Thursday, April 30, 2009

IDEF 2009: Raytheon and Havelsan Partner for FFG 7 Fleet Modernization with GENESIS Program

Raytheon Company's Integrated Defense Systems (IDS) and Havelsan Inc. have signed a teaming agreement to cooperatively market the GENESIS Ship Integrated Combat Management System for surface ships of navies worldwide.GENESIS successfully completed at-sea testing and delivery of the first system in 2007. The second and third ships were tested and delivered in 2008. GENESIS was developed for integration, including development; hardware and software testing; training; and maintenance services onboard eight of the frigates that are part of the Turkish fleet.Originally initiated and designed by the Turkish Naval Forces Command for the modernization of USS Oliver Hazard Perry (FFG-7) class frigates, GENESIS has been upgraded and implemented by Havelsan. Raytheon provided fire control and electronic warfare system modifications."In the context of such projects, the most challenging phase is the first delivery. With the delivery of the third ship, GENESIS is a tested and proven solution," said Dr. Faruk A. Yarman, CEO of Havelsan."Today, the GENESIS-implemented frigates are preferred for critical missions, such as the participation of the TCG Giresun as part of an international joint task force fighting increasing piracy in the Gulf of Aden. With the GENESIS system -- originally developed by the Turkish Navy and transferred to Havelsan after the completion of successful sea trials -- FFG 7 class frigates around the world can significantly improve their combat intelligence and ability to take action to counter threats."Raytheon IDS' Charles "Tom" Bush, vice president of Seapower Capability Systems, said:"The GENESIS solution transforms the FFG 7 combat system, giving it outstanding capability to meet today's threats by improving sensor integration, information management, and by reducing reaction times -- all critical capabilities for a modern, front-line combatant. Together, the Raytheon-Havelsan team has provided a complete and affordable solution to modernize and optimize the effectiveness of these tough, multi-mission ships in service in allied fleets around the world."The cooperation of Havelsan and Raytheon in the marketing and implementation of the GENESIS program targets the FFG 7 fleets around the world. The GENESIS system guarantees optimization and effectiveness in the naval combat management. The GENESIS system enhances the ships' situational awareness and accelerates the defense capabilities, decreasing the detect-to-engage reaction time by more than half.Havelsan Inc., a Turkish Armed Forces Foundation company, is active in the fields of C4ISR (Command, Control, Communication, Computer, Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance Systems), Naval Combat Systems, Air Defence Systems, Management Information Systems, Simulation and Training Systems, Homeland Security Systems and Energy Management Systems.Raytheon Company, with 2008 sales of $23.2 billion, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world. With headquarters in Waltham, Mass., Raytheon employs 73,000 people worldwide.

IDEF 2009: FINMECCANICA, ELETTRONICA and HAVELSAN sign a MoU on cooperation in Defence Electronics

Finmeccanica, the Italian leading aerospace, defence and security company, Elettronica, the Italian leader of electronic defence warfare, and Havelsan, the Turkish company leader of C4ISR systems and simulation products, today announced an agreement - signed during the IDEF expo in Istanbul - for a hi-tech industrial Memorandum of Understanding in the Defence Electronics sector.Under this MoU, industrial, technological and commercial opportunities will be pursued in Command and Control Systems, Naval Systems, Air Defence, Electronic Warfare and Homeland Security Systems for Turkish, Italian and third countries market.“Havelsan represents a prestigious partner with extensive resources and the business expertise, whose expansion policy is in perfect harmony with Finmeccanica’s aim to establish a long and fruitful partnership in Turkey and worldwide market”, said Filippo Bagnato, Executive Vice President Technical, Industrial and Commercial of Finmeccanica."Havelsan and Finmeccanica represent formidable partners to team with in the Defence Market", said Donato D’Angelantonio, Vice President Business Development of Elettronica S.p.A. "Their combination of capabilities, resources, expertise and existing capabilities will result in developing and producing complete Defence Systems best meeting the requirements of modern Defence platform of Potential Customers in Turkey, Italy and third countries market".“The reputable stakeholders of this “Agreement”, bring together their best solutions for the market to meet new requirements of modern defense” said Faruk Yarman General Manager of Havelsan.

IDEF 2009: MKU to showcase Instavest Ballistic over vest in Turkey

MKU, a global defense solutions company and a pioneer in personal and vehicle protection solutions, is launching the acclaimed Instavest Ballistic over vest in Turkish market during the IDEF 2009. The IDEF show is in Istanbul starting from April 27-29. The over vest met an equally good reception at LAAD 2009, Latin American Aerospace and Defence Show, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Latin American countries have shown great deal of interest in the world's quickest Release mechanism. The Instavest ballistic over vest features advanced features and an innovative design to offer enhanced protection and comfort to the user. MKU claims that Instavest is the most revolutionary and advanced ballistic vest available in the world today.It was regionally launched officially amongst much fanfare by MKU at IDEX '09 at Abu Dhabi earlier this year in February.Instavest features a new quick release jettison system, which divests the vest immediately from the user's body within a split second in a single action. MKU claims that this new vest, for which it has filed a patent, will change the way soldiers perceive and use a Quick Release Vest. It claims that Instavest is the fastest quick release vest in the world, both, in terms of taking it off and then reassembling it and putting it on. "Although there are some other quick release ballistic vests available in the market - all have cumbersome systems to jettison the vest of the users body, once taken off, it is a very cumbersome process to reassemble the jacket back again due to the various wire systems used in the vests, it takes a lot of training and time for a soldier to put it back again and then also chances are that a normal soldier would not be able to put reassemble it a manner which will ensure a safe jettison in the eventuality of an emergency", said Manish Khandelwal, the Business Manager - Personal Protection, MKU. Manish is also the inventor of Instavest, he claims that 'Instavest from MKU is a jacket that is advanced by design, it is a product which is a result of a lot of research and field trials - it uses no wires or metal parts'. Manish claims that putting the Instavest on and off is so simple that a person can jettison the vest in less than a second in a single action and then reassemble and put it back on in less than 45 seconds

IDEF 2009:SELEX Galileo in the T129 Programme

SELEX Galileo, a Finmeccanica company, has been selected by AgustaWestland to supply the Air Vehicle Monitoring System (AVMS) designed to provide the Turkish T129 with the following functionalities:-- Aircraft system interface Data Acquisition, Status Monitoring and Alert generation-- Managing of maintenance information-- Managing of digitized information to the Core Data Bus Controller-- Visualization of Plant Data Management for crew-- Management of video outputs for Symbol Graphic generation (optional).The design and development of the AVMS is at its final phase and the first prototype is foreseen to be integrated into the T129 rig by mid 2009. The contract includes the delivery of 7 AVMS prototypes followed by the production of 48 shipsets in the period 2011-2016.SELEX Galileo is a key player in the market of Aircraft and Mission Management Computers both for fixed and rotary wing aircraft. SELEX Galileo have also recently collaborated with AgustaWestland to provide an improved AMMC Computers for the Merlin version of the AW101 Helicopter; in the past SELEX Galileo has developed and still produce tailored equipment for the NH90 helicopter (i.e. Plant management Computer and Mission Tactical Computer) while since the 80s SELEX Galileo has designed and produced the Aircraft and Mission Management Computers for the AW101 helicopters including the new refurbished computers for the US101 version.The AVMS is based on a high safety redundant architecture able to provide the whole system functionalities without any discontinuity also in case of a loss of one computer due to possible electrical fault or damage due to other causes (i.e. bullet hits during aircraft operation)The AVMS Software is another peculiar aspect of the System since it provides a virtual interface of the HW to the customer Application Program. The AVMS Software is developed in compliance with the most recent guidelines (Do178B and Do254) in order to assure a design at high safety level.The AVMS ship set is composed by two AMMC computers plus a provision for adding a Removable Data Storing Unit (RDSU) together with a dedicated Equipment SW library. Such SW library provides the main Applicative SW with a set of basic functionalities like health monitoring, deterministic scheduler, redundancy manager in addition to the virtualized layer of all the I/O interfaces.


