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Friday, April 18, 2014

Lockheed Martin delivers MH-60R EWSS to RAN

RAN MH-60RLockheed Martin Australia has confirmed delivery of its MH-60R electronic warfare support system (EWSS) to the Royal Australian Navy.

Built in its Adelaide facility, the EWSS will provide the Navy with the ability to generate and test unique Australian mission data loads for the 24 aircraft MH-60R Romeo naval combat helicopter fleet.

Lockheed Martin Australia has worked with in-country companies to procure the component parts, fabricate cabling and assemble the EWSS.

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Turkey pressured over Chinese missile deal

FD-2000 / HQ-9Following its decision in late-2013 to purchase long-range air defense missile systems from a Chinese, rather than a western defense company, Turkey is being reportedly pressured to change its decision.

Hurriyet Daily News tells us that American and European companies which hold joint projects with Turkey valued in the billions of dollars have issued a ultimatum to Turkish defense companies warning them that, "If Turkey buys missiles from China, our partnerships in certain fields will be over."

The military alliance NATO is also against Turkey using such missiles for its air defense, saying it wouldn't be possible to integrate them into the alliance's broader defense structure due to concerns over cyber warfare threats.

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India’s Air Force to get 40 strike fighters with BrahMos missiles

Airlaunched BrahMosIndia’s Air Force will get 40 SU-30MKI strike fighters armed with a smaller version of BrahMos missiles, Russian-Indian joint venture BrahMos Aerospace President Sivathanu Pillai told ARMS-TASS at the international arms exhibition DSA-2014 in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, April 16.

The company is working to reduce the weight of the missile so that it could be integrated with different platforms, including the fifth-generation fighter India is creating together with Russia, he said.

Pillai noted that the commissioning of the Vikramaditya aircraft carrier complete with deck-based MiG-29K/KUB jet fighters required accelerated work to arm them with a smaller version of the BrahMos missile so that the aircraft could take off from the carrier with two missiles under their wings.

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Japanese Stealth Demonstrator To Fly This Year

Mitsubishi ATD-XSpeaking to the foreign affairs and defense committee of Japan’s upper house, defense minister Itsunori Onodera has confirmed that the Mitsubishi ATD-X (advanced technology demonstrator-experimental) future fighter demonstrator is on course to fly later this year, albeit with a slight delay.

Originally to have been unveiled to the media in May, the ATD-X is now a few months behind schedule but should be revealed later this year, with a first flight to follow soon afterwards.

ATD-X is a project led by the defense ministry’s TRDI (Technical Research and Development Institute), with Mitsubishi as main contractor.

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Canada sending jets to eastern Europe in response to Ukraine crisis

CF-18 HornetCanada is sending six CF-18 fighter jets to eastern Europe as part of a NATO operation in response to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the decision in Ottawa Thursday.

He said the jets are being sent “in response to a NATO request” as it expands its operations in eastern Europe.

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F-35 Program Production Costs Rise $7.4 Billion

Pratt and Whitney F-135 engineThe cost to develop and build the Joint Strike Fighter fleet rose 1.88 percent over the past year because of delays in the production line and failures of the engine producer to bring down costs, said Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, F-35 Program Executive Officer.

The cost of the program rose by $7.4 billion to $398.58 billion in 2012-year dollars, according to the Pentagon’s Selected Acquisition Report that is released each year to Congress. The increase in costs means tax payers will end up paying $162 million for each fifth generation fighter jet by the end of the program at the current rate.

Bogdan blamed the increased costs on the decision to push back production of the F-35 and failures by Pratt and Whitney, the company building the fighter jet’s engine. The costs of the JSF engine increased by $4 billion, Bogdan said.

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Pentagon Moves to Block Russian Spy Plane in American Skies

Tu-214RRussian surveillance planes already fly over America, thanks to a long-standing treaty. But a new, ultra-sophisticated spy plane has U.S. military and intelligence bosses spooked.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. military and American intelligence agencies have quietly pushed the White House in recent weeks to deny a new Russian surveillance plane the right to fly over U.S. territory.

This week, the White House finally began consideration of the decision whether to certify the new Russian aircraft under the so-called “Open Skies Treaty.” And now the question becomes: Will the spies and generals get their way?

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US Navy releases draft of UCLASS RFP

X-47B UCLASSThe US Navy has released a draft request for proposal (RFP) for its unmanned carrier-launched airborne surveillance and strike (UCLASS) programme, the service announces in a media statement.

The RFP was released to the four prime contractors permitted to bid on the programme, which calls for development of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capable of operating from USN aircraft carriers.

Those contractors — Boeing, Lockheed Martin, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems and Northrop Grumman — are currently contracted to conduct preliminary design reviews for the project.

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Man Convicted After Selling $US2.6 Million In Cheap Batteries The US Navy Used On Ships

USS New HampshireA former Southern California man who fled the U.S. to live on his yacht has been convicted of selling the U.S. military more than $US2.6 million in cheap, knock-off batteries that were used in aircraft carriers and submarines.

