450 missiles."

In addition to the missile itself, a number of upgrades to the Minuteman III ground systems have been made. Those include upgrade to various electronic, cryptographic and security systems, Knipp said.

DARPA contracts Cubic for next-generation One Shot sniper development

Cubic Defense Applications has received a contract from the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for development of the next-generation (XG) of One Shot crosswind and range measurement systems.

The field-deployable system has been designed to provide ballistic aim point offsets in the shooter's riflescope sight, and has a compact architecture that supports installation either on rifle or the spotter-scope to allow for accurate shooting of targets at maximum effective ranges in crosswind conditions.

As prime contractor of the agency's One Shot XG programme, Cubic had teamed up with Trex Enterprises to manufacture and validate a prototype system, which if proven successful, may lead to the supply of ten additional systems within 15 months.
"If military snipers could neutralise enemy targets with a single round, they could potentially save many lives."

Cubic Defense Applications Advanced Programs vice president Steve Sampson said the One Shot XG would enable rapid measure of downrange crosswind, direction and range to target, to offer ballistic corrections, a characteristic previously missing in the military snipers.

"Using a unique two-way measurement system operated from existing sniper rifles or spotter scopes on current and future weapons, One Shot XG is designed to provide greatly improved first-round accuracy," Sampson added.

"If military snipers could neutralise enemy targets with a single round, they could potentially save many lives."

ITT Exelis to supply AN/AVS-6 aviator goggles to US Army

ITT Exelis has received an indefinite-delivery indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract for providing its enhanced third-generation aviation night-vision systems and associated spare parts to the US Army.

Valued at nearly $217.5m, the five year IDIQ deal allows the company to compete for supply of AN/AVS-6 aviator night-vision imaging systems (ANVIS), as well as spare aviation image intensifiers.
"Generation 3 image intensification technology provides aviators the world's most advanced night vision capability."

Exelis Night-Vision business area vice president and general manager Nick Bobay said the AN/AVS 6 offers unprecedented resolution, reliability and performance required by the aviators during night time operations.

"Generation 3 image intensification technology provides aviators the world's most advanced night vision capability," Bobay added.

Rolls-Royce to build water jet for US Navy’s X-class MUSCL USV

Rolls-Royce will design and develop a mini and efficient water jet propulsion system to power the US Navy's X-class unmanned surface vessel (USV), modular unmanned surface craft littoral (MUSCL).

As part of the Candent Technologies-led innovative small propulsion system project, Rolls-Royce will develop a water jet with a diameter of just 100mm that will be capable of quietly propelling the craft in support of remotely controlled operations.

"We are developing and adapting our world-leading water jet technologies as part of a highly efficient propulsion system, which will enable these advanced craft to go about their duties criss-crossing waterways and oceans, often for months at a time."

Candent Technologies has been selected by the US Navy for the award of an SBIR Phase I contract to develop a high-efficiency heavy fuel propulsion system for small surface unmanned craft.

The technology applications include remotely piloted air vehicles, as well as other small manned and unmanned craft, both military and commercial.

More Time Needed for German Military Reform

Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière and Chancellor Angela Merkel have told soldiers that reform of the military is going well. Many soldiers do not share their optimism.

"The repositioning of the military is now picking up speed," said German Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière, expressing his satisfaction at the progress of reform. At the annual conference of the German military - the Bundeswehr - in Strausberg near Berlin on Monday (22.10.2012), he admitted that the improvements could not yet be felt everywhere, but said that things were going in the right direction.

Chancellor Angela Merkel even described the Bundeswehr as a model for reforms in other areas of German society. But she and de Maizière failed to present their expected comprehensive interim report on the reorientation of the German army.

Reform is inevitable

The international security landscape has changed dramatically in the past 15 years. Conflicts have become more varied and require a corresponding response from Germany's armed forces. De Maizière said that in the future the armed forces will have to take on more responsibilities around the world. Merkel hinted that Mali in West Africa could possibly be a future deployment. It was unacceptable, she said, that terrorists had found a safe haven there and that the civilian population continued to suffer.

