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Defence Ministers from the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Spain met in Edinburgh, Scotland, on Wednesday 19th November to witness the signing of a €1bn contract for the development of a world-leading electronic radar system for the Eurofighter Typhoon.
South Korea's defence minister on Wednesday supported Seoul's plan to buy Lockheed Martin's F-35s through the U.S. foreign military sales program (FMS), vowing to get a good deal from the reduced number of stealth jets to be purchased.
Boeing and Lockheed Martin announced Oct. 25 that they will team to compete on the U.S. Air Force’s Long-Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) program, with Boeing as the prime contractor and Lockheed Martin as primary teammate.
The South Korean air force has managed to derail the selection of the Boeing F-15SE Silent Eagle for its F-X Phase 3 fighter requirement, instead pushing for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning but again raising doubts about the openness of the country’s combat aircraft competitions.
Defence and security company Saab has received two orders from Hindustan Aeronautic Limited (HAL), India, for serial production of an integrated electronic warfare self-protection system for installation on the Indian Army’s and Air force’s Advanced Light Helicopter.
Boeing's F-15SE Silent Eagle has been selected as the only qualified bidder in South Korea's F-X Phase 3 competition for 60 fighters—but the country's air force is lobbying to overturn the decision in favor of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
Giving a major boost to strategic airlift capabilities of the Air Force, Defence Minister A K Antony will formally induct the 75-80 tonne C-17 heavy-lift transport aircraft into service on September 2 at the Hindon Air Base near New Delhi.
The problem faced by Israeli defence industries is simple or complicated, depending on the angle of sight. On one hand the Israeli defence budget limits the purchase of locally made systems and on the other, the export market has become very difficult mainly because of budget constraints.
The violent thunderstorms and torrential rain that accompanied the opening of this year’s Paris International Air Show provided an appropriate backdrop to the stormy state of the military aerospace market. While civil markets are booming, with the major suppliers facing the enviable challenge of how to increase production to reduce the growing order backlogs extending over half a decade, the climate for new military orders is decidedly chilly.
On 29 April, the French government published its White Paper policy document on defence and national security outlining plans leading up to 2020. The intention is to try and retain as much front line capability as possible despite a need to reduce government spending.
Airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft are force multipliers of the highest degree. A number of Asia-Pacific air forces are introducing new AEW&C platforms while others such as Malaysia aspire to owning them.
If we take all bombs dropped during the jet era, we may discover that most of them were dropped by aircraft made in the US and Western Europe. At the same time, if we image all the air defense missiles fired against those bombers, we may find that the lions share of them originated in the Soviet Union and now Russia.
On May 22 a Defense Acquisition Board approved full-rate production of Raytheon’s Standard Missile-6. Once operational in 2013, the SM-6 will provide U.S. Navy vessels extended range protection against fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles and cruise missiles.
ockheed Martin announced on May 22 that it has successfully conducted the first Engineering, Manufacturing and Development (EMD) flight of the new Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) Alternative Warhead at White Sands Missile Range, N.M.
Boeing announced on May 24 that it has received the first on-orbit signals from the fifth Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) satellite it is delivering to the U.S. Air Force to give warfighters greater access to fast, secure communications that help them complete their missions more safely and effectively.
While presenting the Annual Budget to the Parliament on February 28th, India’s Finance Minister hiked the defence allocation by 5.3% to $37.4 billion to be spent during the financial year 2013-14 starting from April 1st.
Since Defence Review Asia last looked at the sales battles underway to supply replacement fighters to the growing Asia Pacific market, the efforts of the US government to encourage exports of military aircraft have increased noticeably, and with increasing success.
At the 9th International Exhibition on Aerospace, Defence & Civil Aviation AERO INDIA 2013, to be held in Bangalore from February 6 to 10, a Rosoboronexport delegation is to present the latest export models of Russian aviation and air defense equipment
As the Indian Air Force (IAF) celebrates its 80th anniversary, the power and exuberance it exhibits has never seen before. From a mere auxiliary arm of the British Royal Force at its birth on October 08, 1932,
Indian military helicopter procurements are typically murky affairs, often fraught with protracted evaluations, changing user requirements, allegations of flagrant corruption, and whimsical cancellations.