In March 2007 the AgustaWestland AW129 was selected to meet the Attack and Tactical Reconnaissance Helicopter (ATAK) requirements of the Turkish Land Forces Command and the related contract was signed in September 2007. In accordance to the agreement, Turkish Aerospace Industries, Inc. (TAI) is the prime contractor while AgustaWestland and Aselsan are sub contractors.Moreover, additional leading Turkish aerospace companies are also being involved in the programme with significant industrial benefits for Turkey, including local final assembly, delivery and acceptance of the aircraft. The partners have formed the ATAK TEAM to develop the T129.

IDEF 2009:Raytheon Names Roketsan Key Supplier for Patriot Missile Assembly

Raytheon Company has named a Turkish missile manufacturer as an international supplier of a key component of the Patriot Guidance Enhanced Missile-Tactical (GEM-T).Under the agreement, Roket Sanayii ve Ticaret A.S (Roketsan) of Ankara, Turkey, will subcontract to Raytheon to integrate and test the control actuation system for the Patriot GEM-T missile for the United Arab Emirates. Working with subcontractors throughout Turkey and the United States, Roketsan will coordinate and perform the major assembly work at its Ankara facility.Roketsan is Raytheon's first major trans-Atlantic supplier strategically located to support the 11 countries in Europe and Asia, including several in the Middle East, that have chosen Patriot as a key component of their air and missile defense programs."Roketsan joins Raytheon as a key strategic partner providing integrated air and missile defense to a growing number of international customers," said Sanjay Kapoor, vice president for Patriot Programs at Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems (IDS). "To have a supplier with Roketsan's track record and technical expertise located in Turkey, the crossroads between Europe and Asia, will enable us to be even more responsive to our current and potential customers in the region."Furthermore, Turkey is a stalwart member of NATO and is a key strategic partner of the United States," Kapoor said.In business since 1988, Roketsan is a proven leader in missile and rocket programs and a major part of Turkey's defense industry."We are delighted to be working with Raytheon on the Patriot program," said Huseyin Baysak, general manager at Roketsan. "We have the engineering expertise, experience, talented people, suppliers, and facilities to produce precise and reliable control actuation system assemblies for the GEM-T. Patriot is a combat-proven system ensuring the security of so many countries from air and missile threats. We're proud to be recognized for the capabilities we bring in what has been a very successful program for a long time and is only getting better."Raytheon IDS is the prime contractor, both domestic and international, for the Patriot Air and Missile Defense weapon system and the system integrator of the PAC-3 missile into the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) system.Integrated Defense Systems is Raytheon's leader in Global Capabilities Integration providing affordable, integrated solutions to a broad international and domestic customer base, including the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, the U.S. Armed Forces and the Department of Homeland Security.Raytheon Company, with 2008 sales of $23.2 billion, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world. With headquarters in Waltham, Mass., Raytheon employs 73,000 people worldwide.

IDEF 2009:Turk Aselsan agrees deal with Finmeccanica unit

Turkish defence equipment maker Aselsan (ASELS.IS) said on Wednesday it had agreed to a partnership with a unit of Italy's Finmeccanica (SIFI.MI) for work on defence systems for a new type of submarine.Under the deal Finmeccanica unit WASS and Aselsan will integrate WASS-manufactured Black Shark torpedoes into the submarine's anti-torpedo defence system.The agreement on the project, for which no value was given, could be expanded to include torpedo production at a later date, the company said in a statement. Shares in Aselsan were trading 7.33 percent higher at 4.10 lira, outperforming a positive Istanbul stock exchange.Germany's HDW and Great Britain's MFI won a tender last July to procure six submarines for Turkey's armed forces. The project is expected to be worth approximately $2.5 billion.Aselsan said earlier on Wednesday that it planned to sign a contract with the Chilean armed forces to help modernise a fleet of 100 Leopard tanks.The project with Chile is estimated to be worth $150 million, the company said in a statement to the stock exchange.Aselsan, which is also working with Lockheed Martin in a multi-nation F-35 fighter jet project, said it was also looking at other partnerships with Chile.A Turkish Defence Ministry official said on Tuesday that he expected Aselsan's share from the F-35 project to reach $1 billion.

Pakistan to co-produce Oerlikon 35mm Ammo at POF

Chairman POF Board Lt. Gen. Syed Sabahat Husain and Peter Weilenmann President M/s Oerlikon of Switzerland signing a letter of understanding for co-production and co-marketing of Oerlikon 35mm Air Defence Ammo at POF
Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) Pakistan's premier Defence Industrial Establishment has concluded a joint venture with a European giant for high technology weapons system.Chairman POF Board Lieutenant General Syed Sabahat Husain from POF and Peter Weilenmann President from Oerlikon (Waffer Rheinmetall Munition) of Switzerland signed a letter of understanding on the 2nd day of the defence exhibition IDEF-2009 being held at Istanbul Turkey for co-production & co-marketing of 35mm Air Defence Ammo at POF.It is pertinent to mention here that the technology of this Ammo will be transferred to POF free of cost. This ammo is the dire need of the Armed Forces of Pakistan and presently, the requirement of this ammo is being met through import from the various countries of the world. The production of this ammo at POF will strengthen our Air Defence and will enhance the capability of the Armed Forces of Pakistan.Through the production of this latest ammo at POF Wah, Pakistan will be able to save huge foreign exchange being met on the procurement of this Air Defence ammo. First the Armed Forces of Pakistan will be equipped with this latest defence ammunition and subsequently its surplus capacity will be utilised for export to the friendly countries.POF is now heading towards partnering its competencies with renowned brands around the world in the form of joint ventures. The flexibility to accommodate any entrepreneurial venture on sound commercial and professional lines has created good space to welcome collaboration in the military and commercial arenas

IAF's SU-30 MKI crashes, one pilot dead

One Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot was killed and another seriously injured in the first-ever Su-30 MKI fighter jet crash on Thursday in the country near here. The deceased pilot has been identified as Wing Commander P S Nara and the injured as Wing Commander S V Munje, IAF officials said in New Delhi. A court of inquiry has been ordered into the mishap. According to Defence PRO Lt Col N N Joshi, the crash took place around 10.20 hours about 70 km southeast of here near Rajmathai-Hariyasar village in Rajasthan when the two pilots flew out the aircraft on a routine sortie. Within a few minutes of taking off, the pilots reported trouble in the aircraft and both ejected out of the cockpit, after directing the aircraft on to a vacant agricultural land. But both pilots suffered serious injuries and were rushed by an IAF rescue team to a nearby military hospital, sources said. While Wg Cdr Nara succumbed to injuries, the condition of Wg Cdr Munje is said to be stable. The front line fighter aircraft and the pilots, sources said, belonged to one of the Sukhoi squadrons based in Lohegaon near Pune. The aircraft from the squadron had come here to participate in regular flying exercises that they are subjected to annually, sources said.

