Saturday, February 28, 2009

India details plans for indigenous medium combat aircraft

By Siva Govindasamy

India's Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) has begun talks with the Indian air force to involve the service in the design for its proposed medium combat aircraft (MCA), and hopes to put forward a plan in a few years to secure government funding for detailed studies."In India, we have a fighter aircraft design team that comprises officials from various departments. It was formed to work on the Tejas light combat aircraft, and it makes sense for them to move on to a new fighter design after completing that," says P S Subramanyam, programme director (combat aircraft) at the ADA, which oversees design and development of the Tejas. "We are engaging the air force on the MCA and finding out about their requirements."The agency, which displayed a windtunnel testing model of the MCA at the Aero India 2009 show in Bangalore in February, believes it will take 10 years to develop the aircraft. It also released further details on the twin-engine design, which will incorporate stealth features.

Primarily, the MCA will have air-to-ground and air-to-air capabilities and be able to perform suppression of enemy air defence, precision strike and close combat missions, the ADA says. The 20t design will also have a low radar cross-section, "serpentine-shaped" air intakes, internal weapons bays and advanced radomes to increase its stealth features. Radar-absorbing composites and paints will supplement the design, and there will also be an on-board micro-electro-mechanical system.

The MCA will use an advanced version of the indigenous Gas Turbine Research Establishment Kaveri engine, which is still under development, and is projected to deliver "supercruise" performance, thrust-vectoring control and low infrared capabilities, and a projected top speed of Mach 1.6.

It will also include integrated modular architecture avionics and data fusion sensor capabilities, plus a decision support system, advanced sensors, flush/body conformal antennas and pods, and advanced communication and net-centric warfare capabilities, the ADA adds.The aircraft will further have the capability for internal weapon release in supersonic flight, high asymmetry control, and a reconfigurable flight-control system.

Subramanyam says that the MCA will not compete with the fighter that India selects for its medium multirole combat aircraft (MMRCA) competition. New Delhi is holding a tender to select 126 fighters for the requirement, with a selection projected to take place in 2010 and deliveries scheduled to begin from 2013. Contenders are the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon, Lockheed Martin F-16, RSK MiG-35 and Saab Gripen."The MMRCA aircraft are fourth-generation fighters that are already in production and incorporating technology that is already available. The MCA will replace the air force's existing MiG-29s and [Dassault] Mirages when those are retired over a decade from now," Subramanyam says. "It is being conceptualised now to use technology that will be available only 10 years from now, and so will be very different and have superior capabilities to the current generation of fighters."

Israel's military supplies to India

India’s main supplier of advanced military hardware is Israel. In the 1990s India took a major decision to procure arms from Israel after its much-touted Defense Research and Development Organization failed to develop any high-end weapons systems. To keep abreast of its neighbors, from 1965 till 1997 India purchased weapons from the Soviet Union, and later Russia – the preferred choice for the last 40 years as its weapons were cheap, reliable, rugged and direct copies of advanced weapons in the West. Almost 70 percent of India’s weapons are of Russian origin. The fall of the Soviet Union halted its secret development and sales of weapons, thereby letting the West develop countermeasures.

Short of cash, the new Russian Federation from 1990 to 2001 sold its trade secrets to anybody who wished to buy them. In short, India lost its advantage with Russian hardware, as China bought everything that India already had. Also, countermeasures developed by the West for Russian hardware became available to Pakistan. In short, India was at a disadvantage on both fronts. A lot of technology that India wanted from the West was unavailable because the West viewed India and the Soviet Union as allies, due to the Cold War attitude prevalent in Washington. Israel stepped in to fill the breach, as it had enough influence to change U.S. policy on this issue. It was a win-win situation for Israel and India.

India negotiated its first large-scale contract with Israel in 1997 for the Barak-1 weapons system. This was meant to knock down Pakistan’s Harpoon anti-ship missiles, supplied by the United States. Since its initial supply of six Barak systems, eight more have been added and negotiations on a multi-billion-dollar Barak-2 system is in progress. Prior to the contract, India’s defense scientist and former President Abdul Kalam paid a number of visits to Israel to get help in missile development. Later India tested its Prithvi and Agni missile systems to counter Chinese and Pakistani moves.

During the Kargil War in 1999, India received from Israel unmanned aerial vehicles, laser-guided bombs and other hardware to knock out Pakistani hilltop bunkers. Israel’s support helped India appreciate its sophisticated electronics and weapons systems. Russia’s former President Vladimir Putin, noting India’s declining interest in Russian weaponry, made offers to sell it more sophisticated weapons like T-90 tanks, advanced destroyers, an aircraft carrier and upgrades to existing air force hardware. India accepted the offers, but Israel had already secured a foothold in India’s lucrative military hardware market.

End-user agreements between the United States and Israel limited the transfer to India of any U.S.-developed or assisted military hardware – but Israeli political interests in Washington made short work of all U.S. objections. Showing great interest in the Indian market, Israel in 2002 transferred the highly sophisticated Green Pine Radar to India, despite U.S. objections. Today this radar is a key component of India’s ballistic missile defense tracking system. The United States, realizing that Israel will find ways to sell India its military technology, have now folded up their objections. It took them more than 50 years to throw out their Cold War-era attitude; now they are bidding for a US$10-billion Indian fighter contract.

In the last 10 years India’s military imports from Israel have included:

• Barak -1 anti-ship missile system
• Unmanned aerial vehicles of various types
• Laser-guided bombs
• Technology for ballistic missile systems
• Green Pine radar
• Spyder surface-to-air missile system
• Aerostat radars
• Service contract to upgrade MIG fighter aircraft
• Electronic countermeasures and air-battle support electronics

The total contract value of these and other purchases is close to US$9 billion. This is a huge amount given that India and Israel established diplomatic and trade relations only in 1992. The two countries’ intelligence agencies have had contacts for much longer, however.

Military contracts under negotiation between India and Israel include the development of Barak -2, worth US$2.5 billion; additional AWACS at $1.8 billion; UAVs worth $500 million; the Arrow anti-missile system at $4 billion; and miscellaneous electronics worth $2 billion. Why did India turn to foreign weapons suppliers? Fifty years ago former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, in establishing the Defense Research and Development Organization, envisioned 80 percent self-sufficiency in arms by the turn of the century. That dream never came true.

The DRDO had difficulty marrying high concepts with sound engineering. Thus many major systems on the drawing board did not become potent weapons. Although it had a staff of 30,000, 51 laboratories and a US$2.5-billion budget, the organization operated under technical and critical-component constraints for the last 50 years. It has spent more than US$50 billion and produced very little.

The army has had many problems with the INSAS rifle developed by the organization, and nobody wants the main battle tank it developed. Its many tactical missiles have never met their defined parameters, and the Kaveri engine for light combat aircraft has been under development for three decades. The only successes it can claim are the Prithvi, Agni and Brahmos missiles, some light combat aircraft and the multi-barrel Pinaka artillery system. However, it had to import the highly accurate Russian Smerch system to supplement the underpowered Pinaka.

The DRDO’s worst failure has been its inability to reverse engineer some of its imported weapons systems. Even Pakistan with its low technology has successfully reverse engineered military hardware. China reverse engineered the highly sophisticated Russian SU-27 fighter jet.
Russia has now fallen behind as a military supplier to India, although it continues to provide some systems. The renegotiation of already negotiated deals between the two countries has complicated the partnership.

For example, a deal on the Russian aircraft carrier Gorshkov is being renegotiated. The Russians have also refused to transfer technology to manufacture the T-90 tank gun, although it was part of the contract. The supply of a nuclear submarine has fallen behind by several years. Added to this, the quality of Russian hardware and technology is suspect. The Russians have reopened several of their supply contracts and are exploiting their spare parts supply position to extract more money. All of this is not sitting well with the Indians, who may over the next two decades dump them as important suppliers.

