Monday, December 31, 2012

Army’s Kiowa Warrior helos undergoing sensor upgrades

The Army’s OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter is getting a multimillion-dollar makeover that includes moving its distinctive top-mounted “beach ball” sensor to the aircraft’s nose — all the better for peering down at enemy forces in urban environments.
Lt. Col. Mathew Hannah, the Army’s Kiowa project manager, said the upgrades, which cost $4 million each, are under way, with the first modified Kiowa scheduled to fly in April.
Hannah did not comment on a recent Reuters report that suggested the Pentagon may spend $6 billion to $8 billion on a replacement for the Kiowa, but he said the upgrades will significantly extend the life of an aircraft that’s been neglected in recent years because it was, until recently, marked for retirement.
Kiowa Warriors, armed with rockets, missiles and machine guns, are the oldest scout helicopters in the Army, with an average age of 41 years, said Hannah, who’s been flying them for 20 years.
Their top-mounted sensors were designed for Cold War missions where the aircraft hid behind trees and searched for enemy tanks by flying just high enough to raise the sensor above the branches, Hannah said.
“The mission for the OH-58 hasn’t changed over time, but the enemy has changed,” he said last week. “We are still an armed reconnaissance platform, and our mission is to conduct surveillance and assist the ground commander with troops in contact.”
Kiowas have accounted for 47 percent of the attack helicopters deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan but they’ve flown 52 percent of missions because ground commanders and troops in contact prefer them to alternatives such as the AH-64 Apache, Hannah said.

Al Qaeda Announced Its Dissolution Today, Citing The Success Of The U.S. Congress In Destroying The U.S. Economy As It's Main Reason

Al Qaeda Disbands; Says Job of Destroying U.S. Economy Now in Congress’s Hands

The international terror group known as Al Qaeda announced its dissolution today, saying that “our mission of destroying the American economy is now in the capable hands of the U.S. Congress.” In an official statement published on the group’s website, the current leader of Al Qaeda said that Congress’s conduct during the so-called “fiscal-cliff” showdown convinced the terrorists that they had been outdone.
“We’ve been working overtime trying to come up with ways to terrorize the American people and wreck their economy,” said the statement from Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. “But even we couldn’t come up with something like this.”
Mr. al-Zawhiri said that the idea of holding the entire nation hostage with a clock ticking down to the end of the year “is completely insane and worthy of a Bond villain.”
“As terrorists, every now and then you have to step back and admire when someone else has beaten you at your own game,” he said. “This is one of those times.”

Failure Threatens Afghan Police Training Mission

Failure Threatens Afghan Police Training Mission
German officials have been training police in Afghanistan for a decade, but a visit to their training center in Mazar-e-Sharif creates major doubts about the effectiveness of the mission. Afghan police remain poorly prepared to tackle the mighty challenges they will face as Western forces withdraw.
The Afghan national sport is called buzkashi. It's a game in which horsemen battle over a goat carcass. There are no established teams.
During a match, the competitors forge brief, continuously shifting alliances. They only work together until they have gained a short-term advantage. The game can last for hours, even days. The winner is the rider who manages to carry the carcass to the goal. Buzkashi is a mirror of Afghan society.
By contrast, the German police officers who train local recruits in Afghanistan have brought soccer balls and nets to their base in Mazar-e-Sharif. Football is all about teamwork and team spirit. The goal is to form a team and achieve an objective together.
In a corner of the training center, on a patch of parched earth, there is now a soccer field where the next generation of Afghan police officers is learning the game.
"What we want to achieve with the recruits is a change in mentality," says a German instructor. More team spirit, a better sense of community, more loyalty. More soccer, less buzkashi.
Over the past 10 years, Germany has instructed some 56,000 Afghan police officers at four training centers in the region. The training is part of Germany's responsibility as a member of NATO, and so far the project has cost some €380 million ($503 million). As many as 200 German police officers are regularly stationed in Afghanistan, most of them in Mazar-e-Sharif.
But anyone who accompanies the German security aid workers for a few days is bound to doubt the mission's effectiveness after observing the mood among the officers and reading between the lines of official statements. Even now, when Western security forces have entered their 11th year of training, the police in Afghanistan don't stand for public order and security -- but rather for helplessness, arbitrariness and corruption.

A New Chinese Threat Against U.S. Aircraft Carriers?

China Buys Tu-22 Production Line From Russia. A Major Threat To The U.S. Aircraft Carriers In The Region 

For the third time in 7 years (first one being in 2005, second earlier in 2012) several websites in China (link in Chinese) are reporting that China and Russia have agreed for Beijing to buy the production line for the Tupolev Tu-22M3 bomber at a cost of 1.5 billion USD.
Once in service with the Chinese Naval Air Forces the Tu-22M3 will be known as the “H-10″.
The deal struck with Russia comes with 36 aircraft (and engines): an initial batch of 12 followed by a second batch of 24 aircraft are thought to be on order.
The Tu-22 will be employed in the maritime attack role and will be used to attack targets from low level (to avoid radar detection).
The Tu-22 is a Soviet supersonic, swing-wing, long-range strategic and maritime strike bomber. It was developed during the Cold War and it is among the farthest things to a moder stealth bomber. However, it was upgraded, it will get updated with (indigenous?) systems and, with a range of about 6,800 kilometers and a payload of 24,000 kg, it is still considered a significant threat to many latest generations weapon systems.