Pakistan eases fears by sharing nuclear secrets

By Farhan Bokhari

Pakistan's senior civil and military officials are sharing tightly held information about the country's nuclear arms programme with western countries in an effort to allay fears about the security of weapons in the face of a Taliban advance. The decision highlights global concerns about the safety of up to 100 atom bombs in Pakistan's possession, as the country tries to repel Taliban militants who advanced last week to within 100km of Islamabad. Pakistan is secretive about its nuclear programme, developed outside the non-proliferation treaty in an arms race with India. A senior western envoy in Islamabad said diplomats had been given assurances about the security in place for the weapons systems and also their distance from Taliban-held territory. Pakistani officials presented this as action to satisfy the west that its weapons would not fall into Taliban hands. "We have renewed our pledge to keep our nuclear weapons safe," said a Pakistani official. The briefings were meant to be "reassuring" to the international community in regard to safety measures. Last night, the Pakistani army said it had halted the latest Taliban incursion in the Buner district, 100km north-west of Islamabad, after two days of fighting. "We have successfully blocked Taliban advances and confined them just to a pocket," said Rehman Malik, the interior minister. The army has been accused in the west of failing to challenge the militants. Western diplomats said yesterday a Taliban advance on Islamabad threatened to bring them close to nuclear installations. They doubted the militants were capable of overwhelming heavily protected facilities. At the weekend, Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, described the toppling of the Pakistani government and capture of nuclear weapons as "unthinkable". Western diplomats say the nuclear programme resides in a "ring-fenced" part of the military under the command of a well-respected general and protected from rogue elements within the army that might seek to capture a weapon. But although security improvements have been made, Pakistan has not complied with the high levels recommended to it. Security worries date back to 2004, when the proliferation network of Abdul Qadeer Khan, founder of the country's nuclear programme, came to light. One danger identified by the international community was that one of his scientists might help extremists to gain a "dirty bomb". Since then, the Pakistani military has tightened monitoring of individual scientists and has introduced new inventory systems in order to track the bomb components.

Textron in $60 mln helicopter deal for Iraq

Textron Inc (TXT.N) has received a $60.3 million U.S. Army contract to supply 24 Bell Armed 407 helicopters to Iraq, with an option for 26 more, the U.S. Defense Department said Wednesday.The helicopters are part of a weapons package unveiled last December to boost the Iraqi Air Force as U.S. armed forces prepare to leave Iraq by the end of 2011. The Army is middleman under the Pentagon's Foreign Military Sales program.The initial 24 helicopters are to be produced over 27 months and the others within another 13 months if the option is exercised, the Pentagon's daily contract digest said.Work is to be performed in Alliance, Texas, (55 percent ) and Mirabel, Quebec, (45 percent) with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2012, the Defense Department said.

Textron in $60 mln helicopter deal for Iraq

Textron Inc (TXT.N) has received a $60.3 million U.S. Army contract to supply 24 Bell Armed 407 helicopters to Iraq, with an option for 26 more, the U.S. Defense Department said Wednesday.The helicopters are part of a weapons package unveiled last December to boost the Iraqi Air Force as U.S. armed forces prepare to leave Iraq by the end of 2011. The Army is middleman under the Pentagon's Foreign Military Sales program.The initial 24 helicopters are to be produced over 27 months and the others within another 13 months if the option is exercised, the Pentagon's daily contract digest said.Work is to be performed in Alliance, Texas, (55 percent ) and Mirabel, Quebec, (45 percent) with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2012, the Defense Department said.

US appears split over missile strikes in Pakistan

The Obama administration appears divided over whether CIA missile strikes should be used against Taliban safe havens across the border in Pakistan's restive Baluchistan province.Like Pakistan's northwestern tribal areas, Baluchistan and its provincial capital Quetta provide a safe haven for Islamist militants intent on carrying out cross-border attacks against Afghan government and NATO targets, U.S. officials say."You find the same sort of leadership, medical support, logistics, personnel, recruitment, training," said a senior defense official, one of half a dozen U.S. officials who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity.But while the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) are home to al Qaeda and other militant groups, Baluchistan, which is on the FATA's southern border, is a base for Afghan Taliban leaders, including Mullah Omar, who were driven from power in Afghanistan in 2001 by U.S.-led forces.The province, stretching from Afghanistan to the Arabian Sea and west to Iran, is also an entry point for FATA-bound foreign fighters, Pakistani security officials say.What to do about Baluchistan is a question facing U.S. policymakers now that President Barack Obama has opted to more than double the number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan this year to 68,000 troops. That includes 12,000 Marine and Army combat forces expected there by summer.Experts and officials say the administration may have less leverage in Baluchistan than in the FATA. Unlike al Qaeda and the other FATA-based groups, they say, Pakistan does not recognize the Afghan Taliban as a security threat and may fear that action against them would stir trouble with Baluchi separatists who have long opposed Islamabad.


The question has also sown division over the high-stakes tactic of using CIA missile strikes to degrade the Taliban leadership, officials say, with newer Obama appointees taking a hard look at the potential ramifications for Baluchistan. Some Pentagon officials are also reluctant to embrace the idea.Some in the administration favor attacking Taliban leaders with missile strikes from pilotless CIA drones, saying the tactic has eliminated militant leaders and disrupted planning for cross-border attacks in the FATA.But others fear missile attacks in Baluchistan could cause a destabilizing backlash for Pakistan's fragile civilian government at a time when social and economic turmoil is fueling religious extremism across the country.Officials say the main concern is that Taliban leaders are believed living in populated areas among an estimated 120,000 Afghans, including many prospective militant recruits whose families have lived in Baluchistan since the Soviet era."The Taliban's Quetta shura are believed to be in the refugee camps outside the city. If you target the refugee camps, you wind up killing a lot of refugees and that's a real human rights controversy," said David Kilcullen, a State Department expert on counterinsurgency under the Bush administration.A U.S. drone fired a missile on Wednesday into Pakistan's South Waziristan, which is part of the FATA and is north of Baluchistan, but there were no immediate reports of casualties, intelligence officials said.Some experts say the United States is unlikely to launch a missile campaign as robust as the one in the FATA, and officials acknowledge that the threat of strikes is seen as a way to pressure Islamabad into taking at least limited action against Taliban leaders."Anything that makes that senior leadership uncomfortable, forces it to move more, maybe takes a few of them out through arrests, that alone would start showing benefits on the other side," the defense official said.Officials in Washington have long acknowledged that CIA drone attacks in the FATA are carried out under a clandestine U.S.-Pakistani agreement that allows Islamabad to condemn the actions publicly.Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari declared recently that there would be no U.S. missile strikes in Baluchistan.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Joint Turkey-Syria Military drill ‘Disturbing’ for Israel