Thus in the past 10 years Israel, and now the United States, are coming on board to supply India with military hardware. There are distinct differences in the manufacturing philosophies of Russia and the United States. While Russian hardware is rugged, U.S. hardware is like a finely tuned sports car; although buyers like its performance it is three times more expensive to maintain than the Russian. Most underdeveloped countries still prefer Russian hardware. In the end, it is good that Israel stepped in to fill the technology gap India was forced into. Now the Indian military has a distinct advantage over its adversaries.

Keel laid for India's first indigenous aircraft carrier

India joined a club of select nations today as the keel for the country's first indigenous aircraft carrier was laid here Saturday. The vessel will be launched in 2011 and is scheduled to be be delivered to the Indian Navy in 2014. Speaking at the function at the Cochin Shipyard Ltd, Defence Minister A.K. Antony said: "It is a crucial milestone and a moment to cherish in the country's maritime history. The indigenous aircraft carrier will make the Indian Navy strong and self reliant."

The aircraft carrier, at 37,500 tonnes displacement, is the largest warship to be constructed in the country. It will be about five times larger than the 6,700 tonne Delhi class of destroyers, the largest and the heaviest warships hitherto constructed in the country. With this project India has become the fourth nation, after the US, Russia and France, to be capable of designing and constructing full deck carriers. This is not only the first military warship to be built at the Cochin Shipyard but also the largest military vessel to be constructed in any Indian yard.

"The keel laying heralds the coming of age of the Indian Navy not only as a maritime power but as a technological power... It marks the quest for our supremacy at sea," Indian Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta said. The keel laying includes lowering of the first block in the dry dock and beginning the construction of the ship. The work is divided into seven phases: design, construction planning, work prior to keel laying, ship erection, launching, final outfitting and sea trials. "Economic and geo-political developments have reemphasized the need for a self reliant navy," Mehta added.

The aircraft carrier would be capable of operating a mix of Russian MiG-29K and indigenous Tejas light combat aircraft and Kamov-31 helicopters. The ship will have a length of 260 m and maximum breadth of 60 m. It will be propelled by two LM2,500 Gas Turbines and will be able to attain speeds in excess of 28 knots. Production of the carrier commenced in November 2006 and 423 steel blocks of the required 874 have already been fabricated. The major equipment to be installed in the lower decks has been ordered. The ship is being constructed using high strength steel developed by the Defence Research and Development Organiastion and Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL).

"Twenty-two months from today we will be able to launch the carrier into the water as per our contractual obligations to the Indian Navy. Thereafter it will be ready for induction by the middle of the next decade," chief managing director of CSL, Commodore M. Jitendran, said.
The carrier will be equipped with long-range surface-to-air missile (LR SAM) system with multi-function radar (MFR) and close-in weapon system (CIWS).

Pakistan to file claim in May for extension of EEZ:CNS Admiral Noman Bashir

Pakistan will file its claim regarding extension of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) by 150 nautical miles beyond the current 200 nautical miles limit in May this year. This was stated by the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Admiral Noman Bashir.

He was addressing a news conference here on Friday in connection with the Exercise ‘Aman 2009’ to be held in the Pakistani waters from March 5 to 14. The CNS pointed out that the survey of the area has already been executed and a summary in this connection has been okayed by our Ministry of Law. He said that according to his information the Prime Minister has also okayed the summary. Admiral Noman said that he is in contact with Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Hussain Haroon.

He pointed out that the requirement at the United nations is that this extension of EEZ by 150 nautical miles is for those countries that have demarcated their sea boundary. The CNS stated that the demarcation of Pakistani water boundary at south east with India has not been done. Therefore, it would now depend on the United Nations to approve the extension of EEZ by 150 miles for Pakistan or for India. However, as far as our part of the story is concerned we have completed our work in this connection, the CNS added.

IDEX 2009 : Italy wins anti-submarine naval deal

Day four of the IDEX defense show came to a close with the announcement of another contract win for Italian industry.This time it was warship builder Fincantieri with a AED 430 million ($117 Million) deal to build an anti-submarine corvette for the United Arab Emirates navy.Yesterday Alenia Aermacchi secured selection of its M-346 jet trainer in an 48 aircraft order from the UAE air force.The Cigala Fulgosi class vessel will be similar to the six warships delivered to the Italian Navy earlier in the decade.The shipyard is currently building two of the corvettes for the Turkish Coast Guard but in a different configuration.Fincantieri officials said they hoped to deliver the UAE order within 20 months.

The Italian Navy sailed the Commandante Bettici, a Cigala Fulgosi-class warship to Abu Dhabi for the show. Other contracts announced today included 12 coast guard boats for the UAE.That deal has gone to local warship yard Abu Dhabi Ship Building. The contract concludes a stellar week for the company.Earlier contract announcements included the purchase of 12 new fast patrol boats and the modification 12 troop transport vessels into the same configuration by ADSB.The company is also involved with a Turkish ship yard in building a fleet of smaller high-speed patrol vessels.

Other deals announced today included the purchase of NEMO 120mm mortar systems from Patria of Finland, communications and artillery control systems from Thales and the upgrading of Black Hawk helicopters by Sikorsky. The deals revealed today came to AED 1.6 billion bringing the total for the week to AED 18.4 billion.

Pakistan asks US to give Cobra, Apache gunships and Predator UAV

Pakistan has asked the United States to provide it military hardware, including Cobra and Apache assault helicopter gunships and unmanned Predator aircrafts which would enable it to hit extremists hiding in the rocky terrains along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. According to the sources, Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Kayani gave a list of demands to the US during his meetings with senior US military officials.The sources said Pakistan had also sought spare parts for existing gunships, most of which are past their operational prime and need urgent refurbishment.

Friday, February 27, 2009

EW Not Only Roadblock To Israeli JSF Plans

The prohibition against putting an Israeli-made electronic warfare/attack system into the U.S.-made F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is only about number three in the list of impediments to finalizing a deal for delivery of early-production models of the F-35A to the Israeli Air Force (IAF). Price is number one, Israeli industrial participation is two and only then comes the issue of who provides the electronic warfare/attack (EW/EA) package. While the radar and EW/EA systems are combined in the U.S. models, an IAF general with insight into the negotiations says the U.S. has expressed no concerns about the U.S. putting an Israeli-built, active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar into the F-35.

Sticking point

The problem arises when the EW/EA system’s techniques generator is connected to the radar to produce electronic effects for insertion into enemy sensors of jamming, false targets and other misinformation. The U.S. won’t turn over its EW software to be modified. But the U.S. and Israel aren’t past the first major step – the price. The sales price with spares, manuals and long-term technical help is “more than $100 million each.” IAF officials won’t reveal the asking price, but they do say that if the price was only $100 million each, the deal would have already been signed for 75 aircraft. Nailing down the price of an F-35 is a complicated task. One problem is that the earlier you buy them, the more they cost and production isn’t scheduled to end until 2035. “There is no such thing as ‘What JSF costs,’” says U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Charles Davis, the F-35 program executive official. “If you give me a year, a variant and a number [in the buy] I can give you a ballpark.”

