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Saturday, February 28, 2015

S-76D™ Helicopter Enters into Service with Japan Coast Guard for Search and Rescue Operations

S-76D™ SAR helicopterSikorsky Aircraft Corp. announced today that the S-76D™ helicopter has entered into search and rescue (SAR) operations with the Japan Coast Guard. Sikorsky Aircraft is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp.

Sikorsky executives recently attended a ceremony with representatives from Mitsubishi Corporation and the Japan Coast Guard in which the aircraft entered into service.

The aircraft was delivered to Mitsubishi in July 2014 and became the first S-76D helicopter configured for search and rescue to be delivered as well as the first S-76D aircraft to enter service in Japan. Sikorsky and Mitsubishi have thus far contracted for 11 S-76D helicopters to be used for SAR missions by the Japan Coast Guard.

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Finmeccanica - Selex ES awarded two new Grifo radar contracts

Grifo radar systemFinmeccanica – Selex ES has been awarded two important new contracts for the company’s Grifo radar system. In each case, the Grifo radar system was selected for its proven high performance and flexible architecture. The radar can be installed in a large range of combat aircraft and integrates easily with modern avionics suites.

The Grifo family of airborne fire control radars are multimode and operate in the X-band. They offer a broad suite of field proven air-to-air, air-to-surface and navigation modes, high resolution SAR and ISAR.

Grifo represents an important commercial success for Finmeccanica - Selex ES at the international level. Over 450 of the radar systems have been sold so far and the radar equips six international Air Forces.

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Is Turkey withdrawing from NATO?

HQ-9/FD2000 missile defence systemLast week, the news fell like a bombshell. Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz declared at the Turkish parliament that Turkey’s new defense missile system, to be purchased most probably from China, would not be integrated with NATO’s system. This kicked off a hot discussion on whether Turkey is changing its strategic affiliation and might ultimately withdraw from NATO.

The long-range missiles have been on top of Turkey’s agenda for a long while. In September 2013, Ankara declared that it had awarded its missile defense system tender to a Chinese firm - after which NATO, and the U.S. in particular, raised concerns and gave a sharp reaction.

This was not only because this Chinese firm is included in the U.S.’s sanction list, but also because the Chinese missiles could not be integrated with NATO’s defense system.

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Thales, ASELSAN continue missile system development

A lightweight multirole missile on an unmanned aerial vehicle. Photo by MilborneOne/CCA new precision strike missile system will continue to be developed under a new cooperative contract between Thales and ASELSAN of Turkey.

The missile system under development incorporates Thales's lightweight multi-role missiles, or LMM, and a missile launcher system by ASELSAN.

"The cooperation between the two companies was initiated in 2010 and first stage firings of an integrated Missile Launcher System and LMM were demonstrated in 2014," Thales said in an announcement from a defense airshow in the United Arab Emirates.

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Lockheed, Sikorsky venture awarded $2.0 billion helicopter support deal

MH-60S Sea HawkThe U.S. Navy has awarded a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp and Sikorsky Helicopter a contract worth $2 billion to service the Navy's H-60 helicopters through Jan. 31, 2020, the Pentagon announced on Friday.

The fixed-price contract covers "performance-based logistics" on 1,710 assemblies and components, and covers the repair, modification, overhaul and replacement of hardware for the Navy's fleet of H-60 helicopters.

The contact was awarded to Marine Helicopter Support Co, a joint venture of Lockheed and Sikorsky, is a unit of United Technologies Corp.


Pentagon Launches Electronic Warfare Study: Growler Line At Stake

EA-18G GrowlerThe Pentagon has launched a wide-ranging study of electronic warfare, looking across the services at major platforms such as the EA-18G Growler and the F-35’s three versions.

“We are doing right now in the Department of Defense a study that looks at all electronic attack[:] what is the situation in electromagnetic warfare across the spectrum in our maneuver,” Adm. Jonathan Greenert told the House Appropriations defense subcommittee yesterday.

That study that goes far beyond any individual weapons system to examine America’s entire capability to control the electromagnetic spectrum, on which our networks, sensors, and precision weapons all depend.

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Construction of new Italian Navy frigate begins

ITS Carlo The first steel sheeting for a new Italian Navy FREMM frigate has been conducted at a shipyard of Fincantieri near Genoa, the company reports.

The cutting marks the build phase of the multi-mission vessel, the eighth being constructed in the multinational FREMM program.

A total of 10 FREMM frigates are being built in Italy, with Orizzonte Sistemi Navali as the prime contractor.

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Lanka decides to consult China

Type 039 (Song) class SSKSri Lanka will not make any decision on Chinese projects it is reviewing until it consults China, Sri Lanka’s foreign minister said on Friday, pledging that his new government would welcome Chinese investors, the Reuters news agency reported.

President Maithripala Sirisena has unnerved China with his re-examination of certain projects that China has invested in, including a $1.5 billion “port city” project in Colombo.

India, which lost out to China in infrastructure development on the Indian Ocean island, was in particular worried about the security threat posed by Chinese ownership of land, aggravated by the docking of Chinese submarines in Colombo last year.

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Navy submarines: first time Canadian fleet is operational

Canada's Navy is marking what it calls a milestone for its controversy-plagued submarine program.