The Turkish military said it launched a joint drill with Syrian soldiers on their shared border Monday in order to improve security. Israel, an ally of Turkey and a longtime foe of Syria, expressed concern.Military teams from Turkey and Syria were scheduled to cross the border and visit outposts during the three-day exercises, the Turkish military said. It described the drill as the "first-ever" between the countries. There was no mention of the joint operation in Syrian media. However, government newspapers reported Monday that Syrian Defense Minister Hassan Ali Turkmani had begun a five-day visit to Turkey for talks with Turkish officials and also to attend an international defense fair in Istanbul. In Istanbul, senior defense officials from Turkey and Syria also signed an agreement for cooperation in the defense industry, the Anatolia news agency reported. The agency quoted Turkish Maj. Gen. Beyazit Karatas as saying the deal would lay out the legal framework for future defense industry cooperation and increase contacts between the two countries' defense ministries.Tensions between Turkey and Syria were once high because Abdullah Ocalan, leader of Turkey's rebel Kurdistan Workers' Party, sheltered in Syria. Turkey massed troops on the Syrian border. Damascus then expelled Ocalan and he was captured in Kenya in 1999.Antagonism between the neighbors had also mounted in the 1990s when Turkey developed military ties with Israel.Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Monday that he viewed the exercise "as definitely a worrisome development.""But I believe that the strategic relations between Israel and Turkey will prevail over Turkey's need to participate in such an exercise," Barak said.Turkey has long been Israel's closest ally in the Muslim world, and hosted several rounds of indirect negotiations between Syria and Israel last year.However, ties between Turkey and Israel deteriorated during the Gaza war, and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reprimanded Israeli President Shimon Peres over civilian casualties in Gaza at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.Turkish defense ties with Israel include training agreements and purchases from Israel worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

IDEF 2009: Turkey, Germany to cooperate in defense

Turkey and Germany today will sign an agreement over cooperation in defense equipment research, development, production, procurement, support in training and industrial cooperation on the sidelines of the IDEF'09 in İstanbul. The agreement will lay the groundwork for a strategic partnership between the two countries in the defense industry, said a statement released by the German Embassy in Ankara on Thursday. Turkey's intention to forge cooperation with Germany in the production of strategic Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), which can fly at an altitude of over 30,000 feet and have a long range, has prompted Ankara to sign defense industry cooperation with Berlin. The EADS consortium of Germany and France is currently developing a strategic UAV. The agreement will also pave the way for Turkish-German cooperation in the production of standard jammers for the air force that prevent enemy radars from detecting F-16 fighter jets. However, the Undersecratariat for the Defense Industry (SSM), Turkey's main civilian procurement agency, is said to be in favor of cooperation with Germany on the acquisition of standard jammer systems while the Turkish Air Force Command has allegedly been opposing cooperation with Germany. In a separate development, Germany has refused to provide Turkey with the national software source codes of submarines with air-independent propulsion (AIP) systems. The SSM selected Germany's Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW) and Marine Force International (MFI) to provide its Type 214 (AIP submarines) craft in July 2008. Contract negotiations for the 2.5 billion euro program are continuing and the boats are to be built at Turkey's Gölcük naval shipyard, with the first boat to be delivered in 2015.

BrahMos attracts buyers at Latin American defence expo

A joint military product of India and Russia, the supersonic BrahMos cruise missile has impressed countries at the recently concluded Latin American defence expo held in Brazil, with at least three nations showing keen interest in buying the missile system, a senior official said. At the Latin America Aero and Defence expo organised at Rio de Janeiro April 14-17, defence officials from Brazil, Chile and South Africa thronged the stall of BrahMos. "Brazil, Chile and South Africa have shown interest in the shore-based and ship-based versions of the missile," a senior official of BrahMos Aerospace Ltd. India had shown the footage of the successful March 29 trial of the 32-tonne missile with a range of 290 km. The missile had hit the "bull's eye" during the trial. The defence minister of Brazil, South Africa's army chief and senior defence officials of Chile wanted more information about the missile. "The officials were particularly keen to know more about the ship-based version of the missile," the official said. He was also at the defence expo. India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has recently conducted successful vertical launch of the missile in the Bay of Bengal. "The speed of the missile also impressed them," the official said. The missile, which takes its name from the Brahmaputra and Moskva rivers, has a 300-km range and carries a 300-kg conventional warhead. It can achieve speeds of up to 2.8 Mach or nearly three times the speed of sound. Cruise missiles fly at low altitudes and have the ability to evade enemy radars and air-defence systems. They are also easier and cheaper to operate. Each missile system costs nearly Rs.100 million ($2 million) and the BrahMos Aerospace Ltd plans to sell 1,000 of them. The Indian Army has already begun inducting the land-fired version of the BrahMos, with the first battery entering service in June 2007. Each battery is equipped with four mobile launchers mounted on heavy 12x12 Tatra transporters. The army plans to induct three more such batteries. The anti-ship naval version has also been inducted into service with its integration on the destroyer INS Rajput, with two other ships of the same class to be similarly equipped. The missiles will also be mounted on the three 7,000-tonne Kolkata class destroyers currently being constructed at Mumbai's Mazagon docks.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

IDEF 2009:Republic of Azerbaijan ready to conquest the defense market

Ministry of Defence Industry of Azerbaijan Republic presents his products at IDEF 2009. Products being produced in the Facilities of the Ministry of Defense Industry will be showcased for the first time in the 9-th International Defense Exhibition Fair. This is the first International Exhibition where the Republic of Azerbaijan is going to be represented with its Defense Industry. President Ilham Aliyev acquired the capabilities of the “Matador” vehicle placed in the workshop for armor protected vehicles. The vehicle assembled at the Plant under the agreement with “Paramount Group” Company of South Africa meets all global standards due to its technical specifications. Azerbaijan is the sole producer of the armored vehicles within the Commonwealth area. The “Matador” had a payload capacity of 4500 kg and can carried 14 full equipped soldiers. “Matador” can climb the slope of 60 degrees with its 6.57 meters long and 2.47 meters wide hull.

IDEF 2009: New remote controlled stabilized gun system from Aselsan

The “STOP” is a new generation, cost effective, medium caliber weapon system for naval platforms. The system provides lightweight, versatile and effective means of force protection for application ranging from capital ships to patrol craft. The remote gun system “STOP” has exceptionally high and kills probability with an impressive firepower. Comprising of a two-axis stabilized turret containing and electro-optical sensor suite and fire-control software, “STOP” is capable of acquiring targets and engaging them autonomously either via the Ship's Combat management System or by use of own sensors. The optical sensors suite of "STOP" provides enhanced situational awareness and the ability to identify and engage threats day or night, in all weather conditions. The second new turret is the ASRLS for Anti-Submarine Rocket Launching System. Naval forces need to control penetrations to territory waters and main bases to deny enemy submarines. In order to improve the capability of Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Systems operating in littoral environments where sound propagation frequently causes very short sonar detection ranges and high false alarm rates on sonar systems due to adverse acoustic conditions, there is a certain need to Low Cost ASW Weapons effective in shallow waters. The turret is composed by a two-axis, gyro-stabilized. The ASRLS is armed with 6 anti-submarine rockets ready to fire.

