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Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Tunisia receives donated US patrol boats

Sentry-44 PBThe United States has donated two 13.5 metre patrol boats to the Tunisian Navy and will provide seven additional 7.6 metre patrol boats to the country in the next six months to enhance maritime security in the face of terrorism concerns in the region.

The two patrol boats were handed over at La Goulette naval base during a ceremony on August 28 attended by US Ambassador Jake Walles, Minister of Defence Ghazi Jeribi, and Vice Admiral Mohamed Khamassi.

The US embassy said the two vessels - valued at over $2 million - are part of an ongoing programme of assistance to the Tunisian Navy. The United States previously donated five 7.6 metre boats in August 2013.

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Report: Azerbaijan buying Israeli coast-guard vessels

Shaldag Mk V patrol boatAzerbaijan is reportedly acquiring 21 new coast-guard vessels from Israel, according to Eurasianet.org.

While Azerbaijan made no formal announcement about such a purchase, Jane's, the defense and intelligence publication, confirmed Thursday that the Azerbaijan Coast Guard ordered six Shaldag Mk V patrol boats and six Saar 62 offshore patrol vessels.

Jane's based its assertion on images obtained in mid-July showing details of work being done on the vessels at a new shipyard. Images of the vessels are available on the website of the president of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev.

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What the US military wants for missile defence: multi-use sensors in the Arctic

AN/TPY-2American military officials have shed some light on what Canada could contribute to the missile-defence program should it choose to join after a decade spent on the sidelines.

Several conversations with high-ranking U.S. military officers point to a common desire: multi-purpose sensors in Canada's Arctic that would sniff out a wider range of potential threats than just intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Those state-of-the-art systems would be designed to track maritime vessels, airplanes and small cruise missiles — all in addition to any large missile fired off by North Korea or some hypothetical rogue state.

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Boeing awarded AH-6i contract for Saudi Arabia

AH-6i Little BirdBoeing has been formally awarded a contract for the manufacture of 24 AH-6i Little Bird light attack/reconnaissance helicopters for Saudi Arabia.

The contract, which was first revealed by Boeing in late 2013 but only announced by the US Department of Defense (DoD) on 29 August, is valued at USD234.7 million and covers the procurement of long-lead items, an initial spares package, and ground support equipment.

Work will be complete by 31 December 2016.

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Turkish firm modernizes Pakistan's jets

F-16 Fighting FalconTurkish Aerospace Industries has modernized the last four of Pakistan's F-16 fighter jets, completing a five-year contract.

The remaining four aircraft will be handed over in a ceremony in Ankara on Tuesday.

The company, known by the acronym TUSAŞ, signed a contract with Pakistan's Ministry of Defense in 2009.

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H-6, Il-76 will be able fly from Woody Island after China expands runway


Yongxing (Woody) Island
To strengthen its presence in the disputed South China Sea, China is expanding its runway and redeveloping a harbor on Woody Island, the largest of the Paracel Islands, which are claimed variously by Vietnam, China and Taiwan, the London-based Jane's Defence Review reported on Aug. 29.

Known in China as Yongxing Island, Woody Island was occupied by the People's Liberation Army in 1956, although it had previously been occupied by the Republic of China from 1946 to 1950, before going unmanned for 6 years.

Various facilities including a military garrison, coastal defensive positions, a runway, four large aircraft hangars, a communications facility, and municipal headquarters have since been established on the island.

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Prying Plane Flight Trials Conducted

EMB-145I AEW&CThe Indian Air Force is expected to receive the first Airborne Early Warning&Control (AEW&C) system by this year-end. Two AEW&C systems, built on modified Embraer EMB-145I aircraft, are undergoing flight trials with one more expected to arrive from Brazil later this year.

A senior scientist at the Centre for Airborne Systems (CABS) told Express that after han ding over the first aircraft, parallel flight tests and fine-tuning of the mission systems on the second aircraft would continue, based on the IAF feedback.

The official confirmed that in addition to the airbases in and around Bangalore, the prying plane has already had flight test campaigns in Jamnagar and Agra.

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ISIS Fires at Australian C-130 Plane Carrying Relief in Iraq; Militants Use Deadly Cluster Bombs

Royal Australian Air Force C-130J HerculesISIS militants sought to bring down an Australian transport aircraft while it was carrying out its humanitarian mission in Iraqi skies.

According to a report by News Corp Australia, the C-130 Hercules plane managed to dodge the ISIS' gunfire as it flew close to the ground to drop relief packages to stranded civilians the northern Iraqi town of Amirli. The report said the incident took place last weekend.

Humanitarian aid drops usually happen at night when the planes are less visible on the ground for militants to see clearly and take sure aim. Reports indicate that ISIS forces may have been firing based on the sounds they hear.