GA-ASI Successfully Tests ADS-B Surveillance System Aboard Guardian

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI) today announced the successful demonstration of an Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B)-based surveillance system that provides pilots with enhanced situational awareness and supports GA-ASI’s overall airborne sense-and-avoid architecture for its Predator B RPA.

The purpose of the test was to demonstrate that the Predator/Gray Eagle-series aircraft can fly cooperatively and safely in the National Airspace System (NAS), allowing Air Traffic Control (ATC) to know their location and flight profiles precisely. BAE Systems provided a prototype of its Reduced Size Transponder, which has recently received the designation AN/DPX-7. The AN/DPX-7 is a military grade Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) transponder that interoperates with both military and civilian ATC surveillance systems and is ADS-B-capable.

“We are working closely with the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration], other governmental agencies, and industry partners to advance the safety of RPA”, said Frank W. Pace, president, Aircraft Systems Group, GA-ASI. “We believe ADS-B will play a key role in a future sense-and-avoid system and will support the FAA’s ‘Next Gen’ initiative, so this is a step in the right direction.”

Lockheed to start work on USAF's GEO 4 and 5 satellites

Lockheed Martin has been awarded a contract to start initial work on the US Air Force's (USAF) fifth and sixth space-based infrared system (SBIRS) geosynchronous earth orbit (GEO) satellites.

Valued at $82m, the initial contract represents the first of three GEO-5 and 6 satellite acquisition phases, and covers completion of non-recurring engineering activities and purchase of select long lead spacecraft parts by the company to help supplier production lines offer the lowest possible price for each component.

Procurement of the remaining long lead parts, as well as satellite production, is scheduled to be subsequently funded by the second and third acquisition phases under a fixed-price contract scheme.

Lockheed Martin Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR) mission area vice president Jeff Smith said the contract will support a steady production rate and will significantly reduce the programme costs as the air force is procuring satellites in bulk, as opposed to one at a time.

''We understand both the importance of the SBIRS mission and the weight of the current fiscal environment - and we are committed to delivering mission success affordably and efficiently for the Air Force,'' Smith said.

The SBIRS satellites are designed to provide timely and accurate warning for missile launches to the US government, using a combination of four GEO satellites, two highly elliptical earth (HEO) payloads, as well as related ground hardware and software.

Distinguish Molniya and Tarantul : Guided Missile Corvettes of Vietnam Navy

The Molniya and Tarantul belong Project 1241 (NATO List collectively Tarantul) under high-speed missile boats, are designed for combat duty in the shallow coastal waters, high speed, firepower are the advantages of this type of rocket ships.

Project 1241 was initiated at the end of the Soviet Union in 1970, to replace the high-speed missile boats obsolete Osa.
In 1978, the first project was completed and transferred to the Soviet Navy evaluation.

This variant is equipped with 4 anti-ship missile P-15 Termit range of 40km, 1 gunboat AK-176 76.2 mm at the front and two fast firing AK-630 cannon in the back.
The identified variants of Project 1241 is quite complex. Russia, every time with small improvements to be set for a different identifier while the external appearance does not change much. This is the reason why many people difficult to distinguish Molniya and Tarantul.

Other variants were developed of Project 1241 include 1241.1M/MR (NATO identification is Tarantul III) equipped with search radar target Monolith, this radar targets 120km search range in active mode, up to 500 km with a passive mode.
New variant to replace the P-15 missile with supersonic anti-ship missiles P-270 Moskit, 120km range, replace engine CODOG (combined diesel gas turbine) by engine CODAG (combined diesel gas)

1200th F-16 rolls out SABCA's Flight Line

F-16 Aircraft Depot-Level MRO : S.A.B.C.A. (Charleroi Belgium) delivers its 1200th F-16.

Last Monday, like several times a month, the S.A.B.C.A. flight line crew succesfully delivered an F16 aircraft to one of its customer Air Forces :  this time the Belgian Air Component  received back a single-seater F-16, freshly upgraded by the highly skilled technicians of the company to the latest M5 Avionics standards.