IDEF 2009:The new range of wheeled armoured vehicle from the Turkish Company BMC

At the International Defence Industry Fair, the Turkish company BMC presents two new vehicles. The first one is the BMC-350-16 Z (4x4) MRAP, this vehicle is a member of the MRAP family, MRAP vehicles usually have "V" shaped hulls to deflect away any explosive forces originating below the vehicle, thereby protecting the vehicle and its passenger compartment. Typically these explosions are from land mines, but they can also be IEDs. The BMC-350-16 Z is equipped with armored cabin and glasses; shock absorber seats for the driver, the commander and 10 full armed personnel. The BMC 350-16 Z MRAP can carry 10 fully armed soldiers and it can resist 10kg TNT under wheels, 8kg TNT under body (stanag 4569 4a-3b). The second one, is the BMC-250-10 Z (4x4) WCV (Weapon Carrier Vehicle), this vehicle can also be used as MPAV (Multi Purpose Armoured Vehicle). The BMC 250-10 Z (4x4) is also equipped with armored cabin and glasses. The vehicle is equipped with shock absorber seats for driver, commander, and 7 to 9 full armed personnel. For his self-protection, the vehicle is equipped with ballistic armour.

IDEF 2009: Otokar to exhibit its new generation armoured vehicles

Otokar, the leading land systems company of Turkish Defence Industry, exhibits its own design military vehicles 9th International Defence Industry Exhibition, IDEF 2009. Otokar present at IDEF 2009, three different version of the Cobra, the new mine protected armoured vehicle family the Kaya and Kale, new Land Rover Defender models, and a new version of the Otokar armoured patrol vehicle. Otokar launches the mine resistant armoured vehicle, with two versions of the Kaya, the personnel carrier and the cargo carrier, in addition for the first Otokar present the new mine protected armoured vehicle Kale, a 100% design and production vehicle of Otokar. The range is especially designed in order to provide mine and ballistic protection for the troops on all terrain conditions, while offering high mobility, outstanding crew comfort, and ease of handling. The new version of the Kaya, the cargo carrier is designed as a suitable platform for cargo transport in different terrain conditions. Armoured cabin of the vehicle provides the high protection for the crew against kinetic energy threats and explosives. The cargo carrier variant is rated to carry minimum 4,5 tons of mission payload.

Varyag has been moved

Pictures are courtesy of China Defense Blog and CDF . Apparently, the Soviet aircraft carrier Varyag, currently in Dalian, has been moved to a new position. Ship may be out to test the engine

BEL in talks with Thales of France to make radars

Public sector Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) is in advanced talks with Thales Group, a French defence electronics firm, to set up a joint venture to make radars for both the military and civilian markets in India, a person close to the development said.BEL also expects to source advanced radar technology from Thales, which makes the avionics in the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft.The deal is expected to be finalized in three months, the person mentioned earlier said. He did not want to be named at this stage of the talks.Both BEL and Thales declined comment. The proposed venture is part of BEL’s plans to expand its business and double revenue to Rs10,000 crore by 2011-12. The firm earned 86% of its annual revenue of Rs4,611 crore in 2008-09 from the defence sector. It has an order book of Rs10,100 crore.“The (local) market for radars is growing. It is not only the demand for larger national security by the military, but also the civilian security forces,” said Deba Mohanty, senior fellow in security studies at the Observer Research Foundation. “Such kind of joint ventures should actually be the model for bridging technology gaps.”He did not have an estimate for the radar market in India. Earlier on Tuesday, BEL chairman V.V.R. Sastry told reporters BEL was in talks with reputed foreign and Indian players for forming joint ventures in areas such as missile electronics, guidance systems, microwave super components, electro-optics and airborne electronic warfare systems. “We are in advanced stage of finalization with some companies for the joint ventures,” he said, but declined to give details. Sastry is set to retire on 30 April and Ashwani Kumar Datt, director of other units at BEL, will take over on 1 May. India opened its defence sector to private investment in 2001 but has kept a ceiling on foreign investment in Indian defence companies to a maximum of 26%. Since then, the Indian defence sector has attracted foreign equity worth a mere Rs68.7 lakh, according to a note in March by the department of industrial policy and promotion, under the ministry of commerce and industry.BEL, the sole maker of radars in the country, has to get the government’s approval before formalizing any joint venture. BEL currently makes military radars such as Rohini and 3D tactical control radars it jointly developed with the Defence Research and Development Organisation. Some radars meant for military use can be modified for civilian use for security and surveillance purposes.Thales has an existing 26% investment in a joint venture with New Delhi-based Samtel Display Systems Ltd—Samtel Thales Avionics Pvt. Ltd—to locally produce and sell avionics systems and helmet-mounted sight display systems for IAF.BEL has a memorandum of understanding with Astra Microwave Products Ltd, a Hyderabad-based electronic components firm, to set up a joint venture to make microwave components. Astra has a 51% stake in the new venture, which will become operational this year.BEL also has pacts with Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd and Elisra Group of Israel to jointly develop unmanned aerial vehicles and airborne electronic warfare systems.

Air Force losing more drones than Army :Young

The Air Force has lost many more unmanned aerial vehicles than the Army, in part because Army drones have the ability to land themselves, the Pentagon’s outgoing procurement chief said on Monday. John Young, the undersecretary of Defense for acquisitions, technology and logistics, raised the issue Monday shortly before his replacement was sworn in. While discussing problems with the acquisition process, Young mentioned that the Army and Air Force are not talking to each other about their unmanned aerial vehicles programs. "The Air Force built a budget that didn’t include putting auto-land capability in their Predators, despite the fact that we’ve lost a third of the Predators we’ve ever bought, and a significant fraction of the losses are attributable either to the ground control station or the pilot’s operation of that ground control station, or the pilot’s operation of the vehicle," he said. "Of the 65 mishaps, 36 percent are human error, many of those attributable to ground station problems, a Defense official said. "Roughly half of those happened during the landing phase." Predators cost between $3 million and $4 million, Young said. Army unmanned aerial drones have the ability to land themselves, and the Army has lost "an insignificant fraction" of the aircraft, Young said. "I have mandated in acquisition decision memorandums that the Air Force move as fast as possible to an auto-land capability," he said. With improvements to ground stations and the added ability for Predators to land themselves, Predator losses are expected to drop by 25 percent, he said. Defense Secretary Robert Gates recently said unmanned aircraft are "a big part of our future" given their advantages over manned aircraft. He mentioned the Reaper, an unmanned drone that can carry a payload of up to 3,000 pounds, compared to the Predator’s 500-pound payload. "An F-16 has a range of about 500 nautical miles. A Reaper has a range of 3,000 nautical miles. A Reaper can dwell — has a dwell time over a target that can allow it to find and fix a target and then attack that target, by staying over it for a period of hours," Gates said recently at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I. Also Monday, Young said he hopes a lighter variant of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle can give troops "most of the survivability" they need. While MRAPs have proven effective in Iraq, their size and weight may restrict where they can go in Afghanistan, which does not have a developed road network. That is why Defense officials hope to field a lighter version of the MRAP known as the MRAP-All Terrain Vehicle by the end of the year in Afghanistan. "My biggest concern is a lot of those MRAPs’ survivability is associated with weight," Young said. "I think we will have to have a good discussion with the user community about — you can have a vehicle that’s this light, and has this much off-road capability and all these other things and it has this much survivability, but I don’t know if we’re going to be [able] to get everything they want in that package."