Now even top officials in the Kabul government vow to kill Americans

The fate of the Americans in Afghanistan will be worse than that of the Russians,” Mohammed Ismail Khan warned in 2009. The same Afghan is now vowing to drive all “foreigners” out of Afghanistan.
More bluster from a Taliban leader? Hardly. Khan serves as Afghanistan’s energy minister, and is a key member of American ally Hamid Karzai’s cabinet.
In a videotaped meeting last month with jihadists in Herat Province, Khan slammed the US for bringing “American girls, white-skinned Western soldiers and black-skinned American soldiers” into Afghanistan. He called on the “mujahideen” to take up arms and attack them like they did the Soviet “invaders” in the 1980s.
Though his threatening remarks were quickly dismissed by the Afghan government, they should not be taken lightly — especially with American soldiers increasingly vulnerable to insider attacks by Afghans.                                              
Khan has lethal experience launching such attacks. In March 1979, Khan, then a captain in the Afghan army, orchestrated the murder of 50 Soviet military advisers and 300 of their family members in Herat Province. He decapitated many of them and had their heads paraded on spikes through the city.
The atrocity marked the opening salvo of the rebellion which led to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979.
The US Army recently cited Khan’s treachery as an example of “green-on-blue attacks” that “were common and costly to the Soviet army” during its occupation of Afghanistan. It warned that Khan is “now the Afghan government’s minister of energy.”
The Army published the account in February 2012 and distributed it to soldiers serving in Afghanistan as part of an “Official Use Only” handbook, titled, “Inside the Wire Threats — Afghanistan.” The 35-page handbook also notes that Soviet attempts to train and stand up an Afghan army to fight insurgents failed miserably. “The Afghan army was an unreliable ally,” it said. “It faced constant defections from the start, as not only individuals and units but also whole divisions went over to the mujahideen, taking their personal kit and rifles as well as tanks and armored vehicles.”
Added the report: “The original Soviet plan to push the Afghan army into the field to combat the mujahideen fell by the wayside. The Afghan army’s limited numbers, lack of training, and questionable loyalties made this project too risky to implement.”

1056 Afghan soldiers killed in 2012: Defense officials

The security transition from NATO troops to Afghan security forces which started last year is due to complete in five phases following a pre-planned organized program.
Despite Afghan security forces are in charge of over 75% of the Afghan soil security, Afghan officials are continuously expressing concerns regarding the lack of proper military equipments which creates challenges for the Afghan security forces.
In the meantime increased Afghan army troops casualties is another challenge being faced by Afghan national army where over 1000 service members have been killed during the year.
Afghan defense ministry spokesman Gen. Zahir Azimi on Sunday told reporters, “At least 906 Afghan national army soldiers have been killed during the past 9 months, and a total of 1056 Afghans troops have been killed during the year 2012 which shows an increase as compared to 2011.”
An Afghan military analyst Faqir Mohammad Faqir said increased attacks by militants is one of the main reason behind Afghan army casualties.
He said, “Whenever the other party involved in war increases activities then it will naturally increase the casualties but I think the Afghan troops should trained well, must be disciplined and equipped with modern weapons in a bid to reduce the growing casualties.”
Mr. Faqir also insisted that further works should be done in order to prevent Afghan army troops to lose their morale.

Navy issues hurry-up order to equip MQ-8 Fire Scout unmanned helicopter with maritime surveillance radar

Asian Defence NewsU.S. Navy officials have issued an urgent order to equip the service's MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned helicopter with the Telephonics Corp. RDR-1700 maritime-surveillance radar system.
The Northrop Grumman Corp. MQ-8 Fire Scout is a rotorcraft unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) deployed on Navy frigates, littoral combat ships, and other surface combatants for reconnaissance, situational awareness, and precision targeting.
Officials of the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., awarded the Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems segment in San Diego a $33.3 million contract earlier this month to install the Telephonics RDR-1700 maritime-surveillance radar on nine Fire Scout UAVs.
Navy officials say they want the quick-turnaround contract completed within one year. The hurry-up order comes from the chief of naval operations under terms of an urgent operational needs statement (UONS), as part of a rapid-deployment capability (RDC) radar program for the MQ-8B Fire Scout.
The radar system for the Fire Scout consists of the Telephonics RDR-1700 radar system, modified MQ-8B radome, and interfaces into the helicopter UAV and its control station.
Northrop Grumman is the original manufacturer of the Fire Scout, and is the only source able to integrate a complex radar payload into the existing Fire Scout unmanned helicopter within the required time, Navy officials say.
Northrop Grumman designed the key interfaces to integrate the radar on the Fire Scout, which will require modifications to the Fire Scout payload interface unit software. Northrop Grumman owns the data rights to the Fire Scout's data link control processor software, which must be modified as part of this project, officials say.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Venezuela Is Now More Dangerous Than Afghanistan

venezuela, the most violent country in South America, recorded a new high of 21,692 murders this year along with a surge in kidnappings, prison riots and random shootings.


The number of victims was up by 12 per cent from last year when there were 19,336 deaths, the Venezuelan Violence Observatory said in its annual report.
High profile killings included that of a three year-old child, Edgar Torres, who was fired on 10 times while he was asleep in bed, after a gunman had come in to kill a teenage relative.
In August more than 20 people were killed in a battle between two heavily armed groups inside the Yare I prison. More than 300 prisoners died in Venezuelan jails in the first half of the year.
The Mexican ambassador Carlos Pujalte and his wife were seized from their car in a wealthy area of Caracas and held for several hours before being released alive in a slum in January.
Unlike other Latin American countries Venezuela is not involved in a drug war or on-going battle with guerrillas.