Bench marks

There are a few bench marks. The first low-rate production lot of two F-35As cost about $200 million each, Davis says. The second lot of six aircraft cost about $160 million (2008 dollars without the engines) each. And by 2014, at the end of LRIP, F-35As are predicted to cost $70 million-$75 million (in 2014 dollars) each and Short Takeoff and Vertical Landing (STOVL) variants will be coming in at $80 million-$85 million, he says. Foreign customers are not going to get gouged in the pricing unless they want something extra, he say. For example, the Royal Air Force will pay the same for their F-35B Short Takeoff and Vertical Landing aircraft that the U.S. Marine Corps does. But the cost to anyone will be hard to predict. The issue, Davis explains, is the difference between the year of purchase, the exchange rate, and flyaway cost versus the cost when training, spares and long-term sustainment and other issues that vary over time are included. If not for escalating threats in the region, like the introduction of the SA-20 surface-to-air miss

Chinese navy rescues Italian ship in Gulf of Aden

Merchant vessels sail in a line formation under command of the DDG-169 Wuhuan destroyer in the Gulf of Aden, January 6, 2009. [Xinhua]
A Chinese naval vessel rescued an Italian merchant ship from approaching pirates in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia on Thursday.Destroyer "Haikou" of the Chinese navy received a SOS from the Liberia-flagged Italian ship around 10:03 a.m. reporting two unidentified yachts were approaching just about 3 to 4 nautical miles away. A shipborne helicopter with three combatants and one photographer on board was immediately sent to the scene. "When our helicopter reached the area, the two yachts were already close to the merchant ship. They were equipped with two engines and were traveling with high speed," said Captain Chen Yi.

Hovering around the Italian ship "LIA," the Chinese helicopter fired two flares as a warning to scare the yachts away. Two minutes later, the Italian merchant ship sent a message to thank the Chinese naval ship. It was the second time that the Chinese naval fleet rescued foreign merchant ships. On January 29, another missile destroyer "Wuhan" successfully rescued a Greek ship from pirates.

Three Boeing 737 AEW&C engineers killed in Turkish Airlines crash

It appears that three employees of The Boeing Co. were among those killed in the Turkish Airlines crash in Amsterdam, as they returned from a business trip to Ankara, Turkey. A fourth employee was critically injured. The four Boeing engineers from Seattle were in Ankara to assist with the modification work on 737 jets that will be used as airborne electronic warfare planes by the Turkish military. They were returning home on the same kind of plane, a Boeing 737, when it crashed Wednesday about a mile short of a runway at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. Boeing said Thursday night that two of the engineers were among nine passengers and crew who died in the crash. A third engineer was injured and hospitalized, Boeing said. Boeing said it was awaiting "official notification" about the fate of the fourth employee. But a person familiar with the situation in Amsterdam said it is believed that employee was killed in the crash.

Although Boeing had previously disclosed the names of the four employees, it would not give their status Thursday night. "Given the pending information, and the request of some of the affected families, the specific condition of each employee on the airplane isn't being released by Boeing at this time," the statement said. But the source said the employee who survived is Michael T. Hemmer, who was in critical condition. "This is a very sad day for our company," Boeing Chairman and Chief Executive Jim McNerney said in the statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with our colleagues' families, friends and co-workers and with the families of everyone who was on the flight."

The Turkish Airlines plane carried 135 passengers and crew. Among the dead were the two Turkish pilots and another Turkish crew member who was in the cockpit. A Dutch official said Thursday that the dead included four Americans. In addition to Hemmer, Boeing previously identified the other employees as Ronald A. Richey, John Salman and Ricky E. Wilson. In Amsterdam, Haarlemmermeer Mayor Theo Weterings said the names of the victims would not be released until the bodies have been formally identified. "The relatives have been informed" of the deaths, he told The Associated Press. "We have arranged some help for them." Bloomberg News quoted an unnamed Dutch official as saying seven U.S. citizens were on the plane.

At Hemmer's home in Federal Way, a family friend who answered the phone Thursday afternoon said Hemmer's wife was en route to Amsterdam. "He's just a great man. He's done a lot for the community," said the friend, who did not give her name, declining to elaborate. "Anybody you talk to would tell you he's a great man." Dutch and U.S. investigators are reviewing crucial information about the plane's final minutes that was stored on the 737's flight data recorder, one of two so-called black boxes that were recovered from the wreckage.

The flight data recorder will tell investigators many things about the plane's condition, including whether the two CFM International engines were working properly. The other black box recorded the cockpit conversations and also will be valuable in determining what happened, since the cockpit crew was killed.The chairman of the Dutch Safety Board said engine failure could have caused the plane to suddenly drop out of the sky as it approached the airport for landing, given the low forward speed at the point of impact. But that is just one possible cause and nothing has been ruled out, other investigators said.

The plane did not catch fire, which likely saved many lives. The Boeing employees are engineers in Integrated Defense Systems, which is the aerospace giant's military and space business. Their current job is with Turkey's Peace Eagle program, according to sources. Boeing would not talk about the men or what they do for the company.

Hemmer is a manager on the program, according to people familiar with his job. Boeing has several IDS programs to turn the company's existing commercial jets such as the 737 into military platforms. The four Boeing engineers are part of a program to develop an airborne early warning and control plane based on the 737. The 737 AEW&C is a 737-700 with the bigger wing of the 737-800 to support the extra weight. It is essentially a modified Boeing Business Jet with a highly classified electronic warfare system on top of the fuselage.

A militarized version of the world's most oft-flown commercial jetliner, the 737 AEW&C is designed for foreign countries that can't afford or don't need the capability of the much bigger 767 Airborne Warning and Control System planes that Boeing built for Japan a few years ago, or the 707 AWACS planes operated since the 1970s by the United States and later by NATO. The 737 AEW&C has what's known as a phased-array radar "Top Hat" sensor developed by Northrop Grumman and mounted in a small, dorsal-like fin on top of the 737. The radar does not turn. The military design takes advantage of technological advances that allow an airborne early-warning and control system to be mounted on a jet the size of the twin-engine 737.Under a project known as Wedgetail, the Australian government in late 2000 became the launch customer for Boeing's 737 AEW&C program. It ordered six planes.

Turkey became the second customer in 2002. It ordered four planes and two options. But Boeing has struggled to integrate the complex electronic systems on the plane and the Wedgetail program is three years late. Meanwhile, the first of the Turkish Peace Eagle 737s was modified in Seattle. The other three planes are being modified in Ankara by Turkish Aerospace Industries. The four Boeing engineers were in Turkey to assist with that work, according to sources. The plane they were on was a 737-800, one of 49 that Boeing has delivered to Turkish Airlines. Flight TK1951 crashed and broke into three pieces. Chief investigator Pieter van Vollenhoven was quoted as saying evidence at the crash site might suggest the plane's engines stopped. There were some reports from passengers who survived the crash that they heard the engines stop running.

The plane's flight data recorder was sent to Paris, and Vollenhoven said an analysis of the information it contains could be completed as early as Friday, but his agency would probably not make a preliminary finding until next week. "We hope to have a firmer grip as soon as possible," he said. The plane was delivered new by Boeing in 2002.

In a statement Thursday, Turkish Airlines denied reports that the plane had technical problems in the days before the accident. It said the 737 had undergone routine maintenance, known as an A-check, on Feb. 19. The airline did say that the plane was delayed on a Feb. 23 flight so a faulty caution light could be replaced.

Israel seeks more Apache attack helicopters

The Israeli air force wants to increase its inventory of Boeing AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters, directly as a result of its operational experience in the recent Operation "Cast Lead" campaign against Hamas in Gaza.Apaches took a major role in supporting ground forces during the hostilities, by suppressing hostile fire and also performing so-called "search and kill" missions aimed at halting the launch of rockets into Israel.The Israeli air force operates 18 new and remanufactured AH-64Ds from an almost 50-strong Apache fleet, and some of its remaining AH-64As are now candidates for upgrade to the Longbow version."