IDEF 2009: Turkish Company Nurol presents the EJDER wheeled armoured vehicle

The EDJER 6 x 6 vehicles represents the new EJDER vehicle family concept of Nurol Makina ve Sanayi AS. The EJDER family of vehicles covers a wide range of wheeled armored vehicle, ranging from lightweight infantry personnel carrier to heavy fire support. The various EJDER versions share the same chassis to a certain extent, thereby minimizing maintenance and simplifying logistics. With the increased vehicle dimensions and an improved drive train, outstanding mobility over rough terrain is guaranteed. It also provides a roomy interior for its class and ample payload. There is also an amphibious version of the EJDER, this vehicle is equipped with two mechanically-driven water jets mounted to the back side of the vehicle. The EDJER is used by the Georgian armed forces.

IDEF 2009: New wheeled armoured vehicle ,the Gekko from Temsa

Over past 2 years Temsa R&D and Technology center have developed production methods for advanced composite armoured panels. Ballistic tests haven been performed on panels made of different fiber and matrix systems and ceramic shielding in accredited institutions for certifications. These developments have led to a number of lightweight armour protection solutions. These solutions, together with the vast experience of TEMSA GLOBAL in the automotive business, resulted in the protective modular body of TEMAS R&D's Gekko concept Vehicle. GEKKO Multi-Purpose Composite Vehicle, the first phase of which will be completed in the first quarter of 2010, will have full body lightweight composite armour. The vehicle is expected to have an impact with its agility under asymmetric threats, harsh environmental conditions and with its add-on armours for higher threat levels which are planned to be installed in the second phase of development.

IDEF 2009:Eurofighter in Turkey

Turkey’s 9th four day International Defence Industry Fair (IDEF) kicks off today at the Tuyap Fair, Convention and Congress Center in Büyükçekmece, Istanbul. Eurofighter Typhoon exhibits at the event as it has in previous years. The purpose of our attendance is to support the current Eurofighter Typhoon export activities in Turkey, led by our partner company Alenia Aeronautica.Eurofighter Typhoon will focus its presence on a stand with the Eurofighter Cockpit Demonstrator and a movie theatre showing several promotional videos including Safeguarding our Nations Future and 2008 Highlights. Also on display will be a half scale EJ200 engine model, a CAPTOR-E RADAR, Praetorian DASS pods, a PIRATE/IRST model, a 1/12th scale Eurofighter Typhoon model and an HEA display. Eurofighter GmbH will be working alongside the Finmeccanica exhibit and in conjunction with the Alenia team.Our objective is to demonstrate the excellent operational capabilities of Eurofighter Typhoon and the benefits of the Eurofighter partnership to the official visitors and delegations, with a focus on Turkey’s political, military, and industrial representatives.

Ships of NATO Maritime Group One in Pakistan

(L-R) Chief staff officer of the Pakistan fleet Commander Jamel Akhtar, Commander standing NATO Maritime Group One Rear Admiral Jose Domingos Pereira Da Cunha and Commander standing NATO Maritime Group One Capitan Carlo Rijkart hold a press conference in Karachi on April 26, 2009. NATO will begin two days of joint naval exercises with Pakistan on Monday as part of an effort to enhance cooperation in counter-terrorism and anti-piracy measures. Ships of NATO Maritime Group One, are parked at a harbour in Karachi Pakistan on 26 April 2009. Five ships, of the Standing NATO Maritime Group 1, consisting of Portuguese, Canadian, Spanish, Dutch frigates and a German tanker will participate in a two-day exercise with Pakistan Navy vessels in the open sea from April 27

Monday, April 27, 2009

US Plans to Transfer 8,000 Hummers to Iraq

“RESET of the US Army’s Vehicle Fleet Continues” covers the USA’s HMMWV RECAP program, while noting that the extra weight of the add-on armor was wearing out Hummers to the point where even RESET/RECAP programs may not be able to extend their life much. One solution is to turn them over to Iraqi forces, who are often driving unarmored pickup trucks. On Jan 17/08, a ceremony in Taji, Iraq marked the beginning of a program to refurbish and transfer more than 4,244 up-armored Humvees from US inventory to the government of Iraq by the end of 2008, and reach more than 8,000 Hummers transferred by the end of 2009. So, how are they doing? BaghdadThese Humvees start the transition process at the Camp Taji Redistribution Property Assistance Team Yard, a few miles north of Baghdad. By the time the January 2008 ceremony took place, 627 vehicles were already staged in the holding yard. They’ll receive a maintenance overhaul of brakes, belts and fluids, and can need to be shipped out for more extensive work if necessary. Once the vehicles are deemed fit, the appropriate paint scheme is applied, and quality assurance checks are conducted. Then the vehicles are be transferred to the government of Iraq. The 13-month contract can be extended by an additional 6 months, and is expected to generate more than 500 jobs, while serving as an on-the-job training mechanism for Iraqi soldiers who have completed their initial training.

IDEF 2009AgustaWestland Unveils The TUHP 149 Helicopter To Meet The Turkish Utility Helicopter Programme

AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, unveiled a full scale mock-up of the TUHP 149 helicopter at IDEF 2009 in Istanbul today. The TUHP 149 is the AgustaWestland candidate for the Turkish Utility Helicopter Programme (TUHP). It is a new generation 8.1 ton medium lift multi-role helicopter designed to meet the military requirements of Turkish end users. The TUHP 149 maximizes the involvement of TAI and additional leading Turkish aerospace and defence companies, including ASELSAN, TEI, ROKETSAN, HAVELSAN, building on the strategic partnership already set up by AgustaWestland and Turkish industries through the ATAK programme.

The TUHP 149 features a wide, constant cross section and unobstructed cabin with large sliding doors. The cabin can be easily reconfigured to meet different operational requirements with the capability to transport up to 18 equipped troops. The leading edge technology, open architecture digital avionics and integrated mission and weapon systems allow the aircraft to undertake a wide range of missions. The high performance twin engine helicopter is designed for operations in all environments day and night. The aircraft can be configured to carry a wide range of weapons, including rocket launchers, air-to-surface and machine-guns as well as external auxiliary tanks in a variety of combinations. Pintle mounted machine-guns can also be fitted on fixed frame windows or in the doors. Structural provisions for the installation of an external cargo hook, heavy duty rescue hoist and a wide range of other mission equipment are provided.

The TUHP 149, due to its modular design for rapid role re-configuration, is perfectly suited to perform an impressive range of duties including troop transport, battlefield and logistic operations, fire support, SAR and combat SAR, special forces operations, reconnaissance, surveillance, CASEVAC, command control and communication, external load lifting as well as VIP military transport. The new technology TUHP 149 has been designed from the outset with low support and maintenance requirements to minimize the operating costs and the through life ownership costs. A range of support and training services packages will be available to provide cost effective through life support to meet customer’s requirements. A full “Level D” flight simulator is also envisaged.

IDEF 2009:Turkey to buy S-400 air defense systems from Russia?