Protestors in the Norwegian capital Oslo recently demonstrated against Europe being collectively awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on the basis that the continent is the world’s second largest defence spender, after the United States.
China said it has successfully landed a J-15 fighter jet on its first aircraft carrier, a move that would help project its growing military power amid simmering maritime disputes with some of its key neighbours.
An air force is only as good as its pilots and training them is a vital part of ensuring combat effectiveness. That is why trainer aircraft are an integral part of any air force, but they can also be used for light attack and surveillance duties
Asia’s ‘second front’ in the US-led Global War on Terror has not been grabbing news headlines in recent months, especially in light of continued high-profile operations in Afghanistan and Pakistani border areas.
The US is a leader in terms of military radio technology, and its Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) was slated to be the crème de la crème with its wide-ranging multipurpose communication capabilities.
When the war of words between Israel and the US on one side and Iran on the other reaches a climax that has the potential to erupt within minutes to real war, Israel is bolstering its capability to intercept ballistic missiles and rockets.
Few countries around the world have gone to the effort of building their own attack helicopters. However, countries in Asia are showing increased interest in these force multipliers - so much so that India and China are developing their own aircraft.
In a major review of the Defence Procurement Procedures (DPP), the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has recently announced its revised Defence Offset Guidelines (DOG), which have come into effect from August 01, 2012. The guidelines have included several new provisions besides modifying and clarifying some of the existing ones.
Boeing's first P-8I aircraft for the Indian Navy began its official flight test program on July 7, taking off from Boeing Field in Seattle at 9:15am and landing three hours and 49 minutes later after demonstrating flying qualities and handling characteristics. The flight went as planned with all test objectives met.
Saab announced on July 10 that is to invest in an advanced training centre for experienced fighter pilots initially from Gripen countries and its user air forces, at Air Force Base Overberg in South Africa.
Airbus Military and MBDA have successfully completed the first flight of the C295 maritime patrol aircraft with an instrumented Marte MK2/S anti-ship inert missile installed under the wing. The flight was the first of a series of trials planned in a joint Airbus Military – MBDA collaboration to validate the aerodynamic integration of Marte on the C295. Subsequent flights will include handling qualities tests and aircraft flight performance tests.
n the closing weeks of 2010 the Royal Air Force was still in a state of shock following the UK government’s announcement of a range of savage defence cuts which had seen the early withdrawal of the Harrier fleet, the ending of the Nimrod 4 programme, and a reduction in Tornado numbers.
ITT Exelis, EADS North America and Cassidian, the defense and security division of EADS, will work together to provide enhanced electronic warfare solutions, particularly in the area of aircraft survivability equipment.
In recent years the presence of Asian visitors in the facilities of major Israeli defence industries has become almost a daily occurrence. But without any doubt, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is the main beneficiary from the appetite of some Asian countries for very advanced weapon systems. In some cases the development of systems is being partially funded by these customers.
The Union Budget 2012-13, presented to the Indian Parliament in March 2012, has allocated US $40.3 billion for the Defence Services that include the three armed forces (Army, Navy and Air Force), the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Ordnance Factories. The allocation - which constitutes India’s official defence budget - is an increase of 17.6 per cent over the previous amount.
Over a dozen Asian nations have cruise missiles in their inventories and several of them - notably China, India, Taiwan and Pakistan - have indigenous production capabilities. Although many nations possess anti-ship cruise missiles similar to the US Harpoon, a growing number are fielding advanced land attack systems.
otte has selected Saab Sensis Corporation, a subsidiary of defense and security company Saab, to deploy a Wide Area Multilateration (WAM) system for surveillance of flights operating in close proximity of the Lotte World Tower being constructed near Seoul Air Base, Seoul, Korea. Saab Sensis will provide WAM surveillance to Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) air traffic controllers with the first operational deployment of conflict detection and alerting capabilities for a WAM surveillance system.
BAE Systems announced on February 22 that the semi-active laser guided version of the U.S. military’s Hydra rocket successfully hit within inches of the center of its laser spot target after it was fired off a Hawker Beechcraft AT-6C from a range of three miles.