"Business as usual" for these people who already proceeded with 29 similar deliveries since the beginning of the year... with the noticeable difference that this A/C was exactly the 1200th F-16 to roll out S.A.B.C.A.'s flight Line since 26 january 1979, when the very first production F-16 was delivered to the Belgian Air Force.

S.A.B.C.A. started its common history with the F-16 more than 30 years ago, by the assembly and in-flight delivery of 222 new F-16 A/C, on behalf of three different end-users.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Turkish Army inducts missile with 200-km range

Turkey completes development of missile with range of 200 kilometers.
Turkey has successfully completed development of a ground-to-ground missile with a range of 200 kilometers that has now entered the Army inventory, said Nihat Ergun, the country’s science, industry and technology minister.
“Tubitak [Turkish scientific research organization)] has completed the 200-kilometer stand-off munitions [testing], and the system has entered the inventory of the Army,” Ergun told reporters.
“Now, the next target is 500 kilometers,” he said. “We have the technology to develop this missile. It finds the target making use of the GPS technology and ground maps.”
Tubitak officials said earlier this year that the country’s High Board of Technology was developing capabilities in this area following a request from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
In addition to hosting a NATO radar to detect an

UK reveals Hermes UAV crash rate in Afghanistan

British Army operations involving leased Elbit Systems Hermes 450 tactical unmanned air vehicles have recorded 11 crashes in the past five years, armed forces minister Andrew Robathan has revealed.
"Since 2007 there have been 11 Hermes 450 crashes in Afghanistan," Robathan said in response to a parliamentary question on 24 October. No accidents involving the type occurred in the UK during the same time period, he added.
"An end-to-end review for army unmanned aerial systems training has recently been conducted, which reported at the end of September 2012," Robathan said. "As a result, several changes have already been made to increase airmanship standards in a number of areas, with further improvements to follow."
Royal Artillery regiments only use the roughly 550kg (1,210lb) air vehicle on operations, but the army intends to conduct future training activities in the UK with its successor Watchkeeper system. An extensive redevelopment of the Israeli-produced Hermes 450, this is being supplied by Thales UK/Elbit joint venture company UTacS.

AUSA 2012: Bell begins voluntary flight trials for Armed Aerial Scout

Bell has begun its US Army Voluntary Flight Demonstrations for the Armed Aerial Scout project using a hybrid Kiowa Warrior.
Bell's VFDs began on 22 October and are being conducted at the company's Arlington, Texas facilities using 'Demo 01', an OH-58D rebuilt by Bell from a commercially-purchased OH-58A but featuring the HTS900 engine, Model 407 blades and transmission and the tail rotor from the Model 427.
During the trials, the aircraft will be taken through a series of flight trials by army test pilots working from the ADS-33 handling qualities requirements, the same trials scheme applied to the VFDs of other manufacturers.
'We are offering the army a number of options for our AAS offering building on our long experience with the Kiowa Warrior and our commercial products,' said Mike Miller, director of military business development at Bell.
By offering the use of Model 407 blades and transmissions, the company says it is showing the US Army that it has a roadmap for supplying critical parts and components into the future.
Use of the 407 transmission allows for greater torque loads while the 427 tail rotor gives considerably greater tail rotor authority over the one on the Kiowa Warrior.

CCS clears 10,000 Russian anti-tank missiles for Army

A Rs 1,200 crore proposal for procuring 10,000 anti-tank guided missiles for the Army from Russia was cleared today by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).
The CCS cleared the proposal to acquire Russian-origin 10,000 Konkurs-M anti-tank guided missiles for the Mechanised Infantry and Infantry battalions of the Army, sources told PTI here.
The Konkurs-M are part of the weapon systems being procured by the force to augment the anti-tank arsenal in the Army, they said. The CCS had last week cleared the purchase of 25,000 Invar missiles for the T-90 tank fleet under a Rs 2,000 crore proposal.
The Konkurs are part of the anti-tank weapon family of the force which includes the Milan anti-tank guided missiles which India has been buying from France and also license-producing it at the Bharat Dynamics Limited facilities here.