Federal prosecutors say Didier (Did-ee-yay) De Nier was convicted Wednesday of conspiracy and wire fraud. His wife previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy.

De Nier was CEO of a company that sold the government 80,000 batteries that were used as emergency backup power for Navy vessels.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

First Borey-Class Strategic Sub Ready for Combat Patrols

Yury DolgorukyThe first Borey-class ballistic missile submarine could be put on combat duty this year after taking weaponry on board, a senior Russian Navy commander said Wednesday.

"Upon receiving new weapons on board this year, the Yury Dolgoruky submarine will be ready to perform its duties," said Rear Admiral Alexander Moiseev, commander of the submarine forces of the Northern Fleet.

The Yury Dolgoruky joined the Northern Fleet in January 2013 while the second Borey-class boat, the Alexander Nevsky, was commissioned by the Navy in December last year.

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Navy Set to Pick Presidential Helicopter Contractor

Sikorsky S-92 helicopterThe Navy plans to select the contractor who will build the next generation presidential helicopter next month.

Of course, it appears the service will only have one contractor to choose from, Sikorsky, after two other teams dropped out of the bidding process.

AgustaWestland and Northrop Grumman had planned to offer the AW101 helicopter, and Boeing had discussed offering modified versions of the V-22 Osprey and the CH-47 Chinook. Both dropped out.

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Lockheed Martin GMLRS Alternative Warhead Logs Successful Flight-Test Series, Shifts To Next Testing Phase

HIMARS firingLockheed Martin successfully conducted the fifth and final Production Qualification Test (PQT) for the new Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) Alternative Warhead recently at White Sands Missile Range, N.M.

During the long-range test, four rockets were fired from a HIMARS launcher and destroyed their respective targets approximately 65 kilometers away. The test is the final milestone before the Developmental Test/Operational Test (DT/OT) phase, which incorporates soldiers into the system testing.

The DT/OT phase will begin this summer and will conclude with the Initial Operational Test & Evaluation (IOT&E) exercise in the fall of 2014.

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U.S. drone strike in Yemen kills New Zealander and Australian

MQ-9 ReaperThe controversial deadly drone strikes by the Obama administration are likely to come under more intense attack than ever now with reports of foreign citizens killed by a drone attack in Yemen.

A U.S. drone strike has killed a New Zealander and Australian in Yemen reported Al Jazeera on April 16, 2014.

It has been confirmed that a citizen from each country has been killed in U.S. strikes in Yemen.

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NATO Boosts Military Presence Amid Russian Threat

NATO E-3A SentryNATO is strengthening its military footprint along its eastern border immediately in response to Russia's aggression in Ukraine, the alliance's chief said Wednesday.

Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said NATO's air policing aircraft will fly more sorties over the Baltic region and allied warships will deploy to the Baltic Sea, the eastern Mediterranean and elsewhere if needed.

"We will have more planes in the air, more ships on the water and more readiness on the land," Fogh Rasmussen told reporters in Brussels, declining to give exact troop figures.

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F-35 Fighter to Make Overseas Airshow Debut This Summer

F-35B Lightning IILockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will make its overseas airshow debut this summer in the U.K. as part of efforts to boost foreign sales of the jet and offset near-term cuts in U.S. purchases and cuts by some international partners.

The F-35, the Pentagon’s most expensive conventional-weapons program, is due to make appearances in July at the Farnborough International Airshow, and another event at the Fairford military airfield, the U.K. defense ministry said on Wednesday.

Boosting production rates is viewed by the Pentagon and its contractors as essential to lowering the cost of the jet, which the military official leading the program last week said was currently around $112 million.

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Navy Plan to Halt MH-60 Buy Rattles Sikorsky

MH-60 SeahawkThe U.S. Navy’s plan to cut short a multi-year deal for maritime helicopters may have serious implications for Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., as well as the military and the broader defense industry, a company official said.

For instance, the deal doesn’t just include the sea service. In July 2012, both the Army and Navy inked the five-year, $8.5 billion contract with the subsidiary of Hartford, Conn.-based United Technologies Corp.

The agreement called for the services to buy at least 653 helicopters through December 2017, including a mix of UH-60M Black Hawks and HH-60M medical evacuation variants for the Army and MH-60R and MH-60S Seahawks for the Navy.

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Indonesian Navy set to have domestically built frigate in 2016

Sigma 10514 corvetteThe Indonesian Navy will soon have its own domestically made frigate when the construction of the PKR 10514 guided-missile destroyer escort is completed in 2016.

Navy chief of staff Adm. Marsetio led a keel laying ceremony for the PKR, which the navy classifies as a frigate, at the state-owned shipbuilder PT PAL Indonesia in Surabaya on Wednesday. The warship is being built under the supervision of Dutch shipbuilder Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS).

“The PKR frigate will have the modern surface warfare capabilities being equipped with [anti-ship] Exocet missile, anti-submarine warfare with torpedoes, anti-aircraft warfare and electronic warfare,” Marsetio said after the ceremony.