While all three services of the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) have been hoping to extensively replace some of their aging capital equipment - along with improving and upgrading existing hardware - the existing financial and political realities have stalled many plans. Fiscally the Malaysian Armed Forces struggle with the fact that since the 1980s, it has been subjected to an irregular development pace with a number of programs postponed or abandoned at the Malaysian government’s convenience. This is despite such programs being initially agreed to and budgeted for.
In making public its choice of the Dassault Aviation Rafale in the MMRCA (Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft) competition, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has brought quite a lot of fresh air to the French defence industry as a whole. This is especially so for the much maligned combat aircraft, previously ousted from other major international competitions in Asia, in particular by dint of feisty U.S. lobbying. Dassault Aviation’s previous bad experience in the South Korea and Singapore’s fighter bids indeed remains a sore wound even today, as does the Rafale’s failure to win a firm contract from the UAE at the last Dubai Air Show.
In retrospect, the year 2011 might well be when the use of air power alone has been decisive in ending an armed conflict. The case study of course is Libya, where even more than in the case of the Balkans a decade earlier, a relatively small number of aircraft with precision-guided munitions managed in a few months to end a brutal civil war. Indeed, the initial reluctance of the United States to become involved in Libya was based on the calculation that coalition nations would need to deploy ground troops at some stage – but the opposite proved to be the case. Developments in technology are making it possible to contemplate winning conflicts with minimal loss of life.
The eighth Seoul International Aerospace & Defence Exhibition (ADEX), held in the South Korean capital from 18-23 October, drew 313 exhibitors (of which 118 were domestic) and some 250,000 visitors. Both the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) and the US Air Force (USAF) were well represented with the usual collection of fighters, transport aircraft and helicopters. However, one disappointment was the absence of the ROKAF’s first Boeing E-737 Peace Eye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) asset that entered service on 21 September 2011.
India’s tryst with design, development and production of an indigenous combat aircraft symbolises the problems associated with the defence industry of third world countries. The initial desire to attain self-reliance in major defence programmes leads to costly development, slippage in schedule delivery, dissatisfaction among the users, and finally to the import of similar systems from advanced countries. The Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), the most ambitious developmental programme in the history of India’s defence R&D, continues to haunt India’s defence establishment, even nearly thirty years after the programme was sanctioned. The Indian Air Force (IAF), which is struggling with its declining combat strength, is yet to give its final operational clearance for induction of LCA. The programme cost including of an indigenous engine development has in the mean time increased from Rs 560 crore in 1983 when the LCA was sanctioned, to nearly 15,347 crore in 2011.
During the closing weeks of 2011 the global defence spotlight for new fighter sales turned once again to the Asia Pacific region. For some considerable time, several important fighter bids have been underway and this highly competitive sales battleground has been seen by many as a potential tipping point for customer choice on new fighter procurement. Can the all-conquering F-16 family, and other rejuvenated 70s US fighters, such as the F-18 and F-15, face up to the newer generation aircraft by offering a potent mix of high capability with affordability, or is the curtain for new sales drawing down with fourth and fifth generation combat aircraft crowding in on the scene?
Sagem signed a contract on January 12 with SIMMAD to provide life-cycle support for the STRIX turret-mounted, gyrostabilized observation and sighting systems on Tiger HAP combat and fire support helicopters deployed by the French army's air arm (ALAT).
Lakota program remains on budget and schedule as it enters its seventh program year The U.S. Army has awarded EADS North America a $212.7 million contract on January 10 to deliver 39 UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopters (LUH) as part of its total acquisition plan. Thirty-two of these Lakotas will be produced in the Army’s Security and Support (S&S) Battalion configuration. EADS North America has already delivered 198 UH-72A Lakotas to the U.S. Army, on time and within budget, along with five H-72A versions to the U.S. Navy for test pilot training.