The Apache proved to be the best solution for close air support in the war in Gaza, and as we see this type of confrontation in the future we want more of these excellent helicopters," says a senior air force source.The service's "immediate" list includes four additional AH-64Ds, with others as an option, sources say.
Boeing has been urging early export operators of the Apache, including Greece and Israel, to modernise their A-model helicopters to the Block II Longbow configuration before the US Army stops supporting the legacy design. The company late last year warned that a commitment would be required before 2010 to acquire long-lead items for the work.

Spada 2000 plus complex inauguration in Karachi

Air Chief Marshal Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed, Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force, inaugurated the `Missile Maintenance Complex' at a PAF Base in Karachi. PAF statement said that the Complex is a significant enhancement of PAF's engineering capability to support various missile systems. During the inaugural address, the CAS appreciated the personnel involved in the project for their professionalism and hard work to complete it within short time. The CAS hoped the complex would further strengthen PAF's defence capabilities.

The Spada 2000 is produced by the Italian-controlled part of the firm, MBDA Italia, and used by Italy and Spain. The system provides air defence missile coverage of 2,000km². The Aspide 2000 missiles can intercept crossing and approaching targets to a range of 25km. The kill probability is high, even against highly agile crossing targets. The system can engage up to four targets simultaneously with Aspide missiles.Spada 2000 Plus will replace the old French Crotale air defence systems.Up to 10 light anti-air weapons can be managed by the system in addition to its Firing Sections by SPADA 2000 system . Aspide 2000's radar is the Selex Sistemi Integrati (formerly Alenia Marconi Systems) RAC-3D, which gives three-dimensional volumetric air surveillance, detection and tracking. The system has the capacity to track 100 targets simultaneously within a range of 60km.

Spada 2000 was evaluated by the PAF officials in 2006 and was selected for acquisition defeating Raytheon SL-AMRAAM and German Diehl BGT IRIS-t SL air defence systems. Ten batteries of Spada 2000 air defense system worth $656.56 million will be delivered to Pakistan Air Force before August 2012.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

IDEX 2009 : Kaya Mine Protected Vehicle rolls into IDEX

The new Turkish Kaya Mine Protected Vehicle (MPV), which has been developed as a private venture by Otokar, is being exhibited for the first time at IDEX and is aimed at the export markets.

Development of the Kaya MPV started three years ago and is now said to be complete, with production to commence as soon as orders are placed. During the design, mine blasts were simulated by special software and these were followed by tests on the actual vehicle that confirmed the design parameters.

Kaya MPV is based on a Mercedes-Benz U5000 (4x4) Unimog chassis, which has a high level of cross-country mobility and for which spare parts are available worldwide through a well-established dealer network. It has a gross vehicle weight of 12.5 tonnes.

While some MPVs have a one-piece hull design, the Kaya has two: one for the driver and commander behind the engine compartment, and the second for the troop compartment, which extends to the rear. The latter has firing ports, roof hatches, and the 10 troops can rapidly enter and leave the vehicle via one door in the rear. Bullet-proof windows are standard and the troop compartment has appliqué armour.

Although the first Kaya is in the troop carrying version, its design is flexible, which allows it to be easily adapted for a wide range of roles and missions such as ambulance and command post vehicle.In addition to the baseline Kaya in the APC role, Otokar has also developed, to the prototype stage, a mine protected cargo carrier. This retains the fully protected two-person cab for the commander and driver, but to the rear is a flatbed unprotected cargo area, which can be fitted with drop sides and a tailgate.

Kaya is the latest in a long line of armoured vehicles designed, developed and manufactured by Otokar (Hall 10, Stand B40). They include the Cobra multirole armoured vehicle (also being shown at IDEX), as well as a range of lighter protected vehicles based on a Land Rover chassis, including the Akrep (Scorpion) light reconnaissance vehicle.

IDEX 2009 : Renault Trucks Defense offers spec ops vehicle to Middle East country

Renault Trucks Defense, a business unit of the Volvo automotive group, is in discussions with an undisclosed Middle East country for a sale of its Sherpa 3 special forces tactical vehicle, senior vice president Serge Perez said Feb. 25 at the at the IDEX show.

The potential sale would be for a few dozen vehicles, he said. The Sherpa 3 is armored to protect against mines and IEDs. The company developed the Sherpa vehicle range from its own funds over four years. Renault Trucks Defense said Feb. 18 it had signed a letter of intent with Land Rover to work together to bid for contract work from British Ministry of Defence to supply military support vehicles.

Under the deal, the French company would provide selected Sherpa vehicles which would be assembled in the UK by Land Rover. Renault Trucks Defense builds the VAB armored personnel carrier which serves as the French Army’s workhorse. The company is partnered with Nexter Systems in building the new VBCI armored carrier just now entering service with the French forces.

IDEX 2009 : Saudi Arabia nears Tornado weapons package

Saudi Arabia is poised to order an array of new weapons to equip upgraded Tornado strike aircraft. The package will include the potent Storm Shadow cruise missile already operational with the Royal Air Force.

The deal, worth hundreds of millions of Euros, was expected to be signed last year but has now slipped into 2009. Delivery schedules will be led by the cruise missile. That will be followed by the ASRAAM short range air-to-air weapon and Brimstone anti-armour missile said sources familiar with the deal. The source said the deal is ready to be signed. All the weapons are made by leading European missile builder MBDA.

A spokesman for the company declined to comment on the deal at the IDEX defense show here in Abu Dhabi. The only surprise in the package is the inclusion of the ASRAAM missile. Currently the only known users of the weapon are British and Australian fighters. British Tornado aircraft upgraded to the current GR4 standard are capable of carrying the old Sidewinder missile.

The Saudi’s are currently upgrading some 80 Tornado aircraft as part of a sustainment program worth in excess of 2 billion Pound. Much of that work is being done in-country as part of BAE’s drive to raise industrial capabilities there. The Raytheon Paveway IV precision guided bomb which recently came into service with British air force and naval Harrier strike aircraft has also been cited as a potential purchase. The Tornados were purchased in the mid-1980s as part of the Al Yamamah oil- for- weapons deal between the British and Saudi governments.

A deal to improve the hitting power of the Tornado is expected to be followed by the signature of a weapons package to be fitted to the 72 Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft purchased by the Saudis in a 2007 deal. MBDA boss Antoine Bouvier told Defense News Show Scout earlier this week that talks have not begun yet on missiles to arm the Saudi fighters. The first aircraft is scheduled to be delivered to the Saudi’s in the middle of the year and pilots are already in training with the RAF.

However, the Financial Times reported last week that BAE Systems expected to agree a multi-billion pound deal to provide support and weapons systems for the Typhoon aircraft this year. Typhoon will carry the same weapons as Tornado. That would allow the Saudi’s to draw weapons from the same pool should they choose to do so. The only exception to that is the use of Raytheon’s AIM-120 AMRAAM missile for beyond visual range engagements.

IDEX 2009 : UAE to purchase next-generation surveillance aircraft

Northrop Grumman said the UAE will be the only country authorised by the US administration to use E-2D aircraft, the next-generation version of the E-2C Hawkeye surveillance platforms.
The aircraft is "on track" to enter service in 2010 for the US Navy and the company hopes to sell the plane to the UAE, John E. Beaulieu, new business manager at the US Navy, said at the International Defence Exhibition and Conference, in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.The Hawkeye has been the Navy's primary surveillance and patrol aircraft since it was first commissioned 1973. The planes have been continually upgraded to keep pace with new technology ever since.

Beaulieu said the the US Congress had approved the UAE's acquisision of three E-2C aircraft, while the size of the E-2D order would be up to the UAE government.

