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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Indian Air Force Mirage 2000 Upgrade Progresses Despite Groundings

Mirage 2000Although a $2.2 billion upgrade of India’s Dassault Mirage 2000 fighters is progressing, around a quarter of the fleet of 49 is grounded because a contract for spares has remained unsigned for years, AIN has learned from sources involved in the program.

“Bureaucratic holdups have caused delays. As a result, parts are being cannibalized and there are some aircraft [inactive] since 2010. Life of some parts, especially avionics, is expiring,” said an engineer not willing to be identified.

Repairs of the Mirages are carried out at the base repair depot in Gwalior in the central state of Madhya Pradesh. The depot also does material planning and storage of primarily third- and fourth-line spares. The Indian Air Force declined to comment.

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Dutch to increase defence spending

CH-47F ChinookThe Dutch government has decided to increase the Netherlands' defence spending, reversing 24 years of declining defence expenditure.

Dutch Defence Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert said on 16 September that the funds would be used generally to "enhance the clout" of the armed forces.

Under the plans, defence spending is set to rise by EUR50 million (USD65 million) in 2015 to EUR7.3 billion, with further rises of EUR150 million in 2016 and EUR100 million in the following years.

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Russia to Supply T-90S Tanks to Peru in Medium-Term: Rosoboronexport

T-90 MBTPeru is interested in a supply of Russian T-90S tanks, but plans are currently considered a medium-term project, Russia's state arms exporter Rosoboronexport deputy general director Sergei Goreslavsky has told RIA Novosti during the exhibition, Africa Aerospace and Defence 2014.

"In collaboration with Uralvagonzavod, Rosoboronexport is working hard to promote the T -90S.

This project continues to be the focus of Peruvian leaders, but is has earned a medium-term due to a number of political circumstances, such as the upcoming presidential elections," said Goreslavsky.

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Chromium paint investigation begins at Defence ministry

Jeanine Hennis-PasschaertThe Defense ministry is expanding the investigation into the use of chromium-based paint.

Three other former NATO depots as well as all the locations where chromium paint was or is being used, will be examined during the investigation.

Employees of Defense had complaints about the toxic chromium-6, a substance in the paint and varnish used on tanks and fighter aircraft in a number of workshops.

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US, Canada, Intercept 6 Russian Planes, 2 Bombers Over Their Air Defense Identification Zone

MiG-31 FirefoxTwo U.S. Air Force jets intercepted six Russian planes near Alaska, while Canada's air force intercepted two bombers that had almost reached its airspace, reports said, citing North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD. U.S. officials reportedly believe the incidents were connected to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s visit to the region.

Jeff Davis, a spokesperson for NORAD, said that the Russian planes reportedly flew within about 55 nautical miles off Alaska and about 40 nautical miles off the Canadian coastline, CNN reported, adding that after flying in a loop they returned to Russia.

Two Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptors intercepted two Ilyushin Il-78 refueling tankers, Mikoyan MiG-31 fighter jets and two Russian Bear long-range bombers. Two Canadian McDonnell Douglas CF-18 Hornet jets intercepted two Russian Bear long-range bombers in the Beaufort Sea, north of Alaska, CNN reported, citing the NORAD statement.

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Opinion: A Mistral For Canada

Vladivostok LHDThe September decision by France to withhold delivery of two Mistral-class Landing Platforms Helicopter (LPH) building for Russia is an opportunity for NATO, the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and for the French shipbuilding industry and economy.

France should not suffer economically for taking a stand against Russia’s aggression toward Ukraine. Rather, NATO, France and Canada can benefit if a little mutually beneficial creativity is applied.

While France desperately wants to complete the two amphibious warships — and get paid for them — NATO and Canada need the capabilities these ships can provide.

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RAF Typhoons Scrambled to Intercept Russian Bears

Eurofighter Typhoon & Tu-95 BearRAF Typhoons had to be scrambled this week to intercept two unidentified military aircraft, which turned out to be Russian TU-95 ‘Bear’ strategic bombers on a reconnaissance run.

Russia using it’s strategic bomber force to ‘probe’ the airspace of NATO members to test reaction times and response strength was a regular feature of the Cold War, which necessitated a dense network of fast jet squadrons based around the world to intercept, and escort away the Russian craft.

They all but ceased with the collapse of the Soviet Union, but acting as a convenient barometer of a resurgent Russia they have resumed in recent years.

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Saudi Arabia Buys Chinese DF-21 Ballistic Missiles

DF-21 (CSS-5)A former Saudi Arabian general said in an interview that Saudi Arabia has purchase Chinese Dong-Feng 21 ballistic missiles.

He did not say which variant of the missile the country bought, bu did mention the DF 21 is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

Saudi Arabia did purchase the DF-21 in the past, but the US conditioned its approval of the sale in that it not be a nuclear capable version of the missile.

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The Royal Canadian Navy issues details on retirement of ships

HMCS IroquoisAs the Royal Canadian Navy undergoes its most extensive peacetime modernization in history, Vice Admiral Mark Norman, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN), today announced the upcoming retirement of four ships that have reached the end of their operational lives, a news release issued by the RCN noted.