Two years have passed since Russia’s fifth generation fighter flew for the first time on January 29, 2010. Previously in Defence Review Asia we evaluated the Sukhoi PAKFA and looked into its historical background a year ago. Since then, the number of operable prototypes rose to three, with two more completed at Sukhoi’s KnAAPO plant in Komsomolsk-upon-Amur during 2011. The fourth [T-50-4] is prepared for flying in early 2012. Two more shall follow in the 2012-2013 timeframe. On November 3, 2011 the number of flights passed the 100th mark. Most of them were performed by Sukhoi test-pilot Sergei Bogdan. He has proven his skills on several occasions by safely curtailing test sorties after experiencing engine malfunctions. These took place on the eve of and then during MAKS’2011 air show in August - so far the only public event where PAKFAs showed up.
A few weeks ago Australian Prime Minister Julian Gillard made a surprise visit to Tarin Kowt to meet with the troops stationed there. Then days after that Opposition leader Tony Abbott made a surprise visit to the same place. Earlier in the year US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a surprise visit to Kabul. See the pattern? Every single visit by a foreign dignitary is either a surprise, a secret or is unannounced – exactly the same pattern that has prevailed in Iraq since the invasion of 2003.
In any conflict environment it is essential to know what is happening in the air. Ground radars are able to provide a good picture, but having an airborne radar that can move from place to place is exponentially better. During the Cold War, airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft like the E-3 Sentry were largely superpower luxuries, but in the last 15 years a variety of smaller, cheaper and equally effective aircraft have come onto the market, allowing both first world and third world countries to equip their air forces with these vital force multipliers.
The United Kingdom held its Defence Security and Equipment International (DSEi) defence exhibition at the Excel Centre in London’s Docklands in September and it proved another successful event. The show is one of Europe’s largest displays of defence equipment and is unusual in covering land, sea and air aspects. There were more than 1,300 exhibitors and numerous delegations including those from the Pacific Rim.
Security in the Afghan capital of Kabul has seen further tightening in recent weeks coinciding with the start of a Loya Jirga – or grand council – meeting on November 16. The three-day event, involving 2,000 delegates – including some from Iran and Pakistan as well as a handful of women – has the aim of discussing issues such as the extent to which US forces should remain in Afghanistan after 2014. As usual, the Taliban have threatened to kill anyone who attends. One of the major contributors to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan is France, which has been involved since the outset in 2001. In mid-November, Defence Review Asia had the rare opportunity to spend time with the helicopter battalion ‘Mousquetaire 5’ stationed at the international base adjacent to Kabul airport. In a visit organized by Eurocopter and with the support of the French Defense Ministry, we were fully involved in helicopter activities including mission planning, security briefings, flights, maintenance activities and extensive discussions with pilots, gunners and crewmembers.
With the proliferation of submarine capability in the Asia-Pacific region in recent years, there is an increasing urgency for weapons systems to counter the threat. The need for an organic shipboard Anti Submarine Warfare (ASW) capability was brutally highlighted in May last year, with the sinking of the South Korean naval corvette ROKS Cheonan by a North Korean midget submarine off the island of Baengnyeong. The threat posed to surface combatants and merchant shipping alike in the region has now brought forward programmes to acquire or renew existing ASW capabilities in several countries.
Over recent years India has created a vast defence industrial base which presently consists of 40-odd Ordnance Factories (OFs), nine Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs), 50-odd R&D labs and a small but growing private sector. The industry as a whole is responsible for producing a vast variety of items, ranging from small arms and ammunition all the way through to tanks, fighter aircraft, warships - plus radars and other electronic items. Although long overdue, the Indian Ministry of Defence unveiled in early 2011 the first ever Defence Production Policy (DPrP), intended to give a focussed direction to industry. The policy document, which came into force since 1st January, lists four broad objectives: (1) “to achieve substantive self reliance in the design, development and production of equipment / weapon systems / platforms required for defence in as early a time frame as possible”; (2) “to create conditions conducive for the private industry to take an active role in this endeavour”; (3) “to broaden the defence research and development (R&D) base of the country”; and (4) “to enhance potential of SMEs [Small and Medium Enterprises] in indigenization”. To achieve these objectives the policy document has included various enabling provisions, with the broader aim to create a self-sufficient domestic defence industry that would be able to meet most of armed forces’ hardware requirements.