The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye System had completed its operational assessment (OA) at the Northrop Grumman East Coast Manufacturing and Flight Test Centre in St Augustine, Florida, he said. With the completion of OA, the flight test programme has logged more than 600 flight hours, with over half of that time involving in-flight radar testing.

"This is another significant milestone for the E-2D programme," said Tom Vice, Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems Eastern Region sector vice-president, "and demonstrates the commitment of the Northrop Grumman team to work together with the US Navy to deliver this state-of-the-art weapons system to the warfighter." Utilising two test aircraft equipped with fully functioning mission systems, the OA was conducted by a US Navy test squadron to assess the potential effectiveness of the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye in a mission environment, he added.

Successful completion of OA is one of the critical steps the programme must go through prior to a US Navy decision on low-rate initial production. The official written report is expected to be released by the Navy towards the end of the current year.

"Since entering flight tests in August 2007, the joint Northrop Grumman and US Navy Advanced Hawkeye team have been working hard, focusing on preparing for OA," said Jim Culmo, vice-president of Airborne Early Warning and Battle Management Command and Control Programmes for Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems sector. The E-2D is capable of synthesising information from multiple onboard and off-board sensors, making complex tactical decisions and disseminating actionable information to joint forces in a distributed, open-architecture environment.
Against Northrop Grumman is ranged Boeing’s Wedgetail and Saab’s Erieeye aircraft. The head of the Hawkeye’s international division, Tom Vice, told journalists at the IDEX show that “international customers could dovetail into production,” as Northrop Grumman gets ready to start turning out the first of 75 Advanced Hawkeye E2-D ordered by the U.S. Navy.

IDEX 2009 : Caracal to export UAE-made guns to US

Caracal International, the UAE's first small-arms manufacturer, received an export licence from the US on January 15, which will enable it to ship its products to the United States, a senior official said on Monday.Saeed Ali Al Shamsi, commercial director for Caracal International, said this achievement is a milestone in Caracal's strategic plan that was announced during its launch in Idex 2007.

"This has brought Caracal closer to the goal of selling there products internationally."
He added this approval falls in line with the business strategy of a soft entry to the US market before the end of 2009.

"Initially, Caracal management has prioritised selling to our market area - the GCC (Gulf Co-operation Council). Currently, we are in discussions with our neighbouring countries about using the Caracal pistol as their service weapon. We are confident of securing these contracts shortly," Al Shamsi said.

Caracal pistols, Al Shamsi said, have been awarded certificates of approval from three testing authorities in the European Union (EU). "This further complements the unique patented designs of the pistols. It is due to these innovative features that we are confidant in the future of Caracal," he added. "We look forward to the challenge of competing in an industry that has not seen a new small arms manufacturer in approximately 15 years.

"It will take a strong marketing campaign to complement the innovative design of the caracal pistols. The end-user acquires a high-quality system at a reasonable price. With both, we can achieve a decent global market share."

Hamad Khalifa Al Neyadi, managing director of Caracal International added: "In 2007, we launched Caracal to the world, in 2009 we are reaffirming that Caracal is on track with its strategic plan. Investing in industry not to only supply the UAE and GCC, but to supply a global market with highest quality products manufactured in the UAE." Caracal will utilise Idex 2009 to further gain the opportunity to launch the new Caracal SC pistol in to the military and law enforcement agencies around the world. Officials said Idex is the most appropriate time to set follow up meetings and demonstrations with different Armed Forces from visiting countries.

IDEX 2009 : Lockheed nears $7b system deal

Lockheed Martin Corp, the world's largest defence company, said a $7 billion (Dh25.7 billion) agreement to sell an advanced missile defence system to the United Arab Emirates may be reached within 18 months.

"The US government is fully behind selling THAAD to the UAE," said Dennis Cavin, vice president for international air and missile defence strategic initiatives, in an interview in Abu Dhabi yesterday. Delivery would begin after 2012.

The Terminal High-Altitude Area Defence weapon (THAAD) system is capable of shooting down medium-and long-range ballistic missiles. The US Defence Department announced the proposed sale on September 10, saying it will "improve the security of a friendly country."

Middle Eastern states are seeking weapons systems such as missile defence technology because of "an increased awareness of risks and security requirements," said Jim Jamerson, Lockheed Martin president for the Middle East and Africa. Better relations between the US and Iran won't lessen the need for missile defence, added Jamerson, who was attending a military technology conference in the country.

The order would be the first foreign sale of the THAAD system. Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed Martin said in December it would sell Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles to the UAE for use in the Patriot air defence system. The order placed by the US Army and the UAE includes 172 of the PAC-3 missiles and 42 launcher modification kits. Lockheed Martin and partner Raytheon Co, along with the US government, are in talks to sell the missiles to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, Cavin said. "They are also in talks with Qatar, which is seeking to develop missile defence capability," Cavin said.

IDEX 2009 : Roketsan signs deal to develop weapon system

By Himendra Mohan Kumar

Turkey's Roketsan said on Monday that along with its Abu Dhabi-based partner Al Jaber Company, it had reached an agreement for a contract worth about $90 million (Dh330.3 million) to develop a weapons system for an undisclosed country in the Middle East. The announcement was made at the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (Idex-2009), currently underway in Abu Dhabi.

"The weapons system will be developed here in Abu Dhabi and in Turkey," Dr Hudai Ozdamar, Marketing and Public Relations Manager for Roketsan, told Gulf News. "Since the client doesn't want its identity disclosed, we are keeping it under wraps." He said the weapons system will be delivered in 2010. Roketsan also exports its products to the US and the UAE.

It has a contract with the UAE to deliver various rocket systems. The contract was signed in 2003.The company has delivered rocket launchers to the UAE, said Ozdamar.The Ankara-based Roketsan makes rockets that have a range of up to 40 kilometres.

IDEX 2009 : Mortars, guns and missiles to arm UAE patrol boats

The United Arab Emirates navy has released more details on the weapons fit of 24 fast patrol boats being supplied by Abu Dhabi Ship Building under a AED 935 million ($255million) ordered announced earlier this week Abu Dhabi Shipbuilding along with partner SwedeShip Marine are to build 12 new 26.5m fast patrol boats and upgrade 12 existing Ghannatha-class high-speed troop-carrying craft into the same configuration.

The 24 vessels will be produced in three weapon configurations officials revealed here today at the IDEX defense show. The main armament of half the 24 boats will be the MBDA-supplied Marte anti-ship missile. Four missiles will be carried in two launchers on the rear of the Ghannatha class vessels. The UAE is the first customer for the ship-launched version of what is normally a helicopter weapon.

Six of the boats are to be fitted with the Patria developed NEMO 120mm mortar system.
The remainder will be equipped as gunships equipped with a 27mm cannon supplied by Rheinmetall. The gunships will also retain a troop transport capability. Weapons integration is to be undertaken by Abu Dhabi Systems Integration the ADSB / Selex Sistemi Integrati joint venture.

Officials said the first boat would be ready within 18 months of contract award. In a separate move earlier this week ADSB secured a AED416 deal to build 34 high speed interceptor vessels for the UAE’s Critical National Infrastructure Authority. Capable of 50knots the MRTP16 design come’s from Turkish Shipbuilder Yonca Onuk. The first 12 of the lightly armed vessels will be built in the Turkish company’s yard in Istanbul.

Israel boosts Indian missile defence hope


India's hopes of acquiring anti-ballistic missile defence capability have got a boost. Tel Aviv is understood to have asked New Delhi to invest $100 million in the development of Arrow II weapon system.