Iran to test indigenous, high-power missiles, torpedoes in naval drill’

A senior Iranian commander says indigenous missiles and torpedoes with great precision and high destructive power will be tested during the ongoing Velayat 91 naval drills.

“Domestic missiles and torpedoes with greater range, precision and destructive power compared to materiel used in last year’s drill wills be tested during the Velayat 91 naval exercises,” Rear Admiral Amir Rastegari, spokesman for the drills, said on Friday.

Iran’s Navy launched the six-day naval maneuvers on Friday in order to display the country’s capabilities to defend its maritime borders and maintain durable peace in the region.

The exercises cover a vast area including the Strait of Hormuz, the Sea of Oman, north of the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Aden and Bab-el-Mandeb Strait.

The commander described using overhauled super-heavy Tareq 901 submarine as the turning point of the exercises.

Raytheon Awarded $169 Million for Zumwalt Work

the U.S. Department of Defense announced it has awarded Raytheon a contract modification to its previously awarded fixed-price incentive, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to install mission systems equipment on the ultramodern Zumwalt-class destroyers DDG 1000 and DDG 1001 (the USS Zumwalt  and the USS Michael Monsoor, respectively), as well as "non-hatchable mission systems equipment" on a planned DDG 1002 -- the USS Lyndon B. Johnson.
At present, only three destroyers are anticipated to be built in the Zumwalt line, ultimately costing taxpayers some $3.3 billion apiece. The current Raytheon contract, however, is "not to exceed" $169 million in value. The ships themselves are being built by defense contractors General Dynamics and Huntington Ingalls .

Military Trucks from KIA

The Philippine’s defense chief says the government has signed separate contracts worth 163 billion pesos (about $39 million) with Italian and South Korean companies to supply helicopters and trucks as part of efforts to modernize its poorly equipped military.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said Thursday the Philippines will purchase three multi-purpose AW 109 helicopters for its navy from AugustaWestland SPA of Italy amounting to 1.33 billion pesos ($32 million).

He says Kia Motors Corp. will supply 60 field ambulances and 12 trucks all worth 300.78 million ($7.33 million) pesos.

Gazmin says the purchases show the country’s “louder and clearer” intent to modernize its military.

The Philippine military is fighting a decades-long communist insurgency and battling Islamic militants while facing increasing tension over territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Lockheed Wins DoD Contracts Worth as Much $5.6 Billion

Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT) today received Defense Department contracts worth as much as $5.6 billion for 31 additional F-35 jets and the last two of six advanced military communications satellites, the Pentagon said.
The contracts will be immune from the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration taking effect in 2013 if Congress and the White House can’t negotiate an agreement to prevent more than $600 billion in tax increases and the spending reductions. Pentagon officials have said that most contracts awarded before the start of 2013 wouldn’t be reduced.
Lockheed’s Fort Worth, Texas-based Aeronautics unit’s contract for a sixth installment of F-35s can’t exceed $3.67 billion when its final details are hammered out next year. The Pentagon said it also awarded the company’s Sunnyvale, California, Space Systems unit a $1.93 billion contract for the final two Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellites in a constellation of six.
Today’s so-called “undefinitized contract action” for the F-35 doesn’t trigger a $3.67 billion payment to the nation’s largest defense contractor. Instead, it sets a threshold target and obligates an unspecified amount to begin assembly of 18 conventional U.S. Air Force models, seven U.S. Navy variants designed to land on aircraft carriers and six U.S. Marine Corps short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) versions.
Details such as the contract’s target costs, profit, cost ceiling and overrun share line will be completed next year when a final contract price is settled, much as those were for the recently completed, $3.8 billion fifth production contract for 32 jets.

US Soldier Suicides Outnumber Combat Deaths In 2012

American soldier suicides continue to outnumber combat-related deaths in 2012, and the trajectory for soldier suicides continues to get worse.
Statistics released by the Department of the Army show that through November potentially 303 active-duty, Reserve and National Guard soldiers committed suicide. As of Dec. 7, Stars and Stripes reports that 212 soldiers have died in combat-related deaths in Afghanistan.
The Army set a grim new record of 177 potential active-duty cases with 2012 coming to a close on Tuesday – 64 of these cases remain under investigation, 113 have been confirmed.
In June of this year, The Pentagon reported there had been at least 154 suicides among active-duty troops – a rate of nearly one each day. The number of suicides continues to increase despite numerous new training and awareness programs put into effect in the past few years.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta stated on Nov. 12 that the Obama administration will cease combat operations by the end of 2014, but it is still refining its timeline for withdrawing the remaining 68,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
“So we’re dealing with broader societal issues,” Panetta said in a June speech. “Substance abuse, financial distress and relationship problems — the risk factors for suicide — also reflect problems … that will endure beyond war.”
A bipartisan group of lawmakers from both the House and the Senate are pushing for new rules that would allow military commanders and mental health specialists to ask unstable troops if they own personal firearms, reports Stars and Stripes.
About 53 percent of those who died by suicide in the military in 2011, the most recent year for which data is available, had no history of deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan, according to the Defense Department. And nearly 85 percent of military members who took their lives had no direct combat history, meaning they may have been deployed but not seen action.
“As part of the Army’s team-based and holistic approach to suicide prevention and stigma reduction, Army chaplains remain committed to fostering a resilient and ready force by enhancing strength, reducing stigma and encouraging help-seeking behaviors,” the Army’s Maj. Gen. Donald L. Rutherford, Chief of Chaplains, said in the Department of Defense press release “Our soldiers, families and civilians are our most precious resource, and the chaplaincy embodies the best of our Army values when it proclaims hope, embraces community, and stands with those who feel they stand alone.”