ONE of the most present and most concealed threats on the battlefield remains the shoulder-launched surface to air missile or Manpads – an abbreviation of man-portable air defence system. A light affordable and plentiful weapon with a low acquisition cost, it is also a war tool that outweighs by multiples the price of its likely target - a tactical fighter plane, helicopter or even a multi-engined airlifter. Intended for air defence by the military, Manpads have also unfortunately over the years landed in the hands of uncontrolled groups or terrorist organisations, accounting for some dramatic deadly attacks on civilian transport aircraft as well.
Defence shows can be quite staid affairs, but Taiwan produced the unexpected at the biennial Taipei Aerospace & Defence Technology Exhibition (TADTE) held from 11-14 July 2011. What was startling in the Ministry of National Defence (MND) pavilion was a large backdrop portraying a “new-generation” Taiwanese Hsiung Feng III anti-ship missile striking a Soviet-style aircraft carrier. It was no mere coincidence that this exhibit appeared just one day after the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) despatched its ex-Soviet aircraft carrier on her maiden voyage!
ntroduction Most Western politicians have supported anti-Qaddafi rebels and wish the end of the Qaddafi regime in Libya. Paradoxically enough, at least at first glance, the same desire is shared by North Caucasian jihadists, and this is the reason they provide neutral or even positive images of NATO policy in Libya. At lease this was the case at the beginning of the war. These neutral/positive images of NATO actions against Qaddafi go along with condemnation of NATO actions in Afghanistan, and an overall negative view of the West in general, the USA in particular. Recently Kavkaz Center, the major internet vehicle of North Caucasian jihadists, eulogized Osama Bin Laden as a victim of President Barak Obama, who they claimed was a member of a Satanic cult.
Recent skirmishes between China, Vietnam and the Philippines have threatened to reignite the long-standing and protracted dispute in the South China Sea. The potentially resource-rich islands in the South China Sea remains a source of friction and instability between the claimant states of the Asia-Pacific region. A peaceful resolution to the South China Sea dispute is imperative for the stability and security of the region.
Elbit announced on August 17 that it was awarded contracts by several customers in Asia to supply many dozens of observation systems for maritime patrol aircraft, vessels and observation towers. The total value of these new contracts is approximately $20 million, to be supplied over three years.
On September 6 the Lockheed Martin-led unmanned K-MAX® team announced that they had successfully completed a five-day Quick Reaction Assessment (QRA) for the U.S. Navy’s Cargo Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) program.
L-3 Link Simulation & Training (L-3 Link) announced on September 6 that it has been awarded a foreign military sale contract from the U.S. Navy Naval Air Systems Command’s Training Systems Division to upgrade Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) CF-18 flight simulators located at Cold Lake, Bagotville and Ottawa. “This upgrade effort will enable Canada to rapidly gain training system concurrency with its CF-18 aircraft while increasing simulation fidelity at the lowest risk and cost,” said Leonard Genna, president of L-3 Link. “By sharing a common F/A-18 training solution with the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps, our allied forces will be able to leverage future solutions and improvements that seamlessly benefit force readiness in both countries.”
n recent times mortars have gained renewed respect from fighting forces. The nature of many conflicts have made mortars important again and their manufacturers report good business. This has led to renewed efforts to facilitate the use of these weapons as an integral force multiplier for infantry units. Mortars are part of the basic arsenal of infantry units and are used in almost every war zone around the world.
The Cold War years pitted submarine forces of the United States and the Soviet Union against one another and spurned the development of sophisticated Anti-Submarine Warfare aircraft to counter the undersea threat. Vast expanses of the Indian and Pacific Oceans provided ideal submarine operating grounds and the Asia-Pacific region played an important part in the battle plans of both American and Soviet Navies.
With its T-50 Golden Eagle, South Korea joined a select club of nations to have successfully developed a supersonic aircraft. Quite apart from breaking the sound barrier, South Korea is hoping to also break into new export markets with its advanced jet trainer. This article looks at the growing maturity of the Republic of Korea’s (ROK) aerospace industry, with a particular emphasis on specific platforms it is pinning its domestic and international hopes on. The remarkable growth of South Korea’s aerospace industry can be observed in the statistic that the 7,800 workers employed in this field in 2007 had burgeoned to 10,000+ just three years later.
