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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Lockheed Martin Completes Successful Operational Flight Tests of GMLRS Alternative Warhead

High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launcherLockheed Martin successfully completed all Developmental Test/Operational Test (DT/OT) flight tests for the new Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) Alternative Warhead at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.

The DT/OT tests included rockets fired at both mid and long range. All rockets were fired from a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launcher.

The DT/OT tests were the first tactically representative flight tests against simulated targets, and were also the first tests conducted with soldiers operating the fire control system. These missions were preparation for the Initial Operational Test and Evaluation exercise, which will be conducted in the fall of 2014.

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U.S. Says Russia Tested Cruise Missile, Violating Treaty

R-500 / Iskander-K GLCMThe United States has concluded that Russia violated a landmark arms control treaty by testing a prohibited ground-launched cruise missile, according to senior American officials, a finding that was conveyed by President Obama to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in a letter on Monday.

It is the most serious allegation of an arms control treaty violation that the Obama administration has leveled against Russia and adds another dispute to a relationship already burdened by tensions over the Kremlin’s support for separatists in Ukraine and its decision to grant asylum to Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor.

At the heart of the issue is the 1987 treaty that bans American and Russian ground-launched ballistic or cruise missiles capable of flying 300 to 3,400 miles. That accord, which was signed by President Ronald Reagan and Mikhail S. Gorbachev, the Soviet leader, helped seal the end of the Cold War and has been regarded as a cornerstone of American-Russian arms control efforts.

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Tunisia to buy UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters

UH-60M Black HawkThe US State Department has approved the sale of 12 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters to Tunisia, worth $700 million including equipment, parts, training and logistical support.

The Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress of the planned sale on July 23.

The UH-60M Black Hawk is the most advanced model of the UH-60/S-70 series, and features the ability to be armed with rockets and missiles. In fact, Tunisia has requested Battlehawk kits that effectively turn the aircraft into an attack helicopter.

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Another milestone for F/A-50 program reached

F/A-50 Golden EagleAnother milestone has been reached in the Philippine government efforts to acquire the South Korean made F/A-50 “Fighting Eagle” jet aircraft.

This was after Department of National Defense (DND) Undersecretary for Finance, Modernization, Installation and Munitions Fernando Manalo disclosed on Monday that the Letter of Credit (LOC) for the aircraft has been finally opened by the supplier.

“The LOC has been finally opened. We have also given the 15 percent payment requested by the contractor,” he said in Filipino.

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F-15s needed in Europe to respond to Russia, Lakenheath commander says

F-15C EagleThis is not the time to talk about reducing the number of F-15 fighter jets in Europe, given the situation in Ukraine, according to the new commander of the 48th Fighter Wing, which flies the only F15s in Europe.

“What an exciting time to be in Europe and an exciting time to be at NATO, what an exciting time to be around this wing,” said Col. Robert Novotny, an F-15 pilot, who has been on the job for less than a week. “You know we have a lot of challenges, we really do.”

U.S. fiscal austerity is squeezing military budgets, and Department of Defense officials are questioning whether Lakenheath should be closed or lose some of its fighter jet inventory. Gen. Philip Breedlove, commander of U.S. European Command and supreme allied commander Europe, revealed in June that the Defense Department was considering pulling some F-15s from Europe, and Lakenheath is the only F-15 base on the continent.

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Army Test Flies Unmanned Airborne EW Attack System; Clay Ogden Comments

MQ-1C Gray Eagle UASThe U.S. Army has completed a series of flight tests onan unmanned airborne electronic attack platform in order to assess its technical capability to deploy jammer to another aerial system.

The Army conducted the testing for the Gray Eagle unmanned system-fixed Networked Electronic Warfare Remotely Operated from June 2 to June 19 within The Great Salt Lake Desert at Dugway Proving Ground Utah, the Army said July 10.

“This demonstrated the viability of a Gray Eagle based high-powered jamming capability to support the Army’s EW (electronic warfare) counter-communications and broadcasting EW requirements in the future,” said Clay Ogden, an expert for airborne electronic attack programs for the Army’s electronic warfare division.

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Final modernised P-3 Orion delivered to Brazil

P-3 OrionAirbus Defence & Space has delivered the last of nine Lockheed P-3 Orion anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft it has upgraded for the Brazilian air force.

The final enhanced example has been ferried from Airbus Defence & Space’s facility in Seville, Spain to the service's base in Salvador de Bahía, Brazil.

Acquired from the US Navy in 2006, the nine aircraft have been equipped with a suite of mission sensors, communications systems and cockpit avionics, alongside the Airbus Defence & Space Fully Integrated Tactical System.

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Northrop Drone’s Development Cost to U.S. Navy Rises 25%

MQ-4 TritonThe cost to develop Northrop Grumman Corp’s reconnaissance drone for the U.S. Navy has increased by at least 25 percent, or $720 million, according to Navy estimates and congressional investigators.

As development costs have risen to at least $3.9 billion, the scheduled dates to begin production and then deployment of the Triton drone have each slipped by more than two years, according to a Senate committee.