More from the release just sent out a few minutes ago:

The ships are Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships (HMCS) Protecteur and Preserver; two Protecteur-class auxiliary oil replenishment (AOR) ships, and HMCS Iroquois and Algonquin, two Iroquois-class guided missile destroyers (DDG).

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Russia to Lay Down New Borey Class Nuclear Sub in December

Borey class SSBNThe construction of a new Borey class nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarine is expected to begin in December, the Sevmash shipyard said Friday.

“In December, if everything goes well, we will lay down one more submarine, the Knyaz Suvorov. It is another boat of the improved Borey-A class,” Nikolay Semakov, a deputy department head at Sevmash told RIA Novosti.

The Knyaz Suvorov will be the sixth out of eight Borey class vessels to form the backbone of the Russian Navy’s strategic nuclear deterrent force after older boats are retired by 2018.

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Navy celebrates submarine milestone

Ohio class SSBNThe Navy commemorated 4,000 strategic deterrent patrols Friday with celebrations at the homes of its ballistic-missile submarine fleet — Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor and Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia.

Bangor harbors eight of the Trident subs, with the other six at the Georgia base.

"The submarine is perhaps the most technological marvel ever," Vice Adm. Terry Benedict, director of Strategic Systems Programs, said during an event at Bangor's Deterrent Park. "As we continue to build and develop new submarines, they are becoming even more advanced — quieter, stealthier, going deeper and armed with highly superior weapons systems.

Two submarines being procured for Tk 1500 crore

Ming (Romeo) class SSKThe government has signed a deal with China for the purchase of two submarines at a cost of Tk 1500 crore. The Chinese army is presently using these two 24-year-old submarines. It is expected that Bangladesh Navy will take over these two submarines in 2018 after they are reconditioned.

The government reportedly plans to procure four submarines so that the navy can form a submarine squadron. A submarine operating authority will be formed to operate and maintain the submarines. An officer of the rear admiral rank will head this body. About 200 persons will be required for the submarine operations and several have already been trained for the purpose.

A member of the procurement committee on anonymity tells Prothom Alo, "China will supply two 035G model submarines in accordance to the agreement. The payment for these will be made over a period of five years, from 2013-14 till 2017-18. These will cost 20 crore 22 lakh US dollars or 1569 crore taka.

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Raytheon begins building critical components for AN/TPY-2 ballistic missile defense radar

AN/TPY-2The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) will soon have greater agility and capability in its fleet of AN/TPY-2 ballistic missile defense radars.

Raytheon has begun construction of two major sub-components of the AN/TPY-2 under a $53 million contract announced by the Department of Defense on Sept 2.

The units Raytheon is building will enable the MDA to rotate sub-components out of the field to receive depot-level upgrades while keeping the radars up and running.

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Raytheon Tests New Extended Range Griffin Missile

Griffin missilesRaytheon is testing a new extended range Griffin missile which triples the range of the existing weapon and adds infrared imaging guidance technology, company officials said.

“We start off with a baseline Griffin and add an extended range rocket motor. This more than triples the range of the current Griffin and it has more than twice the range of the Hellfire,” said James Smith, the business development lead for Raytheon’s advanced missile systems.

The existing Griffin missile, which can be launched from the air, sea or land, uses GPS and laser guidance technology. The new variant now being tested allows infrared technology to work in tandem with laser designation, Smith explained.

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Amid Rooivalk restart talks, Denel eyes new platform

Rooivalk attack helicopterAn ongoing discussion about restarting Rooivalk production includes an option to design a new platform based on technology developed for South Africa’s indigenous attack helicopter, says Denel Group chief executive Riaz Saloojee.

Last March, South African defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula publicly expressed interest in restarting a Rooivalk production line that has gone dormant since 2007 after delivering only 12 aircraft, but offered no details on timing or funding.

Those discussions between the Ministry of Defence and Denel Group are ongoing, Saloojee says.

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AVIC To Debut Y-20 Air Freighter, Fighter Jets At Airshow China

Xian Y-20 KunpengChina will debut the Y-20 heavy air freighter and other advanced aircraft and weaponry this November at the 10th China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition, also known as Airshow China.

"There will be more than 120 aircraft from 39 countries and regions at this year's Airshow, including the popular Airbus A380 and [China's] J-10 fighter," He Ningka, mayor of Zhuhai, in Guangdong Province, host city of the Airshow, told reporters at a Tuesday press conference.

"Besides, the Aviation Industry Corporation of China will present its Y-20, FC-1 fighter planes and the Leadair AG300 business aircraft," said He.

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Netherlands May Send F-16 Fighters, Weapons to Iraq to Combat IS: Reports

RNLAF F-16 Fighting FalconThe Netherlands could use F-16 fighter aircraft and send arms to Iraqi Kurds in order to fight the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group, active in Iraq and Syria, local media reported Thursday.

An unspecified number of the Netherland Air Force F-16 fighters may take part in operations against Sunni extremists in Iraq and possibly in Syria, The Trouw, a Dutch newspaper, said as quoted by Reuters.