Turkey, a NATO member, has expressed interest in buying S-400 Triumf air defense systems from Russia, a Russian defense industry official said on Monday. "Turkey has expressed a strong interest in buying S-400 air defense systems from Russia," said Anatoly Aksenov, a senior adviser to the general director of Russian arms export monopoly Rosoboronexport. Russia is exhibiting over 120 types of weaponry at the IDEF 2009 arms show in Istanbul on April 27-30. The biennial exhibition has been organized by the Turkish defense industry since 1993. Aksenov, who leads the Russian delegation at the IDEF 2009 exhibition, said the possible deliveries of the S-400 to Turkey were discussed during talks with Turkey's undersecretary for defense industries, Murad Bayar. A source in the Russian delegation later told RIA Novosti that the issue had a political aspect and strongly depended on the outcome of the ongoing dispute between Russia and NATO on the deployment of a U.S. missile shield in central Europe. "We have explained to Turkish officials that S-400 is not just a simple air defense system but an element of strategic missile defenses, which can be placed in one country but protect the airspace over a number of neighboring countries," the source said. The S-400 Triumf (SA-21 Growler) is designed to intercept and destroy airborne targets at a distance of up to 400 kilometers (250 miles), twice the range of the U.S. MIM-104 Patriot, and 2 1/2 times that of Russia's S-300PMU-2.
The system is also believed to be able to destroy stealth aircraft, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles, and is effective at ranges up to 3,500 kilometers (2,200 miles) and speeds up to 4.8 kilometers (3 miles) per second.

Iraqi Air Force Celebrates 78 Years

Iraqi Air Force (IqAF) day began with the press gathering at the Triumphal Arches [Cross Swords] in downtown Baghdad, which set the tone for the celebration of the 78th anniversary of the IqAF. To showcase the IqAF’s capabilities, the Iraqi Ministry of Defense transported the media in three Mi-17 Transport Helicopters to Muthana Air Base, April 22. The media was very excited as they lifted off from downtown Baghdad and arrived at the air base where they quickly dispersed to cover the event for the Iraqi people and the surrounding countries. The IqAF had many aircraft displayed, including the C-130 Hercules, B350 King Air Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance plane, Mi-17 Transport Helicopter, AC208 “Combat” Caravan, CH2000 SAMA, C172 Cessna Skyhawk, and UH-1 Huey.

The IqAF was established in 1931 and the rebuilding of the force began in 2004. Iraqi Army Gen. Babakir, chief of staff, Iraqi Joint Forces, stated, “We have established the Iraqi Air Force from nothing to where it is today. The Air Force has enhanced the security of the country and we now have the ability to provide vital information to the commanders on the ground to protect all the infrastructure of Iraq.” Iraqi Army Staff Lt. Gen. Anwar Ahmed, IqAF commander, addressed the over 200 in attendance by saying, “The Air Force needs is being developed from aircraft maintenance, to the training of its officers. The Iraqi Air Force, thanks to the help of U.S Army Lt. Gen. Frank Helmick, the United States Air Force and all the teams that have worked besides us, are moving forward to achieve our goals.” Abd Al Qadir, Iraqi minister of defense stated, "We are here to celebrate the 78th anniversary of the Air Force. We started to rebuild the Iraqi Air Force in 2004 with the support of the Ministry of Defense. And the Air Force is now part of the structure that defends the country of Iraq.”

The Dragon's New Claws: The J-10B Emerging

In December 2008, rumors were rife of the J-10's latest incarnation, the J-10B to have taken off for the first time. Now in April 2009, we see for the initial leak of images for this plane. The J-10B appears as the next iteration of China's vaunted 4th Generation fighter and looks to take the J-10 to the 4.5 Generation level. The differences that have been identified from the earlier J-10 include a DSI intake, similar to the one on the FC-1/JF-17. The nose is now oval, more similar to an F-16's and is slightly canted downwards. An IRST similar to the J-11Bs also feature on top of the nose. Slanted radome paint along with some of the other features suggest an AESA radar.The J-10B incorporates a new small ECM housing on the vertical stabilizer and this stabilizer also appears to be longer and ending in a "shark-fin". The ECM housing is similar to the housing on the JF-17. The two ventral fins are also extended further and are larger irrespective of the shark-fin. The aerodynamic refinements of the longer vertical stabilizer and the ventral fins appear to be a result of the DSI intakes which create greater lateral forces on the aircraft. The wide angle HUD featured on the J-11Bs seem to have also appeared on the J-10B. While it cannot be confirmed, it appears that the cockpit itself has been redesigned extensively. Other than the new ECM housing on the vertical stabilizer, new MAWs appear on the tail bump. Just below these, curious breaks appear on the fuselage that some observers are referring to as possible formation lights "slime lights", but expert opinion from a Lockheed Martin source suggest that they are FLIR sensors. A redesigned satellite communication unit appears right behind the cockpit. A retractable refueling probe is likely, given the development of the J-10 thus far, and is possibly located on the port side, not visible in the latest photographs. The photographs also suggest new under-wing pylons. These appear to be strengthened for a variety of possible uses, ranging from larger drop tanks to ASMs. The engine is likely to be either a redesigned WS-10A (B?) or possibly the WS-15, a new generation engine currently in advanced development. This would not only have higher thrust than the AL-31s, but also feature TVCs, giving the J-10Bs vaunted agility an even greater boost. The actual engine on the aircraft presently on the released pictures, is the AL-31. Like the J-10S, a J-10BS is also eventually likely. This would be an advanced trainer with the 360 degree view similar to the J-10S. EW/Wild Weasel variants could also eventually be possible.

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Flying high in Korangi :Pakistani drones

Looking at the facility from outside, no one would guess what goes on within the 90,000-square-foot research facility of Integrated Dynamics (ID), a privately owned company in Karachi. There are no signboards indicating that ID is in the business of developing drone technology for military and civilian use. Surprisingly, there isn’t even an army of security guards manning the complex as one would expect upon entering the gate. A lonesome gate keeper lets us in without a fuss. Even more startling is the ease with which R.S. Khan, ID's chief executive, states that ‘drone technology has existed in Pakistan for the last 20 years.’ Khan, who graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a master's degree in aeronautics and astronautics, is quick to clarify that his company has ‘never been asked to develop a drone which has an armed implication.’ Instead, ID develops advanced Unmanned Autonomous Vehicle (UAV) systems capable of reconnaissance missions as well as target decoys for anti-aircraft missiles. His customers, he says, include the armed forces of the country as well as foreign buyers from the US, Australia, Spain, Italy and France.

Although he may not have been asked to develop an armed drone, Khan, who previously worked as a consultant for Pakistan’s aerospace agency Suparco, points out: ‘If we consider the fact that drone development has been taking place in Pakistan for the last 20 years, I think the technology for flying long-range autonomous missions has existed for at least 10-12 years.’ Given Khan's estimations about local drone development, it is unclear why Pakistan is asking the US to handover its armed drone technology, especially that of the infamous Predator. President Asif Ali Zardari recently told the British daily Independent that the US should give Pakistan the ‘weapons, drones and missiles that will allow us to take care of’ the militant threat in the tribal areas.' ‘If you ask anyone in Pakistan involved in the business of making unmanned UAVs whether something similar to the Predator drone aircraft can be made, the answer would be yes,' explains Khan. 'I won’t say we can make it overnight or by tomorrow. But I won’t say either that it is a matter of decades. I would say that, if given the task, we can make such aircrafts in a few years.' As a technologist, Khan is hesitant to speculate as to why the Pakistan government or armed forces are not investing in home-made technology. 'I think you need to ask the policy makers that.'