While South Block is tightlipped over the Israeli proposal, the security establishment here sees this as a tremendous opportunity to secure its defence against the threat of short- and medium-range nuclear capable missiles in the neighbourhood. The threat perception has increased after reports of ‘‘missiles-for-nuclear-technology’’ nexus between Pakistan and North Korea. The Arrow II weapon system is built around the Green Pine Radar System which is capable of simultaneous tracking of tactical ballistic missiles from a range of over 300 kilometres. The system is designed to intercept as many as 14 incoming missiles at the height of 58 km, at nine times the speed of sound. The first test of Arrow II’s ability to launch multiple targets was conducted last month.

Defence sources said that the Tel Aviv’s proposal to involve India in the ongoing development of the Arrow II programme was officially conveyed after the missile test. It is understood that the Israelis also conveyed that Turkey had already invested $100 million in the anti-missile project.
However, Indian involvement in the project is not easy as the system is jointly being run by Israel and the US. The US has already put some $ 628 million into the billion-dollar anti-ballistic missile programme. So any Indian involvement in the Israeli programme will need a go-ahead from Washington.

Given the strong non-proliferation lobby in the US, the State department is none too keen on India acquiring the anti-ballistic missile capability. But Pentagon has a different view on the subject as it recognises India’s long-standing commitment to non-proliferation and the need for New Delhi to beef up its defensive capability. Top Pentagon officials have reportedly said that Indian acquisition of the Arrow system is not in violation of the missile technology control regime as the weapon is purely for defensive purposes.

The Israeli proposal comes at a time when the Indian Navy is doing ship trials of the recently acquired Barak anti-missile system from Tel Aviv. The first of the eight Barak anti-missile systems arrived in India last October and have been installed on guided missile frigate INS Ganga. The western fleet of Indian Navy is trying to integrate the Barak system with the indigenous radars on board the ship.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) acquired a Green Pine Radar system in 2001 from Israel for building up indigenous anti-missile defence capability. The DRDO has amibitious plans to integrate the 25-km range Akash missile and phased array Rajendra radar, both in the development stage, with the Green Pine and the Arrow interceptors. The tedious process may get speeded up if India gets involved in the Israeli project.

IDEX 2009 : UAE selects Finmeccanica for 48 M-346 advanced LIFT aircraft

The United Arab Emirates Government today announced at IDEX 2009 (International Defence
Exhibition & Conference) in Abu Dhabi that it had begun negotiations for the acquisition of 48 M-346 advanced lead-in fighter trainer aircraft manufactured by Alenia Aermacchi, a Finmeccanica company.

The agreement, which also includes the creation of a joint venture in the UAE between Alenia
Aermacchi and the Mubadala Development Company (Mubadala) to establish a final assembly line for the M-346, is the result of close collaboration between the Italian Government and the defence industry, which have worked together to capitalise on Italian excellence in the aeronautics high-tech sector.

"The selection of the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 by the United Arab Emirates Government represents a huge success for the Italian high-tech industry” said Pier Francesco Guarguaglini, Chairman and CEO of Finmeccanica. “It is an endorsement of considerable strategic value for Finmeccanica, as it confirms the supremacy of this advanced next-generation trainer aircraft at international level and paves the way for further successes in the global markets, where others important campaigns are already under way. The UAE Government’s selection of the M-346 forms part of a broader industrial co-operation agreement recently signed by Finmeccanica and Mubadala which foresees, among other things, the manufacturing of aerostructures in composite materials for the civil sector in Abu Dhabi”.

The M-346 “Master”

The M-346 “Master”, designed and developed by Alenia Aermacchi, a Finmeccanica company, is the only new generation advanced lead-in fighter trainer aircraft currently under development in Europe. The twin engine M-346 is tailored to train pilots to fly future combat aircraft and will be used in every phase of advanced and pre-operational training, reducing the hours flown on more expensive aircraft.

In order to optimise training effectiveness and operating costs, the M-346 embodies the latest
concepts of “design-to-cost”, supportability and production optimisation, with an high level of
performances and a human-machine interface representative of new generation combat aircraft such as the Eurofighter, the Rafale, the F-16 and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

IDEX 2009 :Spotlight on Smart Eye UAV

UAE-based ADCOM Military Industries (Hall 5, Stand C40) has unveiled the latest and largest member of its growing family of unmanned air vehicles. Smart Eye is a 21m span high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) UAV with impressive figures claimed for its performance.

Smart Eye is fitted with a primary propeller engine, but has a secondary jet engine that can boost performance and provide power should the main engine fail. With a glide ratio of 1:34, Smart Eye can glide for hundreds of kilometres without power. The normal ceiling of 6,000m can be increased to 8,000m by using the jet.

The slender wings each contain 150 litres of fuel, combining with fuselage tanks to provide a total capacity of 700 litres. This gives a top speed of 220km/h and a claimed endurance of 125 hours.

Maximum payload is 550kg and the Smart Eye can mount two sensor turrets. Development of Smart Eye can be traced back seven years, but the final shape was established about a year ago.
ADCOM reports that all the components have been fully tested, and Smart Eye is ready for production, although yet to fly in its current form. The company has a customer, and expects to build three prototypes for flight, static and engineering tests

IDEX 2009 :ADSB, Raytheon pitching RAM missile support plan

Abu Dhabi Shipbuilding (ADSB) and Raytheon Missile Systems are discussing the establishment of a locally based intermediate-level support facility for RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) rounds being supplied to the UAE Naval Forces’ Baynunah corvette programme.The proposal forms the centrepiece of an offset package being put forward by Raytheon, in conjunction with ADSB, for a Direct Commercial Sale (DCS) of RAM missiles to the UAE government.

Co-developed and coproduced under a US/German co-operative agreement, the RAM Block 1A Helo/Air/ Surface (HAS) missile is a lightweight, quick reaction, high-firepower system designed to provide fire-and-forget defence against anti-ship cruise missiles, helicopters, other airborne threats, and hostile surface craft. The associated Mk 49 Mod 3 Guided Missile Launching System includes a 21-round trainable launcher, plus supporting below-deck electronics and control interface equipment.A DCS worth US$76.5m for the supply of seven Mk 49 Mod 3 launchers was signed by Raytheon and ADSB in January 2007. The first two systems were delivered in January this year: one to the CMN shipyard in Cherbourg, France, where the first-of-class Baynunah corvette is being outfitted; and one to ADSB to serve as a training and reference set.

The UAE has yet to decide whether to purchase the RAM Block 1A HAS missile rounds through a government-togovernment Foreign Military Sales (FMS) deal, or through a DCS sale. Raytheon believes the latter course offers greater flexibility and increased benefits for the customer.According to the company, the proposal to establish an in-country maintenance facility reflects Raytheon’s intention to become a full service provider. “We do not just want to deliver the weapons,” said an official close to the programme, “but also to put in place a structured support process for the customer.”

Under the formative plan, ADSB would establish a test bench facility to test and re-certify the UAE’s inventory of RAM missiles in accordance with Raytheon’s service schedule. It would also oversee any engineering changes or technology insertions.Further ahead, Raytheon suggests that the Mk 49 Mod 3 launcher hardware could also be maintained in-country using the same facility. Another possibility is that ADSB could become a regional hub for RAM intermediate-level support activities.

IDEX 2009 :MPCS to launch Mistral this year

At IDEX two years ago, a full-scale mock-up of the Multi-Purpose Combat System (MPCS) was shown in the Middle East for the first time integrated onto a local chassis. Since then rapid progress has been made, and this year, a functional demonstrator MPCS turret is being shown on the MBDA Stand B14 in Hall 7.

MPCS is being developed as a private venture by MBDA (France) and Rheinmetall Defence (Germany) to meet emerging user requirements for a highly mobile weapon system, which can be rapidly configured for different roles. Within the consortium, Rheinmetall is responsible for the turret and sight, with MBDA for Mistral fire-andforget surface-to-air missile (SAM) and integration.