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Lafayette scandal ruling finalized; Kuo to return NT$10.4 billion

Lafayette class frigateThe Supreme Court yesterday finalized former Navy Captain Kuo Li-heng's (郭力恆) verdict, ruling that Kuo should serve 15 years in prison, pay a fine of NT$200 million and return NT$10.4 billion in illegal income to the country over the procurement of Lafayette-class frigates from France in the 1990s.

The verdict can not be appealed.

The Taipei District Prosecutors Office (TDPO) said, however, that unless Kuo commits another crime he likely will not need to serve his prison term in accordance with the Criminal Code.

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Lockheed to continue torpedo maintenance

Mk-48 torpedo maintenanceA $10 million contract has been given to Lockheed Martin by the U.S. Navy to continue supporting the readiness of MK-48 torpedoes.

The contract from Naval Sea Systems Command exercises the first option of a 2013 award, Lockheed said, and brings that award’s value to more than $18 million.

“The key to this program’s success is our strong partnership with the U.S. Navy," said Dr. Rob Smith, vice president of C4ISR for Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Solutions.

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HMCS Chicoutimi One Step Closer to Returning to Operations, Navy Says – Dive Planned For Today

HMCS ChicoutimiHer Majesty’s Canadian Submarine (HMCS) Chicoutimi is under tow to Ogden Point, near Victoria Harbour today, where it is expected to conduct a camber dive.

This is a key moment in the submarine’s Extended Docking Work Period, begun in 2010 as the first ever performed by industry under the Victoria In-service Support Contract.

The camber dive is also a key early stepping stone in Chicoutimi’s return to the fleet, expected later this year, as it advances through an exhaustive test and trial program.

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Navy delays submarine commissioning, says more work needed

USS North DakotaThe Navy on Wednesday said it would delay the commissioning of the North Dakota, a new Virginia-class submarine that was due to enter active service on May 31, to carry out more design work and resolve quality problems with certain components.

The submarine, built jointly by General Dynamics Corp and Huntington Ingalls Industries, is returning to drydock for the additional work, according to the submarine's Facebook site. It said no new commissioning date had been set.

Colleen O'Rourke, spokeswoman for Naval Sea Systems Command, said the Navy decided to delay the commissioning because the ship needed additional design and certification work on its redesigned bow, and because of "material issues" with certain vendor-assembled and delivered components.

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North Sea Boats (PT. Lundin) and SAAB working on an improved 63m FMPV Trimaran

SAAB booth during DSA 2014At DSA 2014, the 14th Defence Services Asia Exhibition and Conference currently held in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Indonesian shipyard North Sea Boats (PT. Lundin) and SAAB are showing an updated model of the 63m FMPV Trimaran design ordered by the Indonesian Navy.

Talking to Navy Recognition during DSA 2014, a SAAB representative explained that the Swedish company is planning to fit its new Sea Giraffe 1X 3D radar higher up in the mast for better radar coverage and less limitation because of the curvature of the Earth.

This is possible because the new radar is only 150 kilograms. This explains the quite unique shape of the newly designed mast onboard the FMPV (Fast Missile Patrol Vessel) Trimaran. The mast would integrate the radar, the ESM and the communication systems.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

EU countries to boost defence budgets in light of Ukraine

European Union flagMilitary chiefs have said the Ukraine crisis is a “wake-up call” for EU countries’ defence spending, as the US backed Ukraine’s use of force in eastern regions.

Speaking to press after a regular meeting of EU defence ministers in Luxembourg on Tuesday (15 April), the deputy chief of the EU’s external action service, Maciej Popowski, said: “We’ve had 70 years of peace now [in Europe], but we see that power politics is back with a vengeance, so it’s a wake-up call and now we need to get serious about defence.”

He noted that “this was the feeling around the table” at the Luxembourg event.

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Russian Air Force to Receive 16 New MiG Fighters

MiG-29SMT FulcrumThe Russian Defense Ministry has signed a $470 million contract with the MiG corporation for the delivery of 16 advanced MiG-29 SMT fighters, the ministry said Tuesday.

The company had earlier confirmed the deal in an interview with RIA Novosti, but did not specify its value.

"The value of the contract, including the ground support and test equipment, is more than 17 billion rubles. The contract is a strategic measure for maintaining the combat readiness of the lightweight fighter fleet," the Defense Ministry said in the statement.

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F-35 Fleet Surpasses 15,000 Flying Hours

F-35A Lightning IIThe Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fleet recently surpassed 15,000 flight hours, marking a major milestone for the program.

“Flying 15,000 hours itself demonstrates that the program is maturing, but what I think is even more impressive is the fact that operational F-35s accounted for more than half of those flight hours,” said J.D. McFarlan, Lockheed Martin's vice president for F-35 Test & Verification.

“While the fleet continues to train, we are actively flight testing the software and mission systems that will enable the Marine Corps to declare Initial Operational Capability (IOC) next year as planned.”

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