The Senate Appropriations Committee said in its report on funding defense programs in fiscal 2015 that it “is concerned with the cost and schedule breaches over the past few years” and is “troubled by software development delays” for the 70-aircraft, $15.3 billion program.

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Elbit pushes maritime patrol Hermes 900

Hermes 900 UASElbit Systems is offering its Hermes 900 unmanned air system (UAS) in a maritime patrol configuration.

The Israeli company says the variant has been designed to answer the "full spectrum" of operational needs for a maritime patrol UAS.

The type's payload comes in at 350kg (770lb) and includes a maritime radar, electro-optical sensors and electronic surveillance systems.

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HMS Prince of Wales Delivery Begins

Hull section of HMS Prince of WalesA huge section of hull for HMS Prince of Wales, the second aircraft carrier being delivered to the Royal Navy, has today departed BAE Systems in Glasgow on a 600-mile journey to Rosyth where final assembly of the ship will take place.

The 8,000-metric-ton section, known as Lower Block 03, weighs more than an entire Type 45 destroyer and forms the mid-section of the aircraft carrier’s hull from the keel to the hangar deck.

The block, transported by seagoing barge, is scheduled to arrive in Rosyth on Saturday, August 2 where work is currently underway to prepare the dock for the final assembly of HMS Prince of Wales which will begin in September.

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Mabus: Stealth Destroyers, LCS Headed to Pacific

Zumwalt (DDG-1000) class DDGThe Navy will send new stealth destroyers, littoral combat ships and an amphibious ready group to the Pacific, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said Monday, reiterating the U.S. commitment to its military "pivot" to the region.

"The rebalance to the Pacific is real," Mabus told sailors gathered at Yokosuka's Fleet Theater for an all-hands call.

President Barack Obama announced plans for the Pacific pivot as the interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan were winding down. But conflicts in Syria, Ukraine and Gaza have since heated up, raising questions about the best use of forces amid dwindling military budgets. Obama reassured Pacific allies of his support during a recent visit against a backdrop of Chinese expansionism and North Korean threats.

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Iran to Unveil New Missile, Radar Systems in September

Ghadir radarIran plans to unveil several new missile and radar systems late in September, Commander of Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base Brigadier General Farzad Esmayeeli announced on Monday.

"On September 22 (parades), a number of missile and radar systems will be unveiled in Iran and we have spread these systems and radars in different parts of the country," Esmayeeli told FNA.

The annual September 22 parades mark the start of the Week of Sacred Defense, commemorating Iranians' sacrifices during the 8 years of Iraqi imposed war on Iran in 1980s.

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N. Korea has world’s largest submarine fleet: U.S. media

Sang-O-class SSCNorth Korea possesses the world’s largest number of submarines, followed by the U.S., according to a U.S. online media outlet.

Business Insider said that the North has a total of 78 regular and midget submarines, while the U.S. has 72 submarines. Its analysis is based on data from the Global Firepower, a military power evaluation organization.

China ranked third with 69 submarines, followed by Russia with 63 submarines and Iran with 31 submarines. South Korea has only 14 submarines while Japan has 16 submarines, according to the BI analysis.

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Nuclear submarine "Vladimir Monomakh" completes Phase 1 state trials

RFS Yuri DolgorukiyNew generation Borei class ballistic missiles nuclear-powered submarine "Vladimir Monomakh" has completed the first phase of the state tests, Severodvinsk based shipbuilder Sevmash said.

The sea trials included the vessel's systems tests and conformance to her technical specifications.

"Ship's trials passed normally. Despite the large number of automation implemented on board the submarine all system have worked in strict accordance with a predetermined program. The crew and commissioning team have successfully completed the first phase of state trials and are ready for further work in the sea," said Sevmash general director Mikhail Budnichenko.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

NATO warned about presence of missiles in 'rebel-held' Eastern Ukraine

SA-11 GadflyA report has recently revealed that NATO had announced publically that the pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine are in possession of missile systems more than two weeks before flight MH17 was shot in the rebel-held region of Donetsk.

The warning however, was not heeded by the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO), whose duty is to warn domestic aviation authorities of danger in the skies, reported the Daily Express.

The report revealed that General Philip M Breedlove, NATO's Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, had said in an announcement in Washington on June 30 that NATO had seen tanks, APCs, anti-aircraft capability, vehicle-borne capability on both the east and the west side of the Russian border.

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Islamic Jihad Said to Have Iranian 'Judgement Day' Missile

Zelzal 3 missileIslamic Jihad has “many more surprises up its sleeve,” said Abdullah Shalah, head of the terror group said Sunday.

In an interview on an Arab satellite station, Shalah said that “We have a store of strategic weapons that we have never used,” but was prepared to bring out against Israel if the war in Gaza continued.

With that, he did not specify what those weapons were.

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2nd Mistral Warship Looks Set For Mediterranean Role

Vladivostok LHDThe Russian navy said during Sunday’s Navy Day celebrations that a French-made Mistral-class carrier will become the flagship of its budding Mediterranean Fleet, while Western leaders continue to pressure Paris into withholding the delivery of the warships.