The functional demonstrator underwent successful target tracking trials in southern France towards the end of 2008. It is expected that a firing trial using the Mistral SAM against an aerial target will take place later this year at the Todendorf range in northern Germany.

Mounted on the roof of the Sherpa is the remote controlled unmanned turret that includes the Rheinmetall dual axis Stabilised Electro-Optical Sighting System (SEOSS) day/thermal sensor suite with integrated eye-safe laser rangefinder and the Rheinmetall Multi-Mode-Tracker.
Besides SEOSS, two pods of Mistral SAM and a .50 (12.7mm) machine gun are mounted on the turret for self-defence purposes.

While MPCS can be operated by a crew of two, it would normally be operated by a crew of three consisting of driver, commander/gunner and additional crew member for communications, when it forms part of an overall integrated air defence system.As the MPCS is of modular design, it can be rapidly adopted for a different mission, for example, antitank. It is expected that the first ATGW application will be the MBDA 3,000m range MILAN-ER (Extended Response) missile.

The consortium is building a second prototype of the MPCS, which is expected to be completed in mid-year. The system should be ready for production by the end of this year.Another version of the MPCS, optimised for naval applications, is under development. The Multi- Purpose Naval Launcher (MPNL), like the land-based system, can fire both SAM and surface-to-surface missiles.

IDEX 2009 :Poly SAMs attack local market

China’s Poly Technologies (Hall 10, Stand D10) is showing its FN-16 manportable fire-and-forget surface-to-air missile (SAM) and its FB-6A mobile version, both of which are claimed to be in service with the People’s Liberation Army and undisclosed export customers.

FN-16 features an IR/ UV two-colour rosette scan imaging seeker, laser proximity fuze and a high-energy motor.According to the company, it has a maximum effective altitude of nearly 4,000m, slant range of 5,500m and a 70 per cent single shot kill probability against fixed-wing aircraft.

The FB-6A mobile version consists of a high mobility cross-country chassis, on the rear of which is a oneperson power-operated turret with a bank of four FN-16 SAM in the ready-to-launch position either side. Additional missiles are carried for manual reloading. These are aimed using a day/night sighting system located between the two banks of FN-6 missiles. If required, the FN-16 and FB-6A SAM could also be integrated into an overall air defence system or a local air defence system.

The latter could be the Poly Technologies TH-311 air defence missile operation and command system based on a cross-country truck chassis. This features an S-band search radar, which can detect targets to a maximum range of 20km and track 22 targets at once.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

IDEX 2009 :Virtual bullets from actual weapons

The UAE has become the first country to witness EST DS, a next-generation system for virtual small arms training developed by Cubic Defense Applications (Hall 1, Stand A25).EST DS is a projector-based trainer that allows trainees to shoot virtual bullets from actual weapons at simulated enemies on high-resolution screens. Customers can tailor their own scenarios using gaming graphics.

The system has been developed from EST 2000, the US Army’s marksmanship trainer. Cubic has installed more than 1,000 EST 2000 systems to US and allied militaries, including the UAE, Jordan, Afghanistan, Kuwait and Germany. The EST 2000 training scenarios take place inside a large tent, facility or mobile shelter.

According to Cubic, the EST DS is a compact shooter system that allows individual solidiers to train in a compact, undedicated area and features advanced game-based graphics. It is also interoperable with other network-based trainers.

Nato offers missile firing training to UAE with Patriot, Roland and Hawk

Abu Dhabi: The Nato Missile Firing Installation offered the UAE training in aerial target simulation for tactical firing with the anti-aircraft and air defence systems, Patriot, Roland and Hawk, it was announced at the region largest military show on Wednesday.

"A select crew of air defenders can travel to the Mediterranean Island of Crete to fire a live Patriot missile in conjunction with their air defence counterparts, as part of a training exercise held by the Nato Missile Firing Installation (NAMFI)," Major General G. Tsartsaris, NAMFI Commander, told Gulf News.

The UAE, he said, can also avail of our experience in setting up its firing range in the country. NAMFI is a firing range with multinational character where Patriot missiles can be fired and ground air defence units can be evaluated in a tactical behaviour. Up to six high performance drones can be simultaneously provided as target presentations. Deployable control and reporting centres and national or Nato airborne early warning systems support these firings.

A multinational evaluation team assesses the performance of the unit. Surface-to-air, air-to-surface, air-to-air and surface-to-surface firings are also possible.NAMFI, Nato's main firing range in Souda Bay, Crete, provides range control, surveillance, target launching facilities and telemetry support for the missiles.

NAMFI fired high speed target drones, which simulated air-to-surface and surface-to-surface anti-ship cruise missiles, against ships using various flight profiles and different degrees of engagement. Cape St George's well-trained crew and fully integrated Aegis combat system performed flawlessly, detecting, tracking and engaging the targets with two well-placed SM-2 standard missiles.

NAMFI has trained and evaluated more than 390,000 soldiers and leaders since it began functioning more than 40 years ago, Tsartsaris said earlier at a presentation at the International Defence Exhibition IDEX."Units leave the range equipped with train as you fight experience and with the ability to make better decisions under pressure," he said.

"Our vision is to provide a world-class range to address the most pressing challenges in the air defence of the 21st century by promoting cooperation with the user nations, placing the highest priority through continuous training, modernising the fire range and introducing new capabilities, and enforcing safety and environmental stewardship,'' Tsartsaris explained.

NAMFI has become over the years the place where people of different nationalities work together promoting mutual understanding and creating a friendly relations among armed forces. This is more important as multinational cooperation is a key principle of our collective defence effort in the 21st century," he said.

IDEX 2009 :Italy's Alenia wins UAE deal worth about $1.3 bln

Italy's Finmeccanica unit Alenia has won a deal worth about 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) to provide the United Arab Emirates with 48 M-346 military training aircraft. "Alenia will supply the UAE air force and air defence with 48 aircraft to cover the requirements of lead and combat air support," said Major General Obaid al-Ketbi, chairman of the IDEX defence exhibition in Abu Dhabi.

Ketibi did not give the value of the deal, but an Alenia official told Reuters it would be in excess of 1 billion euros. "Final contractual agreements will be signed very soon," Ketbi said. Alenia was competing with BAE Systems and a South Korean firm to supply the aircraft.

IDEX 2009 :UAE poised for jet trainer selection

A competition to secure a multi-billion dollar deal for advanced jet trainers to the United Arab Emirates air force may be drawing to a conclusion this week. Alenia Aermacchi’s M-346 is pitched against the Korean Aerospace T-50 in a selection battle which could result in an order for as many as 50 aircraft.

The Italian machine is tipped as the hot favorite by industry executives and others here.Speculation that a choice of an advanced jet trainer is imminent has been around before, only for hopes to be dashed by an evolving requirement and other issues.This time though, the expectation here amongst executives and the media is that the UAE will make an announcement before the IDEX defense show closes Feb 26.That speculation was fuelled earlier this week by a senior UAE military official who told reporters the Ministry of Defence hoped to announce a decision before the end of the show.The deal is heading toward Europe and the M-346 rather than the supersonic T-50 some here are saying.

The next 24 hours may tell.Alenia, though, is playing down expectation of a big contract win, with a spokesman saying they have no knowledge of which way the decision is going.An order for as many as 50 aircraft is up for grabs with the UAE expected to require the jets for advanced trainer and light attack roles.A flying demonstration team is also expected to use the winning aircraft .Originally the request for proposals covered the purchase of 33 aircraft with an option for a further seven.Recently the number of aircraft up for grabs has been increased.