Iran Starts Six-Day Hormuz Strait Drill to Show ‘Readiness’

Iran’s naval forces started a six- day military exercise around the Strait of Hormuz, a chokepoint for 20 percent of the world’s traded oil, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
The drill, which covers a large area extending to the Sea of Oman and the north of the Indian Ocean, is aimed at “displaying the readiness of armed and naval forces to defend Iran’s waterway and national interests,” Iranian Navy Commander Habibollah Sayari said today according to IRNA. The exercise will involve testing defensive and missile systems, combat vessels and submarines, Sayari said on Dec. 25.
Iran is entangled in a conflict with world powers over its nuclear program, which they say may be intended to develop atomic weapons, a charge the Persian Gulf country rejects. Israel has said that “all options are on the table” to stop Iran from building a weapon, including a military offensive.
Iran regularly announces progress in its domestically built military equipment and routinely holds military exercises to display its readiness in the face of perceived threats by the U.S. and Israel. Iranian military

Middle East And North Africa Are Teetering On The Brink

Apocalypse Not Quite Yet

Notwithstanding sundry doomsday predictions—from the Mayans to Nostradamus and the ever-impending threat of Armageddon—we can now say with some assurance that the world did not end in 2012. The Middle East, however, continues to fl irt with the apocalypse. The revolutions, conflagrations, and confrontations now underway from the Sahara to the Hindu Kush are weakening national governments and calling into question borders that have lingered since European powers carved up the region after World War I. What is holding the map together now has more to do with fear than it does with hope, and if the old order fails, many in the Middle East suspect there may be no order left at all.The region has had a very strange respect for territorial lines and borders,” says Aaron David Miller at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington. But those lines signified a “perverse stability,” Miller says. What kept people in line was tyranny. Some dictators may have been “acquiescent” in the eyes of the West, like Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, or “adversarial” like the Assads. But they “are going the way of the dodo,” says Miller. “I am not saying the region is headed for a catastrophic meltdown, but we are at one of those hinges of history when profound changes are taking place that we are singularly ill-equipped to understand.”

The Fiscal Cliff Will End The Era Of The U.S. As A Superpower

As our 2013 forecast series continues, American Enterprise Institute scholar and frequent AOL contributor MacKenzie Eaglen takes a grim look at the strategic consequences of the fiscal cliff. The nation is heading over the fiscal cliff, an economic triple threat -- tax hikes, spending cuts, and, soon thereafter, the debt limit -- that has been forecasted by government agencies to throw us back into recession. Fix that, and government funding may still run out in March when the current continuing resolution expires, since Congress never got around to passing the 2013 appropriations bills. Tasked with solving these successive crises is the same President and, with modest changes, the same status quo Congress that failed to fix them last year. It's exhausting, living constantly on the edge.

While the prospect of large additional military spending cuts seemed to make more headlines before November's elections, the specter of sequestration has taken a back seat to the larger fight about taxes (both reform and rates). But it was always designed to turn out this way. President Obama held all the cards in crafting the BCA (as evidenced by his proposal, creation and inclusion of the sequester in the debt ceiling deal), and he has the most leverage to now unwind it. Or not.

Sequestration was always wrapped around the tax axle; an issue subordinate to the larger debate on spending, debt, and revenues. Still, reality bites, and it is slowly setting in across the river.

The big questions for Pentagon planners as Washington looks ahead to 2013 are: (1) When will the next budget for 2014 be revised downward to meet a post-sequester target? and, (2) Is the next QDR strategy going to simply be a rubber stamp for the pivot to Asia, or will it become a new one-war strategy that is the inevitable outcome of a sequestered military per the Joint Chiefs?

All Of Afghanistan's Cargo Planes Are To be Scrapped

US scraps entire fleet of Afghan cargo planes

 The U.S. military is scrapping the Afghan air force’s entire fleet of Italian-made cargo planes, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

U.S. and Afghan officials told the paper that the Afghan military isn’t expected to have an independent and fully functioning air force until around 2017, well after the withdrawal of most U.S. and international troops.
On the west end of Kabul International Airport, twin-engine C-27As sit side by side, sunlight reflecting off their gray wings and the green, black, and red of the Afghan flag emblazoned on their tails. For more than a year, though, most of the planes had been little more than expensive aviation exhibitions, unable to fly due to lack of spare parts and maintenance.
Now, despite spending nearly $600 million on the program, the U.S. is canceling the contract for the aircraft and disposing of all 16 planes delivered to the Afghan Air Force, the Journal reported.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Iran's navy to continue presence in international waters - commander

Islamic Republic of Iran's Navy (IRIN) would continue its presence in international waters, Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said here on Thursday.

He made the remarks in an interview with IRNA in Bandar Abbas on Thursday. .

'Several countries are present in the international waters and IRIN's presence there which aims to provide security of trade ships and oil tankers proves its capabilities; the world has accepted the power of IRIN and its scientific progress in construction of new marine equipments.'

The Iranian Navy has been conducting anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden since November 2008, when Somali raiders hijacked the Iranian-chartered cargo ship, MV Delight, off the coast of Yemen.