Russia ordered two Mistral ships from France in 2011 in a deal worth 1.2 billion euros ($1.7 billion), but events in Ukraine have elicited Western calls for the contract to be torn up amid fears that Moscow has designs on reforging its lost empire.

The calls intensified following the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine on July 17, which several Western leaders have pinned on Russian-backed separatists in the region.

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Russian Navy to take delivery of armament support ship Akademik Kovalev by the end of 2014

RFS Akademik KovalevSeverodvinsk, Russia based Zvezdochka Shipyard has launched new generation armament support ship "Akademik Kovalev" of Project 20180, the Ministry of Defense PR office said.

The seagoing armament support ship "Akademik Kovalev" is scheduled to enter service with the Pacific Fleet until the end of 2014.

Ship's displacement is about 6,000 tonnes, complement - about 100 people.

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Scam-wary govt defers decision on naval copters

AW101 VVIP helicopterThe Navy's wait for desperately-needed anti-submarine warfare helicopters to operate from its warships has just got longer.

The Modi government has deferred the decision on acquisition of 16 naval multi-role helicopters (MRH) since one of the two companies in the fray is linked to Italian conglomerate Finmeccanica, which is under the scanner in the infamous VVIP helicopter case.

The long-pending naval MRH procurement project has been "kept on hold" till the CBI completes its probe into the kickbacks in the 556 million euro contract inked between India and AgustaWestland, the UK-based subsidiary of Finmeccanica, in February 2010, said sources.

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Warships parade across Russia on Navy Day

Part 2

People across Russia gathered for Navy Day festivities on Sunday, showing their support to naval soldiers. Ships, submarines, aircraft, troops, and even robots were paraded at harbors in Vladivostok, Sevoromorsk, St. Petersburg, and Sevastopol.

Navy Day, which commemorates the victories of Russian sailors, is celebrated each year on the last Sunday in July.

The Pacific Fleet’s large landing ship, Nikolay Vilkov, appeared before the crowd in Vladivostok. Also present were the large anti-submarine ship Marshal Shaposhnikov, fleet destroyer Bystry, and the parade's flagship – guard missile cruiser Varyag. Alagez, a unique ship designed to rescue submarine crews, also took part in the festivities.

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Australia cracks opens door to foreign submarine build

Soryu class SSKAustralia should discuss building its next-generation fleet of submarines overseas, the Department of Defence said on Monday, a shift that could open the door to a partnership deal with Japan that carries political risk at home and abroad.

Australia is looking for partners to help it build about a dozen diesel-electric submarines to replace its aging Collins Class fleet and help to extend its maritime surveillance deep into the Indian Ocean.

The proposed A$40 billion fleet of submarines is at the core of the nation's maritime defence strategy over the next two decades. Successive governments have pledged to build the vessels in Australia, creating much-needed manufacturing jobs.

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

MiG-29 fighter crashes in Astrakhan region, killing pilot

MiG-29 FulcrumA MiG-29 fighter of the Russian Air Force crashed near Astrakhan on Sunday. The fighter’s pilot was killed in the crash, Air Force Commander-in-Chief Lieutenant General Viktor Bondarev told reporters.

“A pilot has been killed in a fighter crash,” the commander said. “We are investigating this incident and, according to preliminary data, the crash was caused by air equipment failure,” General Bondarev added.

There has been no destruction on the ground as a result of Sunday morning crash of a MiG-29 fighter near Astrakhan, spokesman for the Russian Defence Ministry Major General Igor Konashenkov told Itar-Tass.

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China Announces Live Fire Drills in the East China Sea

China today announced that it will conduct a series of live fire training drills next week in the contested waters of the East China Sea, where it is locked in a bitter maritime dispute with Japan.

The five-day exercise from July 29-August 2 comes even as air traffic at various Chinese airports went haywire due to the ongoing air-exercises, the Maritime Safety Administration said.

It warned ships to stay away from the region and asked authorities to ensure safety during the training, which is scheduled to last from midnight to 6 pm each day, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

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Russia’s Sevmash shipyard lays down 5th Borei-class nuclear sub

Borei class SSBNRussia’s major defence shipyard Sevmash on Navy Day has laid down another Borei class strategic nuclear-powered submarine - Knyaz Oleg, shipyard sources told Itar-Tass on Sunday.

This strategic underwater missile cruiser is the fifth submarine to be built under the Borei project and the first series sub of the modernised 955A project.

Modernised Borei-class submarines have state-of-the-art equipment and considerably improved stealth and other characteristics.


Retiring frigates may leave some missions unfilled

USS TaylorThe Navy may be shedding all its frigates by the end of next year, but the ships are still busy and in high demand — creating a dilemma for the Navy over which ships will pick up their missions.

Defense experts say that it’s an open question of when the littoral combat ships joining the fleet will be ready to take on challenging missions like counterdrug operations and sub-hunting — frigate mainstays that have pushed their deployment pace. Some anticipate that Military Sealift Command ships and other auxiliaries may pick up some of the slack.

“There is a big unknown in regard to LCS when the three types of [mission] modules will come online and will test sat[isfactory],” said retired Capt. Jan van Tol, who’s now a defense expert with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

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