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Taiwan denies Tien Kung missiles to be deployed on destroyers

Kidd class DDGTaiwan's military on Monday denied a local media report earlier in the day that the locally developed Tien Kung III (Sky Bow III) surface-to-air missile system will be deployed on the country's Kidd-class destroyers.

The report is not true, said the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology, under the Ministry of National Defense, which developed the missile system.

The Chinese-language Liberty Times reported Monday that the military is planning to improve the missile system on the Kidd-class destroyers, which are currently equipped with the US-made surface-to-air Standard Missile-2.

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India-Russia pact planned for new BrahMos missile version

PJ-10 BrahMosSupersonic cruise missile manufacturer BrahMos Aerospace on Monday said it is hopeful that a pact to develop a sleeker and faster 'mini' version of the missile will be signed during Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to India in December this year.

"We are hoping to sign a tripartite agreement between DRDO, NPOM lab and BrahMos Aerospace during the planned visit of Russian president in December," BrahMos chief Sudhir Mishra told PTI in an interview.

Soon after taking over as CEO of the the Indo-Russian joint venture on Monday, he said the mini version of the BrahMos missile will have a speed of 3.5 mach and carry a payload of 300 km upto a range of 290 km.

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Air force denies report US insisted upon weapons use

P-3C OrionThe Air Force Command Headquarters yesterday denied a media report about a weaponry deliverance issue.

The Chinese-language China Times yesterday cited a recent report by the Control Yuan’s National Audit Office as saying that procurements by the Ministry of National Defense of 12 P-3C Orion maritime surveillance aircraft from the US cost US$1.96 billion and are under the operational command of the Air Force 439 Composite Wing unit.

The report said the US disagreed with a plan to have the aircraft carry ordinances, such as mines and depth charges, made by Taiwanese manufacturers.

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Yet another defence review. Why not read the others?

HMAS KanimblaFour years ago, serious engineering maintenance problems were exposed when half a billion dollars worth of maritime defence capability was retired early.

One of the navy's key supply ships, HMAS Kanimbla, lost power entering Sydney Harbour and narrowly missed coming aground. The Kanimbla and its sister ship, HMAS Manoora, were decommissioned.

This failure led to a review (the Rizzo review) that exposed the high level of risk caused by the loss of engineering capability in government agencies. It was hardly the first defence review to identify the risk, nor was it the last.

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Australia leaning towards buying Japan’s submarines

Soryu class SSKAustralia is keen to buy military submarines from Japan despite having pledged to build them at home.

The multi-billion dollar purchase could see Australia acquiring a fleet of stealth diesel engine submarines based on the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force's Soryu class vessels - the biggest non-nuclear submarines in the world.

The fleet of 12 4,000-ton Soryu class vessels would replace Australia's six outdated Collins-class boats by the 2030s.

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China Prepares Navy Warships to Fight US Submarines

Jiankai (Type-054A) FFGChina has a glaring hole in its military strategy against the United States. Military analysts have pointed out that while China is investing in ballistic and cruise missiles to keep foreign ships away, it has little to counter U.S. submarines which would play a pivotal role in a conflict with China.

The Chinese regime seems to have become privy to this gap. It has been building and deploying systems designed to detect and attack U.S. submarines. Recent photos show China has also begun fitting warships with sonar systems designed for anti-submarine warfare.

Two types of ships in China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) are being fitted with what appear to be variable depth sonars (VDSs). Images of the additional systems were posted on cjdby.net (which appears to be offline at the time of writing), and were picked up by IHS Janes, a leading security intelligence company.

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Monday, September 01, 2014

China issues first airworthiness certificate for V750


China's unmanned helicopter, the V750, will receive an airworthiness certificate from Civil Aviation Administration next month. It will be the first such certificate issued by the country to a drone.

It is the country’s largest drone.

"It symbolizes that the drone has entered the market, and become part of the authorities’ management system," Prof.Gao Yuanyang with Beijing Univ. of Aeronautics said.

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Chinese reconnaissance and strike drone conducts test flight

Rainbow NO.4 UAVChina's reconnaissance and strike drone Rainbow NO.4 has conducted a test flight and completed simulation target practice, marking a major step forward for China's unmanned technology.

Rainbow NO.4 embarked on its maiden test flight straight from rolling out of the factory.

"The test flight was very successful today. During acceleration and deceleration, the drone kept taxing on a central line on the runway. It's well positioned to carry out the subsequent missions," Li Pingkun, head of Rainbow No.4 Project, said.

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Israel Military Shoots Down Unmanned Aircraft Over Golan


Quneitra, Syria
The Israeli military said it shot down an unmanned aircraft above the Israeli-held section of the Golan Heights, a plateau that’s become more volatile with Syrian rebels’ gains and confrontations with United Nations peacekeepers.

Hours before a Patriot missile brought down the aircraft, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that his country was ready to combat threats to its security on all fronts, including the Golan.