By the end of August 2011, following the clear victory of the Libyan Rebellion in driving back pro-Gaddafi forces in the east and west of the country and after six months of a protracted conflict which threatened to stalemate on many occasions, the developments of the Libyan crisis — largely inspired by the revolt of the Warfallah tribe of Benghazi in February — have finally accelerated culminating with the toppling of the Gaddafi regime. Today, the old tricolour flag of Libya is again flying over all the country. What started as a rebellion in February 2011 has become a successful revolution.
The market for advanced jet and turboprop trainer aircraft within the Asia-Pacific region is growing steadily in part thanks to the significant number of countries in the process of upgrading to next-generation combat aircraft fleets. In meeting this growing demand, manufacturers are developing trainer aircraft able to perform a number of training roles for the customer nations. As well as being able to train pilots across a range of aircraft, jet and turboprop aircraft must also be compatible with a number of weapon and aircraft systems so that customers can get the best possible return out of a single platform.
The Indonesia Ministry of Defence has significantly expanded defence cooperation with its Republic of Korea (ROK) counterpart. While the two countries have long enjoyed close diplomatic and military ties, the two defence establishments are moving toward much expanded ties. The primary field of interest is in defence industry and import/export of defence systems and equipment.
Following customers in Japan, Norway and Germany, the Bangladesh Navy has purchased two modern Do 228NG (New Generation) turboprop aircraft. The aircraft will be used for maritime air patrol and rescue mission along the countries’ coastline.
With representation from over 100 leading global aerospace and defence companies, and a total exhibitor list of more than 2,100, the 49th Paris International Air Show, held at Le Bourget airport in June, was the biggest event of its kind in 2011. The show opened with the customary war of words between Boeing and Airbus over new aircraft and sales announcements, but there was no news from Boeing on what it intends to do to maintain its competitive position on the 737 family up against the re-engined Airbus A320neo (which has clocked up over 1,000 orders). However, in the guise of the P-8A Poseidon, the Wedgetail AEW&C, and other possible special mission variants, the 737 is clearly going to remain in production for many years yet as a military air platform. But aside from commercial programmes which tended to dominate the headlines, there was nevertheless very comprehensive defence sector representation at Paris with companies anxious to talk about future developments and prospects for current programmes.
Some cynics in Israel say that it's not that the country has defence industries but the other way round. This saying is of course an exaggeration but one fact is solid - Israeli defence industries are big, advanced and versatile. With defence exports of more than US $6 billion a year, Israel has become a member of the " big 5" club of top exporters. All estimates show that the export of defence items from Israel will continue to grow into the foreseeable future.
MMRCA competition. The shortlisting of the Dassault Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon in India’s Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft competition highlights the lofty ambitions of the Indian Air Force, the fourth largest in the world. With the order for 126 aircraft, India will have more than 800 combat aircraft in its 1,700 aircraft inventory. Such purchases are part of the Air Force’s biggest expansion in thirty years and are transforming India into one of the leading air powers in Asia.
Cassidian, the defence and security division of EADS, announced on May 31 that it will develop innovative solutions to protect ships of the Canadian Navy against new types of asymmetric threats. Under the designation LOCATES (= Laser Optical Countermeasures and Surveilllance Against Threat Environment Scenarios), the Defence Research Development Canada (DRDC), Valcartier, Québec, awarded Cassidian a contract to apply new technologies to detect and counter laser-based threats in harbors and littoral waters.
In the wake of the killing of Osama bin Laden, relations between the U.S. and Pakistan have entered a new and unpredictable phase. Washington has recently gone to considerable lengths to tone down initial criticism of Pakistan for sheltering the world’s most wanted man, now saying that there is no evidence that he received high level protection. This is hardly surprising because initial U.S. criticism was rapidly antagonizing the entire country – with potentially dire consequences. Not only does Pakistan have three times the population of Iraq and Afghanistan combined, it now possesses dozens – if not hundreds – of nuclear warheads and the means to deliver them over long distances. The country is self-sufficient in uranium and there have been recent reports that the production of weapons grade material is being increased. The reasons why a relatively poor nation is adding to its already considerable and expensive arsenal remain opaque. A nightmare scenario for the West in general and the U.S. in particular is that some of these might find their way into the hands of terrorists.