Friday, October 26, 2012

AUSA 2012: US Army takes delivery of first OH-58F

The US Army has taken delivery of the first of two prototype OH-58F Kiowa Warriors as part of that aircraft's Cockpit and Sensor Upgrade Program (CASUP).
The handover, on 24 October at Meridianville, Alabama, concludes the aircraft's build phase. Now the 1968-vintage aircraft will be fitted out with flight test instrumentation in readiness for the first flight, expected to take place in April 2013.

Speaking during phone conference at the AUSA convention in Washington DC, Lt Col Matt Hannah, OH-58F project manager, said the programme deals with obsolescence issues bought about because progressive programmes to replace the aircraft with the Comanche and later the Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH) meant that the Kiowa Warrior has not enjoyed investment like the AH-64 Apache.

The update introduces a new Honeywell-developed avionics suite and a new EO/IR sensor - the Raytheon-built AN/AAS-53 Common Sensor Payload which is fitted onto the nose and eliminates the DRS Mast Mounted Sight (MMS).

Other changes include raised skids to increase the height off the ground of the sensor and a dual-channel FADEC for improved engine control.

Two prototypes are being built in Meridianville for flight tests. Production will then move to the Corpus Christi Army Depot (CCAD) in Texas, where a trio of pre-production standard aircraft will be assembled. The first squadron of OH-58Fs is due to be in army service in 2016.

All 368 aircraft in the programme of record are due to be put together at the CCAD, and army officials claim the move will save them $511 million over the course of the programme because of labour rates at CCAD and those at Bell Helicopter. A further $37 million has been saved in development costs.

Dutch Warship Destroys Somali Pirate Boat

Another Somali pirate boat goes up in flames as attacks hit a three-year low.
Somali pirates may not be as active as they once were off the coast of African waters, but they still pose a danger.
AK 47s are no match for the power of a Nato warship, as a group of alleged pirates learned today. Early Wednesday, the crew of the Dutch warship HNLMS Rotterdam, spotted a dhow close to the Somali shore. A boarding team on the Nato warship was dispatched to inspect the vessel because pirate crews often use dhows.
As the entering party confronted the dhow, the Dutch seaman took gunfire from both the dhow and fighters on shore. The boarding party returned fire and quickly the dhow exploded in flames. Those aboard the vessel jumped in the water to escape the blaze. One person aboard the dhow was killed.
The Rotterdam's party rescued 25 men from the ocean, but the rescue proved dangerous as the gunmen on shoreline continued to fire at both the boarding party and the Rotterdam. None of the Rotterdam's crew was injured.
The alleged pirates received medical attention and are now being held aboard the Rotterdam. The Rotterdam serves as the flagship for NATO's counter-piracy task force off the waters of Somalia.
Somali pirate activity typically drops during the monsoon period that has just ended, but the drop this year has been particularly steep. Only 35 ships have been attacked so far this year and only five vessels have actually been seized. In 2010, pirates attacked 174 vessels and seized 47.

Ambala to station first squadron of MMRCA fighters

The first squadron of the 126 air dominance Medium Multi-role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) to be purchased under the $10.2 billion mammoth deal will be based in Ambala in Haryana that was attacked by Pakistan in both 1965 and 1971 wars.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has already zeroed in on the French Rafale fighter jets as its choice and presently the cost negotiations are on. The contract is expected to be signed by the end of the financial year.

“The IAF plans to station the first squadron of the Rafale at Ambala,” a top IAF official said. Ambala is presently home to the British-built Jaguars and MiG-21s. Prior to the induction, the Ambala airbase – one of the oldest and largest airbases inherited from the Royal Air Force - will undergo refurbishment of the runway and infrastructure building to accommodate the new war birds that are expected to join the IAF’s inventory in 2017.

“The plans is to base two squadrons of the MMRCAs in Western Air Command (WAC) bordering Pakistan and two squadron in the Eastern Air Command (EAC) bordering China,” the official added.
One of the biggest open tender defence deals of present times, the MMRCA’s value is likely to go up to $20 billion. After the contract negotiations are over there will be eight more stages left - four of which lie with the defence ministry. There will be "scrutiny" by Defence Finance and independent monitors of Central Vigilance Commission (CVC). Then the deal will go to Finance Ministry, from there to National Security Council (NSC) and Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).