At Israel’s first cabinet meeting since an Aug. 26 truce ending 50 days of Gaza Strip fighting, the prime minister said he hoped “the quiet that has been restored will continue to prevail for a long time.”

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Australia to join multinational airlift against Islamic State in Iraq


Australia will join a multinational effort to help Kurdish fighters against the barbaric Islamic State terrorists in Iraq, flying plane loads of arms and munitions into the strife-torn nation.

Tony Abbott has announced today that RAAF C-130 Hercules and C-17 Globemaster aircraft will join aircraft from other nations including Canada, Italy, France, the United Kingdom and the United States to help repel the jihadist extremists.

The Prime Minister said today the “United States Government has requested that Australia help to transport stores of military equipment, including arms and munitions, as part of a multi-nation effort’’.

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Navy and Newport News Shipbuilding poised to honor John Warner

USS John Warner (SSN-785)Newport News Shipbuilding will christen the Navy's newest submarine Saturday in a ceremony that will more than mark a construction milestone. It will celebrate the legacy of retired U.S. Sen. John Warner, one of Virginia's most venerated leaders.

Warner insists that others are more deserving of having a warship named in their honor. He said as much when President George W. Bush called to deliver the big news more than five years ago.

When the phone rang that day, Virginia's senior senator had just climbed out of a swimming pool. He was in Florida with his wife, Jeanne, visiting his son and daughter-in-law, counting down the final days of a 30-year legislative career that put his fingerprints on everything from Soviet negotiations to climate change.

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IDF's Newest Submarine to Set Sail for Israel

INS TaninIsrael’s newest Dolphin II-class submarine is poised to set sail from Germany, where it was constructed. The vessel, named the INS Tanin (pronounced ta-NEEN), is one of three submarines being constructed for the Israeli Navy by ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems in Kiel, Germany.

The Tanin is the largest underwater craft being built in Germany since the end of World War II and are considered among the most effective in the world.

Named for the biblical sea creature, alternately translated as crocodile, snake or dragon, the Tanin and its sister ships, the Rahav and a yet-to-be-named vessel, are bigger than their predecessors, the three Israeli Navy Type 800 Dolphin-class submarines, built in the 1990s.

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Test flights of six more Apache helicopters

AH-64E ApacheTest flights of six new AH-64E Apache attack helicopters drew spectators to Kaohsiung Saturday, one day after Taiwan took delivery of the aircraft from the United States.

The latest is the fourth of five shipments in a NT$59.31 billion (US$2.01 billion) order for 30 of the newest Apache model, according to the Defense Ministry.

The shipment came after a new Apache crashed into the top of a three-story residential building in Taoyuan County in April, damaging four homes but causing no serious injuries.

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Iraq gets Russian Mi-28 attack helicopters: ministry

Mi-28NE HavocIraq has received Russian Mi-28 attack helicopters and will use them against militants who have overrun large parts of the country, the defence ministry said on Saturday.

A ministry statement did not specify how many of the heavily armoured two-seat gunships it has received or what it paid for them.

But a video posted on its website showed a hangar containing multiple desert camouflage-painted Mi-28s, which are capable of all-weather and day and night operation.

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T-50 PAK-FA fighter jet project with Russia hits turbulence

Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FANew Delhi is increasingly concerned about the sluggish progress in the fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) project, a joint endeavour between India and Russia.

Driving India's worries is the fact that the Russians are neither explaining why a prototype aircraft caught fire during a technology demonstration earlier this year nor addressing other technical doubts expressed by India.

In fact, the defence ministry is quite sceptical about reports from Russia that a final design contract for the next generation combat jet is on the cards.

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MoD Grounds Rs 6,000-crore Global Chopper Tender

Chinook Mk3Taking cue from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day “Make in India” call, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by Defence Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday scrapped the global tender for Rs 6,000-crore Light Utility Helicopters(LUH).

The decision is aimed at giving an opportunity to Indian private sector to collaborate with the foreign firms and produce the choppers within the country.

The DAC also cleared defence purchases worth Rs 20,000 crore, including the mid-life upgrade of the aging fleet of submarines for Rs 4,800 crore and procurement of 118 Arjun Mk II tanks for Rs 6,600 crore.

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China seeks to better protect South China Sea submarine gateway in face of U.S. surveillance flights

J-11 Flanker BChina’s efforts to protect its submarine gateway to the South China Sea could broaden from standoffs with U.S. military planes to announcing an air defense identification zone, according to two retired People’s Liberation Army officers.

China could seek to restrict the air space around Hainan Island as the United States routinely runs surveillance flights in the area, retired Col. Yue Gang said. The move would mirror an ADIZ China set up in November over portions of the East China Sea disputed with Japan.

“Although it’s premature to set up an air zone over the entire South China Sea at this moment, it makes sense to build a partial zone covering the waters near Hainan, where China’s biggest nuclear submarine base is located,” Yue said.

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