UAVs in Pakistan

Interestingly, there are several public sector companies involved in developing UAVs in Pakistan, including the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC), Air Weapons Complex (AWC) and National Development Complex (NDC).

The PAC's Uqaab drone is in use by the Pakistan Army, and, according to unconfirmed reports, is being upgraded with Chinese help to carry a weapons payload. Other PAC UAVs include the Bazz and Ababeel. AWC's Bravo+ UAV is in use of the Pakistan Airforce (PAF). The PAF recently acquired an unarmed Italian drone called the Falco UAV, which is reportedly being used for surveillance and battleground assessments in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. In 2008, the Pakistan Navy also reportedly completed trials of UAVs - the Austrian Schiebel Camcopter S-100 and Swedish Cybaero - from a Pakistani frigate in the Arabian Sea.

Private sector companies are also involved in the design and development of UAVs. Apart from ID in Karachi, East-West Infinity (EWI), Satuma and Global Industrial Defense Solutions (GIDS) are in the drone-making business.

The EWI's Heliquad UAV is considered a stealth design because of its small size and Whisper Watch signals intelligence package, which is capable of picking up radio and other communication signals. ID's Nishan Mk1 and TJ1000, Vision MK1 & MK2, Tornado, Border Eagle, Hornet, Hawk and Vector are also popular models employed by the armed forces for reconnaissance missions and target practice (each model varies in range and endurance). Satuma's UAVs, with similar functionalities, are called Flamingo, Jasoos and Mukhbar. For its part, the GIDS develops the Huma-1 UAV and its own version of the Uqaab.

Even though almost all UAVs in the country have been built for military applications - reconnaissance, simulations, decoy systems, remote sensing - none of them are reported to be capable of firing arms. Moreover, none of the above-mentioned facilities are involved in large-scale, mass production of UAVs.

Policy on drones

It is still not clear what Pakistan’s policy regarding unmanned drones is. On the one hand, Pakistan has ‘condemn[ed] in the strongest terms’ any US drone attack. On the other hand, reports have emerged that the US has the tacit approval of the current government.

Previously, former president Pervez Musharraf had reportedly authorized Washington to launch Predator drones from secret bases near Islamabad and Jacobabad. Google Earth images of an airbase in Balochistan hosting Predators had also emerged at a time when Pakistan was adamantly claiming that all drones were flying in from Afghanistan. More recently, the Pakistan Army ‘practiced’ shooting down drones, but even then, foreign aircrafts continued to rain in their missiles.

ID's Khan explains that shooting down drones to prevent attacks is a viable option. ‘From a technical standpoint, all it takes is a simple air-to-air or surface-to-air missile to bring the drone down. Almost all of these aircrafts have a very low radar signature. But they’re not undetectable. They can be detected,' he says. 'The question really is whether one wants to bring one down or not.'

Drones vs. casualties

According to news reports, US drone attacks have killed around 701 people in Pakistan since 2006, including 14 alleged Al Qaeda leaders. Although armed UAVs or drones provide safety to their operators since they cannot be harmed if the aircraft are shot down during combat operations, they come at the cost of scores of civilian casualties, who bear the brunt of aerial raids. Therefore, it is debatable whether the armed drones, even if built and controlled by Pakistan, would actually make a difference in terms of changing the sentiment of the people against their devastating impact.

The way forward

Apart from their use in a military context, there is a need to deploy UAVs for the benefit of Pakistani communities. UAVs abroad are being used for a variety of civilian services, including search and rescue operations, environmental analysis, assisting local law enforcers, scientific research and even transport. Situational awareness about a potentially hazardous or calamity-hit areas, for example, in the aftermath of an earthquake, could also be gained through the use of such systems.

NATO, Pakistan to hold joint naval exercise

The ships of the Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 will undertake two-day exercise with Pakistan Navy vessels in the open sea from Monday. This was announced by the Commander of the Standing NATO Maritime Group 1, Rear Admiral Pereira Da Cunha. He was talking to newsmen onboard Portuguese ship Corte Real at Karachi Port on Sunday. Commodore Jamil Akhtar, Chief Staff Officer to the Commander Pakistan Fleet, was also present on the occasion. Admiral Pereira said that the exercise would help foster the cooperation as well as the interoperatibility. Five ships consisting of Portuguese, Canadian, Spanish, Dutch frigates and a German tanker will participate in the exercise. Four Pakistan Navy ships as well as its air units will also take part in the exercise. Commodore Jamil Akhtar spoke of Pakistan Navy’s longstanding ties with NATO and said that this visit of its ships is also a manifestation of good bilateral relation of our navies and is mutually beneficial. He said that sea being an international maritime highway needs to be protected collectively and we firmly believe that safe and stable environment can ensure lasting tranquility, prosperity and development in this region. Commodore Jamil reiterated that Pakistan Navy is actively participating in the international efforts in order to ensure safe and secure maritime environment in the region. He said that the presence of such a large number of officers and men of friendly countries indicates the collective desire of promoting peace and stability in the region. Commodore Jamil further pointed out that Pakistan is actively participating in the Maritime Coalition. He informed that there is a proposal to send a ship from Pakistan Navy to the Gulf of Aden for the anti-piracy operation. The Commodore also said that Pakistan Navy recently hosted a multi-national exercise ‘Aman 09’. Earlier, Lt. Commander Alexandre Santos Fernandes of the Portuguese Navy, gave a briefing regarding the Standing NATO Maritime Group 1.—

Israel has yet to decide whether to purchase the Vulcan Phalanx

Israel has yet to decide whether to purchase the Vulcan Phalanx to counter the Kassam threat and will only make a decision after viewing a live test of the rapid-cannon system scheduled for this summer, senior defense officials said Tuesday. News of the summer test came amid reports Tuesday that Defense Minister Ehud Barak had already ordered the Defense Ministry to purchase the system. Officials told The Jerusalem Post that while Israel was interested in procuring the system and deploying it along the border with the Gaza Strip, there were still several obstacles. Firstly, there is a question of whether the system would be effective against the Kassam rocket and mortar threat Israel faced from the Gaza Strip. Israel had asked the Pentagon a number of times to see the specifications of the system and to watch a live test. The approval was received only several months ago and Defense Ministry Director-General Pinhas Buchris is scheduled to attend a live test of the system sometime between June and August. Following that visit, the Defense Ministry will make its final decision whether to purchase the system. Manufactured by Raytheon, the first Vulcan Phalanx was sent to Iraq in 2006 and is still used by the Americans to protect the Green Zone in Baghdad. The system consists of a 20mm cannon originally designed to defend Navy ships from incoming missiles. The cannon is controlled by a radar that detects and locks in on incoming enemy projectiles.

Each system can cover a 1,200 square meter area and costs $25 million. To protect a city the size of Sderot, the Defense Ministry would need to deploy a number of systems. In addition, the ministry will evaluate the noise levels of the system, which fires 6,000 rounds a minute. Even if the Defense Ministry decides that it wants to buy the system, the Pentagon will still have to approve the sale, and it is not certain that the US Army would be willing to give up one of the systems currently in production to Israel, instead of having it deployed to protect US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Defense Ministry refused to comment on the report.

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