Hidden Stryker

A U.S. Army soldier pulls security in a Stryker armored vehicle during a decisive action training environment exercise, Saber Junction 2012, at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany, Oct. 17, 2012. Saber Junction 2012, the U.S. Army Europe's premier training event, is a large-scale, joint, multinational, military exercise involving thousands of personnel from 19 different nations and hundreds of military aircraft and vehicles. It is the largest exercise of its kind that U.S. Army photo by Spc. Jordan Fuller

ATK to produce FMU-143 bomb fuses

First article testing and production of FMU-143 bomb fuses will be conducted in West Virginia by ATK under a U.S. Army contract worth as much as $84 million.

The indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity vehicle was issued by the Army's Contracting Center at Rock Island, Ill., but the fuses are for use by the U.S. Air Force and Navy.

"ATK is proud to add this product to our portfolio of fusing for defeat of hard and deeply buried targets," said Dave Fine, vice president of ATK's Fusing and Warheads Market Segment. "The FMU-143 is the only qualified production fuse for use in today's hard target defeat weapon systems.

"This (contract) complements our lead role in the development of next-generation hard- target defeat fusing systems, established through our earlier win of the FMU-167 Hard Target Void Sensing Fuse program."

The FMU-143 fuse is used on bombs such as the BLU-109 and BLU-113, which are designed for destroying highly hardened or deeply buried targets. The bombs stay intact upon impact, penetrate deep into the interior of the target and are delayed detonated by the fuses.

Italian air force stands up new Eurofighter unit

The Eurofighter combat aircraft has entered service with the Italian air force's 18 Sqn at Trapani-Birgi air base in Sicily, with the unit having been reformed following the phasing-out of its last Lockheed Martin F-16s in May.

Part of the air force's 37th Wing, 18 Sqn will be responsible for defending Italy's national airspace, alongside the service's 4th Wing at Grosseto and 36th Wing at Gioia del Colle.

The service says the unit was stood up on 18 October, with other sources saying that it has received at least eight aircraft, including four from each of its previously established Eurofighter wings.

Iraqi Air Force signs contract for second batch of F-16 fighters

The Iraqi Government has signed a contract with the US for the acquisition of a second batch of 18 F-16 C/D Block 52 Fighting Falcon multi-role fighter jets, the country's acting defence minister Sadoun al-Dulaimi has revealed.

Speaking after a meeting with US officials in Baghdad, al-Dulaimi told Reuters that the new contract forms part of an original multi-billion deal agreed between the two countries for procurement of a total of 36 aircraft to help rebuild the Iraqi Air Force (IQAF).

"The contract is no different from the first contract in terms of the technical and financial details," al-Dulaimi added.

An unidentified US embassy spokesman in Baghdad also told the news agency that a letter of acceptance (LOA) for the second batch of aircraft had been presented to Iraq by the US Government.

"The United States would welcome Iraqi acceptance as another important step in our growing bilateral security assistance relationship," the spokesman added.

The IQAF, which is considered as the most ill-equipped branch of the country's armed forces, had signed an approximately $3bn deal with US for delivery of 18 F-16 aircraft, including 12 C and six D models, along with engines and support equipment in September 2012.

USAF issues RFP for combat rescue helicopter programme

The US Air Force (USAF) has floated a request for proposal (RFP) for the combat rescue helicopter (CRH) programme, which is designed to replace its ageing Sikorsky-built HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter fleet.

Posted by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition (SAF/AQ), the RFP details an integrated, capability-based, best-value approach, and also features specific factors for assessment of capabilities and inherent risks in each offer.

The RFP also highlights four programme requirements, which include hover performance, combat radius, payload and cabin space.

A scaled-back version of the air force's previously cancelled CSAR-X programme, the CRH programme seeks the production and delivery of 112 search and rescue aircraft at a not-to-exceed cost of $6.848bn.

The aircraft will primarily be deployed for personnel recovery operations in hostile locations, humanitarian missions, civil search and rescue, disaster relief, casualty and medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), as well as non-combatant evacuation operations.


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