According to UN Security Council resolutions, different countries can send their warships to the Gulf of Aden and coastal waters of Somalia against the pirates and even with prior notice to Somali government enter the territorial waters of that country in pursuit of Somali sea pirates.

The Gulf of Aden - which links the Indian Ocean with the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea - is an important energy corridor, particularly because Persian Gulf oil is shipped to the West through the Suez Canal.

PH protests Chinese patrol vessel

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) called on China to respect the territorial sovereignty of the Philippines after Beijing sent its first patrol vessel to areas claimed by Manila.
"The Philippines strongly objects to Chinese patrols of Philippine maritime domain in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea)," DFA spokesperson Raul Hernandez said in a statement on Friday, December 28.
Hernandez added that the presence of patrol vessels in disputed areas "will not validate the 9-Dash line [map] and is contrary to China's obligations under international law," including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
State-of-the-art patrol vessel
Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday that a state-of-the-art patrol boat equipped with helipad, the first of its kind in the region, had been dispatched to the South China Sea.
This was ahead of the new Sansha City administration-enforced rules to take effect on January 1.
In late November, China said it had granted its border patrol police the right to board and turn away foreign ships entering the disputed waters, raising fears of a confrontation.
Sansha's jurisdiction covers part of the Philippines' 200-nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zone.

PCG Not Expecting New Ships in 2013

Ten 40-meter MRRVs to be used by the Philippine Coast Guard expected to arrive in 2014.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said yesterday it is not expecting to receive additional ships in 2013, but the Aquino administration is purchasing at least 10 new vessels that are scheduled to arrive at least by 2014.
“Since all of the ships to be purchased by the Coast Guard are brand new, it would take some months to construct. So hopefully, by 2014 they would start arriving,” PCG commandant Rear Admiral Rodolfo Isorena said.
When he took over as PCG chief last Dec. 14, Isorena said one of his priorities is to improve the agency’s capabilities.
He said Malacañang has given its approval to procure 10 40-meter search and rescue vessels from Japan that will be delivered within three years, from 2014 until 2017.

Contract for Acquisition of Naval Helicopters Signed

DND Office for Public Affairs | 27 December 2012 - The contract of agreement for the acquisition of three naval helicopters was signed at the Department of National Defense last December 20, 2012.
With a contract price of PhP 1, 337,176,584.00 and signed between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and supplier AugustaWestland S.P.A, the acquisition project was done under negotiated procurement through Section 53.2 (Emergency Procurement) of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of R.A. 9184.
“The acquisition of these naval helicopters is one concrete step towards the fulfillment of our goal to modernize the Philippine Navy, and our Armed Forces in general,” Defense Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin said.
On November 28, 2012, AugustaWestland was declared by the Naval Helicopter Acquisition Project (NHAP) Negotiating Committee as the single calculated and responsive proponent after going through the process of a negotiated procurement.
The Italian Ministerio Della Difesa conducted a review of AugustaWestland’s proposal for the procurement of AW 109 Power Helicopter, including related logistic support and found out that the price per helicopter “seems to have been progressively reduced”, meaning they were sold cheaper.

Y-20 Transport Emerges

It was hardly on the level of the J-20's appearance two years ago, but the advent of the Xian J-20 transport over the Christmas holidays was nonetheless important. If nothing else, it's the third all-new Chinese military aircraft to emerge in two years, a pace of innovation unknown since the Cold War. It is also by far the largest indigenously developed Chinese aircraft.
A lot of people are pointing out that the Y-20 looks a lot like most other military jet cargo aircraft, as indeed it does, because few people so far have successfully diverted from the formula that Lockheed-Georgia used with the C-141.
The aircraft is roughly the size of the Il-76 and uses the same engines for now (Saturn D-30KPs, also imported for the H-6K bomber). It is widely predicted that the production version will have a Chinese-produced high-bypass-ratio engine. Other significant details are yet to be revealed, including the design of the landing gear and the high-lift system, which determine the aircraft's ability to use short and soft runways.
Some see the Y-20 as the start of a family of special-purpose variants, including an all-domestic airborne early warning and control aircraft, but a large military transport - relatively heavy and draggy - is not really an optimized platform for AEW. The Soviets used the Il-76 because it was the best they had. 

K-15 all set to join Arihant

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) ends 2012 on an upbeat note, successfully launching the underwater missile K-15 off the Visakhapatnam coast on Wednesday. The missile darted 20 km into the air, after a gas generator ejected it from the pontoon that lay submerged a few scores of metres in the Bay of Bengal, and sped 650 km before splashing into the sea in its 11th flight trial.
After one more flight, the two-stage missile will be integrated with Arihant, India’s nuclear-powered submarine, and test-fired from the ship. “It is a fantastic system. It is a very powerful and accurate system,” said A.K. Chakrabarti, Programme Director, K-15, and Director of the Hyderabad-based Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), which designed and developed the missile.
“India is the fifth country to have an underwater launch system. The other countries are the U.S., Russia, France and China,” he said.
Avinash Chander, Chief Controller (Missiles and Strategic Systems), DRDO, termed it “a good flight” and said the test “formed part of the pre-production clearance.” Twelve K-15 missiles, each 10 metres long and weighing six tonnes and capable of carrying nuclear warheads, will form part of the deadly arsenal of Arihant, which is powered by an 80-MWt reactor that uses enriched uranium as fuel and light water as coolant and moderator.