All branches of the Indian military are undergoing massive expansion, and are purchasing new equipment at such a rate as to make India one of the world’s largest arms markets. Airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft are important force multipliers and these are being added to the mix as India attempts to keep one step ahead of its neighbours, notably China and Pakistan. It is taking a two-pronged approach by purchasing off-the-shelf AEW&C aircraft and developing and producing its own systems.
A guided missile that can be safely launched from dozens of kilometres away, and then skims across the sea surface with unerring accuracy and supersonic speed before striking with deadly effect, is a weapon every navy sailor fears. Within mere seconds of being fired, such a precision weapon can sink a multi-million-dollar warship. This type of deadly asset is known as the anti-ship missile (AShM), a weapon Germany pioneered in 1943. Today’s advanced AShMs are obviously far more lethal than Germany’s primitive designs, and they can be launched from aircraft, surface vessel, submarine or land-based platforms. This weapon class poses a direct and serious threat to ships of all sizes, and Russia is one nation that has developed an array of AShMs. This brief article “skims the surface”, if you will excuse the pun, of Russian systems that are available, plus it looks at their use in the Asian context.
Its landing lights on and undercarriage lowered, the grey-coloured F-16B fighter swooped through the dawn haze. The powerful jet engine screamed as the aircraft gently touched down on the tarmac. After it had slowed to a stop, another fighter followed…and then another…until six fighters had pulled up in a tidy line on the macadam. However, this was no ordinary runway tarmac, for it was a stretch of highway on Taiwan’s western coast. Refuelling trucks and munitions carriers converged on the aircraft emblazoned with the roundel of the Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF).
The death of Osama Bin Laden is now being analysed, with new information emerging almost by the hour. He had been on the run for almost a decade and was able to frustrate US and allied intelligence agencies in their attempts to track him down, which added to his mythical status. In an extraordinary comment three minutes into his address to the nation, President Barak Obama revealed: “Shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the Director of the CIA to make the killing or capture of Bin Laden the top priority in our war against Al-Qaeda.”
For some members of the elite of the involved countries, including the United States and Russia, the growing instability in the huge area of Central Asia, Afghanistan and beyond, is an incentive to increase cooperation against the common threat, all problems notwithstanding. Following this logic, Obama’s administration made several positive statements, and even more important, positive steps to ensure Moscow that it is seen as an essential Western, especially American, ally, in bringing stability to the region, including to Kyrgyzstan. Robert Blake, the U.S. Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs, states the events in Kyrgyzstan push Russia and the U.S. together. James F. Collins, former U.S. ambassador to the Russian Federation, noted in Foreign Policy that Moscow always collaborates with the U.S. in fighting terrorism, and did so even “during the dark days after the 2008 Russia-Georgian War.” And, another observer noted, “The Kremlin’s return to Afghanistan comes with the support of the Obama administration….”
iven the helicopter’s versatility, it is not surprising that they form a key component of a number of navies in the region. This is particularly so with the helicopter’s vertical takeoff ability - allowing it to operate from a ship deckpad, in contrast to an aircraft carrier flightdeck or land based runway. These are required by naval fixed wing aircraft - but the helicopter’s hover capabilities allows it conduct at-sea retrieval or ship boarding even where no suitable landing area exists.
Months have passed since the public appearance of the brand-new Chinese combat jet. And yet there is no explicit reaction to it from the US and its armed forces, whose assets the new machine is obviously developed to oppose. In turn, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and its air force (PLAAF) remain surprisingly mum on an aircraft they were so willing to flaunt on a Chengdu runway in late December and the middle of January. We still don't know if the new plane is officially intended as a technology demonstrator or a developmental prototype. We also don't know what this airplane is designed to do. Is it an interceptor to replace the Shenyang J-8? Or is it a strike bomber to replace the Xian JH-7A? Or is this a multi-mode, multi-role aircraft? We even do not have official confirmation for the common reference to this airplane as the Chengdu J-20 by Internet sources and printed media.