Dutch ministers will reportedly discuss the possibility of taking military action against the IS militants on Friday, during a Cabinet session.

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China to continue intercepting US jets that come too close

J-11 Flanker-BChina’s navy commander has vowed to continue intercepting United States military surveillance planes that come close to its coast, while saying he wants to avoid a repeat of a collision that downed two jets 13 years ago, killing a Chinese pilot.

“It’s become routine for the US to conduct close-in surveillance of China and I don’t see the end of these activities.

The US won’t be the US if it stops doing it,” People’s Liberation Army navy chief Admiral Wu Shengli told top US navy officials at an global forum in Newport, Rhode Island, on Wednesday, said a report in the state-owned Global Times newspaper yesterday. “But China’s countermeasures won’t end either.”

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South Korea fires warning shots at North's patrol boat

South Korea fired warning shots on Friday after a North Korean patrol boat crossed a disputed maritime border to the west of the divided peninsula, the South's military said.

Such incidents are not unheard of along the tense sea border between the rivals but it came on the day that the Asian Games officially opened in the South, with North Korean athletes participating.

A South Korean Defense Ministry official said the North Korean vessel intruded into waters controlled by the South off Baengnyeong island just after noon but it turned back six minutes after the South Korean navy fired warning shots.

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Weaponized Turboprops Edging Out Fighter Aircraft?

Challenger 605Transport and business aircraft equipped with weapons and sensors could be emerging as low-cost alternatives to fighter planes as recent procurements have shown.

Boeing announced today at AAD 2014 that it moving forward with its Maritime Surveillance Aircraft (MSA), with ground and flight testing underway.

According to Robert Schoeffling of Boeing Military Aircraft, the prototype aircraft, based on the Bombadier Challenger 605 platform, had progressed from a paper design to being integrated with sensors and systems in just two years.

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The secrets of the desert aircraft ‘boneyards’

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base
What happens when an aircraft is no longer needed? In the desert dry of the south-western US, vast ‘boneyards’ are homes to thousands of aircraft, Stephen Dowling writes.

If you find yourself driving down South Kolb Road in the Arizona city of Tucson, you’ll find the houses give way to a much more unusual view; rows of military aircraft, still and silent, spread out under the baking desert sun.

On and on, everything from enormous cargo lifters to lumbering bombers, Hercules freighters and the F-14 Tomcat fighters made famous in Top Gun.

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Giant MQ-4C Triton surveillance drone flies across the United States

MQ-4C TritonThis morning, a giant Navy surveillance drone landed at Patuxent River base in Maryland after flying over the Gulf of Mexico and the American southwest from an airfield owned by Northrup Grumman in Palmdale, CA.

The test flight represented the first cross-country flight for the MQ-4C Triton drone after 15 previous test flights.

The drone is just the first piece in what the Navy calls Broad Area Maritime Surveillance, or BAMS. The MQ-4C Triton will be used to keep tabs on a wide area using “radar, infrared sensors and advanced cameras to provide full-motion video and photographs to the military,” according to the Washington Post.

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Navy to Conduct Strike Missile Demonstration Aboard LCS 4

USS Coronado (LCS 4)The Navy is scheduled to conduct a live-fire demonstration of a Kongsberg-built Naval Strike Missile (NSM) aboard the littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS 4) while underway in the Pacific Ocean Sept. 24, a Naval Sea Systems Command spokesman announced in a Sept. 18 release.

The Kongsberg NSM is a long-range precision-strike missile designed to be launched from a variety of ships against a variety of targets.

This demonstration is intended to test the capabilities of the Norwegian-made missile from a sea-based platform against a Mobile Ship Target (MST) and provide insights into the weapon’s stated capabilities of increased range and lethality.

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Navy Submarine to Be Named After State of Vermont

Virginia class SSNU.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus used Lake Champlain, with its history of a key naval battle in both the American Revolution and the War of 1812, as a backdrop Thursday to announce the naming of the USS Vermont, a nuclear attack submarine due to be built over the next several years.

The $2.7 billion fast-attack submarine should be ready to join the fleet by the end of the decade, Mabus said after the naming ceremony held with state and local officials and some Vermont veterans of the submarine service. It will be the third U.S. Navy vessel to carry the name Vermont.

“It covers almost the entire history of our Navy,” Mabus said of the other two USS Vermonts. The last Vermont was a battleship built in the early years of the 20th century. It was decommissioned in 1920.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Peruvian navy buys surplus Dutch F50s

RNLAF Fokker 50The Peruvian navy has purchased two surplus Royal Netherlands Air Force Fokker 50 transports.

Previously operated by the air force's 334 Sqn from Eindhoven air base in the VIP transport role, aircraft U-05 (20253) and U-06 (20287) have been parked at Lelystad airport pending their sale, and kept in an airworthy situation and flown on a regular basis.

The aircraft are now being prepared for delivery and resprayed in the colours of the Peruvian navy by Quality Aircraft Painting Services at Lelystad.

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