US considers granting missile ships to Turkey

A recent bill has been submitted to the U.S. House of Representatives that would authorize President Barack Obama to grant the provision of guided missile-firing naval vessels to Turkey, along with several other countries, including Thailand and Mexico.
Under the motion, Turkey may receive the USS Halyburton (FFG–40) and the USS Thach (FFG–43) ships.
The move comes at a time when Turkey is bidding to develop its national corvettes and frigates along with missiles.
SOM, the stand-off cruise against both land and sea targets, is one example.
The bill has angered the Washington-based Hellenic-American Leadership Council (HALC), which has

Thursday, December 27, 2012

We're learning from Astute submarine flaws, admiral promises

The head of the Royal Navy's submarine programme has told the Guardian that his team discovered design faults, technical problems and flaws in the construction of the multibillion-pound Astute class boats, but said he was still confident it would enter service on time next year.
In a frank interview in which he spoke in detail for the first time about the challenges of launching the submarines, Admiral Simon Lister also admitted the military should not have boasted about the boats' top speed.
It was not unusual, he said, for the first of a class to be "a difficult birth", but he added that the Astute was now the most tested boat in the navy. Lister insisted that lessons were being learned and that changes were already being made to Astute's sister boats, which are due to come into service over the next decade.
He said he was feeding these modifications into the blueprints now on the drawing board for the submarines, dubbed Successor, to carry the Trident replacement.
Lister said he wished none of the problems on the Astute had occurred, but they were being dealt with and safety had not been compromised. "I wish none of them had happened. I wish I could buy a submarine as if it was a Mercedes-Benz coming off the production line after 10 years of product development. It isn't that.
"What I would say is that the speed and the quality of the activity to put things right is second to none. The ambition to bring Astute into service in perfect order so that she is able to enter service within three months of exiting the shipyard, if anyone thinks that's possible, they would be mistaken. A nuclear submarine is a

Saudi Arabia National Guard ordered 68 MPCV air defense vehicles from French company Lohr

According to French financial daily "Les Echos", the Saudi Arabian National Guard ordered 68 MPCV air defense vehicles from French company Lohr. Very little information is avaiblable on this specific vehicle, however Army Recognition saw it during Eurosatory 2012 back in June. We are therefore able to provide some details on this little-known vehicle.

The MPCV (Multi-Purpose Combat Vehicle), based on a Mercedes Unimog 5000 chassis, is an armored high-mobility 4x4 vehicle offered by SOFRAME (Lohr group). It is designed for a crew of four to ten men depending on its configuration and missions.

The version that has been ordered by Saudi Arabia National Guard is fitted with an MBDA turret which comprises:
» MBDA's MISTRAL 2 Surface-to-Air missiles
» A12.7mm self-defence machine gun
» An electro-optic sensor suite
» A fire control system
» Communication systems

MPCV, with four ready-to-fire Mistral 2 missiles (plus 4 additional munitions inside the vehicle), permits the interception of manoeuvring air targets at ranges exceeding 6 km and altitudes exceeding 3,000 m. The very-high mobility and short reaction time (2 seconds) provides this vehicle configuration with excellent air defence capabilities against saturating threats: a unit of four MPCVs can engage up to 16 different targets coming from any direction in less than 15 seconds. The system is also well adapted to the protection of deployed units or convoys, not only through its performance in autonomous detection and identification (integrated IFF) but also thanks to its capability to lock-on to targets and fire if required even when the vehicle is on the move.

Indian Army plans to equip 1,600 T-72 tanks with advanced night- fighting capabilities

The Army, having long suffered from deficiencies in night fighting electro-optical equipment, is set to make up critical deficiencies.

Following footsteps of paramilitary forces and the National Security Guard (NSG), who have gone in for accelerated purchase of night vision devices after the 26/11 terrorist attack in Mumbai, the armed forces are now taking steps to improve their night fighting capabilities, according to Frontier India News Network.
Army chief Gen Deepak Kapoor, had said in 2010 that “Indian Army’s tanks have a night vision capability of 20 percent while Pakistani’s have 80 percent and China has 100 percent”.
The armed forces will review their doctrine, capabilities and shortcomings and also identify latest trends and technologies at a two-day seminar “Night Vision India 2013? on 16-17 January.
The Centre for Land Warfare Studies, a think tank of the Indian Army is organising the seminar at the Air Force Auditorium here in collaboration with IMR Media, a publishing and event organising company.
Delegates from the three Services will discuss tactics, techniques, and procedures that maximize our night-fighting technological advantages while countering the enemy’s night capabilities.
The Army’s objective is to equip over 1,600 T-72 tanks which form the backbone of the country’s armoured forces, with advanced night fighting capabilities. The Army’s case for acquiring 700 TISAS (thermal imaging stand alone systems) and 418 TIFACS (thermal fire control systems) for its T-72 fleet at a cost of around $230 million is in various stages of the procurement process. 300 Israeli TISAS were imported, followed by 3,860 image intensifier-based night-vision devices. A huge requirement persists. 310 T-90S main-battle tanks (MBTs) were imported from Russia and fitted with French Catherine TI cameras.
Indian Army T-72 Ajeya Tank on Display According to Major General RK Arora, ediotr of Indian Military Review magazine, Army also requires hand held thermal imaging (HHTI) sights (with laser range finder) for infantry, armoured, air defence, artillery and engineer regiments. The infantry is also looking for TI sights for medium machine guns and sniper rifles. RFIs for night sights for AK-47 assault rifles and other small arms have also been issued.