A Russian was recently imprisoned for six years in Ukraine after being convicted of spying for China. The target of his nefarious activities was the Land-based Naval Aviation Testing and Training Complex (NITKA) in the Crimea, a facility for training Russian pilots to operate fighters aboard aircraft carriers.
Punctuated by the usual disorganisation that characterises Indian defence exhibitions, Aero India kicked off on 9 February 2011. Before the gates closed on 13 February, a total of 75,000 business visitors passed through the venue to view 675 exhibitors’ booths and 70+ aircraft.
The latest wave of internal unrest in the Middle East – Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya – is an indicator of the threats faced by all totalitarian regimes. Whether regimes survive in the face of popular protests is largely a factor of whether they can retain the loyalty of their security apparatus. When the military switches sides, as they did in Iran in 1979, Romania in 1989 and Egypt in 2011, regimes fall. When they remain loyal to their leaders in cases such as Iraq under Saddam Hussein, North Korea under the Kim Dynasty and – as seems increasingly likely – Libya under the Gaddafi clan, the regime survives.
Airbus Military announced on March 10 that it has given the green light to the industrial launch of the A400M airlifter and approved the start of series production. This follows a thorough review of all aspects of the programme which demonstrated that all readiness criteria were fulfilled. This means that the first four series aircraft will be produced in 2012 and the production rate will gradually be ramped up to 2.5 aircraft per month by the end of 2015.
A major milestone in the development of Eurofighter Typhoon’s multi-role combat capabilities has been achieved on March 8 with the release of a Paveway IV precision guided bomb. The milestone was achieved when, for the first time, the avionics system was used to safely release the weapon in an hour-long test flight over the Aberporth Range in Wales.
TRS Prime, a subsidiary of ThalesRaytheonSystems announced on March 4th that it was awarded a contract by the NATO ACCS Management Agency (NACMA) for enhancements to the NATO Air Command and Control System as part of the Active Layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence programme1 being developed for the protection of deployed troops inside and outside of NATO Territory.
In January, India’s Ministry of Defence issued the Defence Procurement Procedure 2011 (DPP-2011). The 262-page document, which came into force from the first day of 2011, would guide Defence Ministry’s multi billion dollar capital acquisitions till 2013 when the next DPP is due. The revised document, which is based on “experience of procurement agencies” and feedback from a cross section of industrial stakeholders, has made a number of changes. According to the Defence Minister, AK Antony, the changes in the new DPP are aimed at “ expediting decision making, simplification of connatural and financial provisions and also to establish a level playing field for the Indian defence industry, both public sector and private sector.”
The 8th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition (Airshow China), held at Zhuhai last November, was the first to be sponsored (in part) by the People’s Liberation Army Air Force and resulted in a lot of military hardware on display.
Defence’s ambitious project to replace the current Lockheed Martin AP-3C Orion with both manned and unmanned aerial vehicles, is one of the ‘big ticket’ items of defence budgets over the next ten or twelve years.
On September 21, Lockheed Martin delivered the 1,000th Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) Missile to the U.S. Army last week during a ceremony at its state-of-the-art PAC-3 Missile production facility in Camden, AR. PAC-3 Missiles are combat-proven and deployed globally.
On 23 September Raytheon and Boeing announced that they have completed the final of three government-sponsored firings of the Joint Air-to-Ground Missile. During the Sept. 3 test, the JAGM used its millimeter wave radar guidance system to hit a moving target at 6 kilometers (3.75 miles).
Almost six hundred flight hours logged in roughly six months of combat operations with a daily 93% availability - this is the remarkable result achieved to date by the first operational EC 665 Tiger detachment deployed to Afghanistan since July of last year.
The Northrop Grumman Corporation and Swiss company RUAG Aviation have signed an agreement to provide worldwide sustainment and life cycle logistics as an effort to offer a broad capability to countries flying the F-5 Tiger aircraft.