One executive familiar with the negotiations said the requirement was split between20 trainers, a further 20 for combat duties and the remainder for a formation flying team.Some of the light attack aircraft would also likely be dual use for parts of the training curriculum, he said.Alenia is also involved in a parallel competition here which has seen its M-311 basic jet trainer bidding against the Pilatus PC-21.The Italian company says it does not know whether any announcement will be for both requirements or just the one.

India developing surface-to-air missile

Indian is developing a medium-range surface-to-air missile (MR-SAM) in collaboration with Israel for protecting its important cities and installations from enemy aircraft."We are jointly developing a 70-km range MR-SAM in partnership with Israeli companies," Senior DRDO scientist Prahlada told reporters on the sidelines of a DRDO function here."We may take around 12 years but the requirement of the services is that they want it (MR-SAM) fast.

The only way to make it four to five years is to partner with a country which has already developed some of the hardware. If they have have got some hardware and we have got some knowledge, we can do it in 4-5 years," Prahlada said.He added that the DRDO has already developed air defence systems such as the Trishul and the Akash.He said the Akash did not fit the bill for the MR-SAM as its range was only 30 km and the services wanted a missile system with a range of 70 km.He said MR-SAM systems can be deployed for the security of cities such as Delhi and also for securing nuclear installations across the country

IDEX 2009 :Radar Satellites For The Gulf

Plans to launch a four-satellite constellation of radar-surveillance spacecraft were announced at IDEX in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday. The GulfSAR (synthetic aperture radar) satellites will be supplied by Thales Alenia Space and based on the design of Italy's new Cosmo-SkyMed craft, and will work in conjunction with a new state-of-the-art ground control and image exploitation center to be constructed in Abu Dhabi.

The project is being funded and run via US-based 4C Controls, the UAE's Hydra Trading and Baynuna Aviation Service. Retired UAE Air Force Maj. Gen. Khalid Al Buainnain - a key figure in the expansion of the UAE air force - is an executive vice-president of 4C Controls and chairman of Baynuna. Hydra Trading is an investment company focused on defense and security and is owned by the Royal Group, which is controlled by the UAE's royal families. The first two satellites and the ground station are expected to cost $500 million.

The first two satellites are due to be launched in 2012 and the second pair in 2013. They will complement Cosmo-SkyMed because they will be launched into low-inclination orbits - the constellation's coverage will be limited to 43 degrees north and south of the equator, but within that region they will offer much higher revisit rates than the polar-orbiting Italian satellites. They will offer 1-meter-class resolution in spotlight mode.

High revisit rates, project leaders said in Abu Dhabi, mean that the satellites can be used for tasks such as shipping management and the monitoring of critical infrastructure as well as for classic defense reconnaissance missions. The orbital path will also suit customers in South East Asia, and the consortium expects to provide satellite services to government and civilian users worldwide.

Lockheed wins $797 mln deal for Turkish fighters

Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) has won a $797 million contract modification to supply 14 F-16C and 16 F-16D Block 50 fighter jets to the Turkish government, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.The Air Force modified an earlier firm, fixed-price contract with Lockheed, the Pentagon said in its daily digest of major arms deals.In September 2006, the Pentagon approved the sale to Turkey of the 30 fighter jets, engines, radar and electronic warfare equipment, a deal valued at $2.9 billion if all options were exercised.

At the time, it said the sale would improve Turkey's ability to defend its own borders and better contribute to U.S.-led anti-terrorism efforts and NATO operations.Lockheed, which signed a contract with Turkey in May 2007 for its part of the work, a deal valued at $1.78 billion, won an initial amount of $187 million in July 2007 to begin purchasing long-lead items for the fighter jets.Tuesday's contract announcement paved the way for actual production work to begin on the aircraft, said a Lockheed spokeswoman.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

IDEX 2009 :Al Shibl: a lion cub with a great attitude

Being shown for the first time at IDEX is a complete range of vehicles designed, developed and manufactured by the Armoured Vehicles & Heavy Equipment Factory, which is part of the Military Industries Corporation of Saudi Arabia (Hall 12, Stand B25). The latest two armoured vehicles at IDEX are the Al Shibl 1 and Al Shibl 2, both of which are in quantity production and in service with the Saudi Ministry of Defence and Aviation.

They are based on a proven Toyota Land Cruiser (4x4) cross-country chassis and are powered by a 221hp petrol engine coupled to a manual transmission, which gives a maximum speed of up to 120km/h on roads. The allwelded steel hull provides the occupants with protection from 7.62mm small arms fire, although higher levels of protection are available.

The three-crew Al Shibl 1 is typically used for the reconnaissance role, for which it is fitted with a roof-mounted protected weapon station armed with a 7.62mm or .50 machine gun (MG), or a 40mm automatic grenade launcher and has a gross vehicle weight of about 3.6 tonnes.

Al Shibl 2 has a longer wheelbase and a GVW of 4.6 tonnes, and typically has a crew of two plus seven troops. The example shown at IDEX is fitted with a remote overhead weapon station armed with a .50 (12.7mm) MG. Standard equipment includes run-flat tyres and armoured glass, which provides the same level of protection as the hull.

The company has also undertaken a number of upgrade programmes for the home and export markets, which include repowering the French Panhard General Defense AML-60 and AML-90 armoured cars and the M3 APC. In addition, the company has produced a range of special vehicles based on a Toyota chassis, for multi-role missions and special tasks.

IDEX 2009 :GIDS brings Pakistan to the world

Launched in June 2007, Global Integrated Defence Systems (GIDS) (Hall 12, Stand C20) was established with seven of Pakistan’s leading defence companies, offering a range of complementary specialisations and a large collective industrial base as Pakistan’s leading domestic defence supplier.

The basic concept of GIDS was to establish a single provider of integrated solutions across land, sea and air domains for both domestic and export markets.

GIDS companies encompass a broad spectrum of capabilities and products, and their research and development efforts make them the leading investors in Pakistan’s hightechnology sector. While the companies continue to operate independently, they come together under the GIDS banner for export. Most of the group’s export sales are in the Gulf and South Asia regions, where GIDS promotes joint ventures and other agreements with international partners.

The seven companies are Advanced Engineering Research Organisation (AERO), Integrated Defence Systems (IDS), Marine Systems (MSL) Xpert Engineering Services, Institute of Industrial Control Systems (IICS), Al-Technique Corporation of Pakistan (ATCOP) and Scientific Engineering & Technology Services (SETS

IDEX 2009 :Camcopter demonstrates land and sea capability

Schiebel’s Camcopter S-100 vertical take-off unmanned air system (VTUAS) has recently been undertaking a wide-ranging series of demonstrations.In December, the vehicle spent four days with the Austrian Army at its Allentsteig range near Vienna. During these operations it was used in a field exercise, and demonstrated high-altitude flights up to 6,000m.

In the autumn, the Camcopter spent two weeks in the very different environment of the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, operating at sea in a demonstration to the French Navy. In the first phase, the VTUAS operated from a towed barge in the Atlantic, operating in Sea States of up to 3, with 8° of deck pitch and roll. It was then deployed to the frigate Montcalm in the Mediterranean.

The French demonstration followed a series of integration trials aboard the K130 corvettes of the German Navy, a demonstration aboard a Type 21 frigate of the Pakistan Navy, and another campaign on the Spanish Guardia Civil’s Rio Miño.

Schiebel’s S-100 Camcopter VTUAS typically carries a 25kg payload for six hours, with a maximum payload of 50kg, and has been tested with the Thales UK Lightweight Multirole Missile. Its 55hp rotary engine gives a dash speed of 120kts. Take-off and landing are autonomous. Schiebel can be found in the Austrian Pavilion in Hall 12, Stand B03.

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