A Hercules aircraft PAF Merge Back Completed Early 2013

A Hercules C-130B aircraft with tail number 3633 have completed the treatment done in Depo 410th Maintenance Wing in Clark Air Base, Philippines and will rejoin the Philippines Air Force operational in early 2013.

Earlier in October 2012, one plane H ercules C-130H with tail number (tail number) 7607 also handed back terimakan completed the treatment and improvement in BAE Systems' facilities are located in Mojave, California.

With the completion of treatment and improvement was the then current Air Force aircraft Philippines has three operational Hercules, another C-130H Hercules is the tail number 4726.

The Hercules aircraft operated by the 222nd Airlift Squadron from the 220th Airlift Wing located at   Benito Ebuen Air Base, Lapu-Lapu, Cebu.

Philippines Air Force used to have 13 aircraft consisting of eight Hercules C-130B, 1 L-100, 2 L-100-20 and 2 C130H.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Iran launches naval drills in Persian Gulf's gas fields

Iran's Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) launched a naval exercise in the Persian Gulf on Tuesday.
According to the Press TV, the drills, code-named Fajr-91 (Dawn- 91) and planned to last four days, are conducted in the area of South Pars gas field in the Persian Gulf.
The South Pars/North Dome field is a natural gas condensate field located in the Persian Gulf, and is the world's largest gas field shared between Iran and Qatar.
The naval exercise includes simulation of various situations involving land, land-to-sea and commando missions.
An IRGC commander was quoted as saying Tuesday that the maneuver aims at evaluating the defense capabilities of the troops stationed in the region against potential threats.
Admiral Alireza Nasseri added that the drills also focus on psychological warfare and countering techniques commonly employed by the enemies, according to the report.
On Tuesday, Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said that Iranian army will also start a six-day naval drill in the country's southern waters on Friday, semi-official Fars news agency reported.
The drill, to be held in the Strait of Hormuz, the Sea of Oman and north of the Indian Ocean, will cover an area of 1 million square kilometers, the commander was quoted as saying.
In the drill dubbed Velayat 91, or Guardianship 91, defensive and missile systems, combat vessels and submarines will be tested, said the commander, adding that naval exercises to confront the enemy's threats and to enhance the battle preparedness are among the aims of the drill.
On Dec. 24, 2011, Iran held the 10-day Velayat 90 naval drill in its southern waters, including the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman, aiming at demonstrating the combat readiness and ability of the country's naval forces to defend its territorial waters.

US to sell $1.2bn in spy drones to S. Korea

The Pentagon has informed Congress of its plans to sell four Global Hawk high-altitude spy drones to South Korea. Under the deal Seoul’s surveillance capabilities would be greatly improved, even though the US DoD itself wanted to retire the aircraft.
­The US Department of Defense wants to sell four of the Block 30 version of the RQ-4 Global Hawk aircraft to Seoul under the Foreign Military Sales program. It formally notified Congress of the proposed deal, which is estimated to worth $1.2 billion, reports the Pentagon-affiliated Defense Security Cooperation Agency.
The deal would include “associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support”. The military says it would go in line with the transition of intelligence gathering mission from the US-led Combined Forces Command to South Korea’s own troops in 2015. South Korea hosts almost 30,000 American troops, which take on many tasks requiring use of advanced technology.
The RQ-4 Global Hawk is Northrop Grumman’s unmanned reconnaissance aircraft currently operated by the US and Germany. It fills in the same role as Cold War era Lockheed U-2 all-weather intelligence gathering.
Congress may block the deal, but diplomatic sources told the Korean news agency Yonhap that American lawmakers are likely not to oppose the sale.
Previously the US was apparently reluctant to provide Seoul with the advanced spying capabilities of the Global Hawk, the agency says. The drones can survey landscape with its radar and optical sensors through clouds while flying up to 20km high.

New Chinese destroyer ready for debut, report says

The appearance of a picture of China’s second Type 052D guided missile destroyer on the Internet recently has aroused speculation in China that the nation’s most advanced version of the warship is ready for the sea.
The TV station HBTV in Hubei Province reported that the vessel in the picture was decorated with Chinese flags and other trappings suggesting it was ready for launch.
It is not unusual for China to release pictures of its new self-developed weapons to Internet users before confirming their existence, HBTV said.
Political commentator Zhang Bin (張斌) told HBTV that the launch of the destroyer would be a milestone in China’s naval buildup, as it would send a veiled warning to other countries, especially Japan, which is embroiled in a territorial dispute with China over the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台), known in Japan as the Senkakus.
The man likely to become Japan’s next prime minister, Shinzo Abe, said after his party won the Dec. 16 parliamentary elections, that Japan’s sovereignty over the Diaoyutais is beyond dispute, Zhang said, but the launch of China’s second Type 052D destroyer would force Abe to lower his voice when making similar claims in future.
The timing of the appearance of the picture on the Internet after Abe’s remarks could not be a coincidence, Zhang said.
He said that a picture of China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, appeared on the Internet on Sept. 25, shortly after US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta visited Beijing.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Turkey Orders Nearly 10 Dozen Sidewinder Missiles

The up-arming of NATO ally Turkey continues. In recent weeks, the country, which shares a border with war-wracked Syria, has requested deployment  of multiple batteries of Patriot surface-to-air missiles from Germany, the Netherlands, and the U.S., to protect its southern border. Now it appears to be buying more weapons directly from the U.S. to further beef up its armed forces.
On Monday, the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced that it has notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the government of Turkey. If approved by Congress, Raytheon (NYSE: RTN  ) will sell the Turkish armed forces some 117 advanced AIM-9X-2 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, along with related training and launching equipment. In total, the value of this arms deal is $140 million.

March 1912, the birth of the French Military Aviation

Journal of Air Force on the ground Villacoublay, September 27, 1912
In this photo, the six Breguet, one in the foreground, type R, the following type G.

"Article 1 - The Military Aerospace is responsible for the study, acquisition or construction, and implementation of air navigation equipment suitable for the military, such as balloons, airplanes, kites . It provides administration and mobilization training assigned to service these machines and personnel training.

Article 2 - The Military Aerospace includes: 1 / a crew, 2 / troops; 3 / institutions ... '

These two articles from a statute enacted March 29, 1912 to identify a crucial moment in the history of French military aviation. They indeed establish the birth of military aviation marks, somehow, the first steps of a range of the air weapon. Autonomy that airmen will get very close to the Great War and to which they succeed in December 1922, with the creation of a weapon of aeronautics. A decade later, in April 1933, the claims of proponents of the independent aviation reach their goals, and in July 1934, a law sanction the organization of the new entity in the previous year, the Air Force. Contrary to many misconceptions, the development of military aviation in the few years before the First World War proved an astonishing speed.Discerned. The first airplanes were soon renamed, are hardly acquired by the French army that the problem of subordination arises. After a short period of wandering, they are shared by the old weapons engineering and artillery, these flying machines barely mature soon fall into the lap of the first aircraft structure character ever, inspection of permanent military aircraft, born in October 1910. If it is important, the inspection in question does, however, if this young aviation has no unity of action. Integrated within the engineering directorate where matters concerning processed by many organs of different command and administration, she struggles to find its feet. Its leader, General Roques, convinces the political and military circles to go a little further with the law of 29 March 1912. In establishing military aviation, this legislation gives to aviation a certain autonomy, a relative of course, but autonomy anyway. It is the responsibility of the permanent inspector who reports directly to the Minister and which has power to investigate, buy and build airplanes for the army.

Raytheon to Provide Six ATFLIR for Malaysia's F/A-18C/D

Raytheon Co., SAS, McKinney, Texas, is being awarded a $25,700,000 firm-fixed-price delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-10-G-0006) for the procurement of six Advanced Targeting Forward Looking Infrared (ATFLIR) pods in support of the F/A-18 C/D aircraft for the Government of Malaysia under the Foreign Military Sales Program. 
Work will be performed in McKinney, Texas (90 percent); El Segundo, Calif. (8 percent); Midland, Ontario, Canada (1 percent), and the Harlow, Essex, United Kingdom (1 percent) and is expected to be completed in July 2017.
Contract funds in the amount of $24,289,029 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

Russia test before the French Mistral see if the same build on its soil

While the Russian press stated that the two warships were to be built, not in France as the first two examples, but in Russia, Moscow says it wants to first see operating two ships built in France before taking a decision.

Russia assures. No, she does not renounce the construction on the land of two Mistral warships today an optional firm order for a billion signed in June 2011 on two ships built in France, the sites STX Saint-Nazaire. This was said on Monday the Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, while Russian newspaper Vedomosti on Friday said that the Ministry of Defence decided to give these two projection and command (BPC).

Simple report?

Before taking any decision, the Russian government wants to first test the Mistral built in France. "So far, everything is as expected. Should be the first two ships are finished and see how is going their operations in order to take a final decision," he said.

Z-9 Helicopters to Arrive in April 2013

Choppers Cambodia-bound

Cambodia's air force will be strengthened by the arrival of 12 military helicopters, including four attack choppers, from China next year, government officials said yesterday.
Prak Sokha, a spokesman for the Royal Cambodian Air Force, told the Post yesterday that 25 Cambodian pilots and mechanics were training in China in preparation for the Kingdom receiving the Chinese-made Z-9 helicopters between April and August.
“We expect that by April, some of them will finish their training and will return with two helicopters,” he said.
Of the 12 helicopters, four would be used for fighting purposes, six for general transport and two for transporting high-ranking officials, Sokha said.
These comments echoed earlier reports quoting Royal Cambodian Arm Forces commander Pol Sarouen and Royal Cambodian Air Force commander Soeung Samnang saying similar things.
“What I am not so clear on is whether the Cambodian government has bought these or whether they have been granted to us,” Sokha said.The government, boasting of a new era of cooperation with China, announced in August last year it had struck a deal with the superpower to receive a batch of Z-9 helicopters for $195 million. Media reports at the time suggested a loan from China would cover the cost.
About 100 tanks and 40 armoured personnel carriers, believed to be from Ukraine, arrived at Sihanoukville port in late October, one of the largest single shipments of military vehicles in Cambodia’s recent history.
Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Son Chhay said he was concerned about the percentage of the national budget allocated to military spending and the fact the government was making decisions about purchases without debate in parliament.

Russia and India agree to strengthen military partnership (Putin)

Moscow and New Delhi have agreed to strengthen their military and technical cooperation, said Monday Russian President Vladimir Putin after talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

"We have agreed to continue to strengthen our military and technical partnership and promote new projects developing joint ventures and exchange of technologies," said the Russian leader.

Moreover, Putin also discussed the development of bilateral cooperation in the fields of energy, science and technology and innovation.


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