For the first time since Canada's four Victoria-class subs were purchased almost two decades ago, the navy says the fleet is now "operational", meaning three of the subs are able to conduct naval operations.

Two of the subs, HMCS Victoria and HMCS Chicoutimi will be in the water off Esquimalt, B.C. this week, while HMCS Windsor is currently operating out of Halifax.

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Friday, February 27, 2015

China’s Air Force Sets Up in High Schools to Train Teen Top Guns

China’s air force is offering pilot training to high school students in its latest attempt to attract young and qualified recruits needed to upgrade the People’s Liberation Army.

Flight training will be provided for about 1,000 successful applicants, age 14 to 16, in selected high schools, according to a statement jointly issued by the ministries of education, public security and the PLA general political department on Thursday. The training will start later this year.

The student pilot training program is the most recent in a slew of initiatives the Chinese air force has taken to induct young talent to build an “integrated air and space capability” and to forge greater balance among the PLA’s land, sea and air branches, as urged by President Xi Jinping.

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Exelis to develop and supply pneumatic missile eject launchers for Saab Aeronautics

Saab Gripen E/FExelis has signed a business agreement with Saab Aeronautics to develop, supply and support Pneumatic Missile Eject Launcher pylons (PMEL) for use on Saab’s next generation Gripen E multirole fighter aircraft.

The PMEL will enable powered ejection of Meteor and AMRAAM (AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile) from the fuselage underside.

The agreement is long-term, covering the entire operational life of the Gripen E and includes follow-on and upgrades to the system.

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Pakistan Inducts China-Built Eagle AWACS Into Air Force

Karakoram Eagle AWACS aircraftPakistan air force on Thursday inducted the advanced China-built Karakoram Eagle AWACS aircraft, capable of detecting hostile aerial and sea surface targets far before ground-based radars regardless of their height.

Pakistan Air Force (PAF) said the new aircraft were inducted into its premier No 4 Squadron at ceremony held at an operational PAF base in Karachi.

"With the addition of AWACS, Pakistan air defence is now able to look deeper in enemy territory, be it land or sea," the air force said.

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US sends spy plane to patrol West Philippine Sea

P-8A PoseidonThe United States has begun flying its most advanced surveillance aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon, out of the Philippines for patrols over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), the US Navy said on Thursday, acknowledging the flights for the first time.

The United States, the Philippines' oldest and closest ally, has promised to share "real time" information on what is happening in Philippine waters as China steps up its activities in the South China Sea.

China claims most of the potentially energy-rich South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have overlapping claims.

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Russia’s Bear: The old-fashioned plane still thriving

The Tupolev Tu-95 first thundered over Soviet parades in the mid-1950s. Why does this giant, propeller-driven bomber still make headlines nearly 60 years later? Stephen Dowling investigates.

It first rumbled into the skies back in the early 1950s, an aerial giant that epitomised Soviet military might. Even its codename – ‘Bear’ – underlined its great size and strength.

When the Tupolev Tu-95 first appeared in front of Western observers in 1956, it did so amid a revolutionary surge in aviation design; the decade after the end of World War II saw jet technology become ascendant. Yet the Bear had propeller-driven engines, which even then seemed archaic.

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Navy's New Maritime Strategy Includes More Destroyers to Pacific

USS Chancellorsville (CG62)U.S. Navy leaders' plans to forward deploy two more destroyers to Japan and base another attack submarine in Guam appear to be part of a new maritime strategy expected to be released by the Navy next month.

While most of the details of the new strategy for the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard will not yet be discussed by Navy officials, the effort does include a new examination of the sea-services' ability to forward deploy and project power in global hotspots such as the Pacific theater and Middle East.

"The sea services have updated the maritime strategy in response to changes in the global security environment, new strategic guidance and a changed fiscal environment," said Lt. Timothy Hawkins, a Navy spokesman, told

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Japan's defense capability should not be underestimated: expert

DDH-183 IzumoJapanese military expert Kazuhiko Inoue said that Japan's self defense force is capable of taking on China's People's Liberation Army even without the assistance of the United States, Tokyo's Sapio Magazine reports.

Inoue said that the ability of the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force to resist a potential PLA invasion should not be underestimated.

He also questioned whether China's warships, designed based on technologies purchased from Russia, Ukraine, Israel are really that reliable compared to their Japanese counterparts.

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Nato defence spending falls despite promises to reverse cuts

Military expenditureDespite the Ukraine crisis and increasing tensions with Russia, most Nato members are doing little to reverse the decline in their defence spending.

The promises and rhetoric that they will meet the threat is not matched by reality.

New research by Ian Kearns and Denitsa Raynova of the European Leadership Network (ELN) found that six countries, including two of the biggest defence spenders in Europe, the UK and Germany, will cut defence expenditure in 2015.

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Why the New Bomber is a Good Investment

Lockheed Long Range Strategic Bomber Concept ArtShould the bomber go the way of the battleship? That is what T.X. Hammes recently suggested here at War on the Rocks (“Rethinking Deep Strike in the 21st Century”).

Hammes urged policymakers to abandon the U.S. Air Force’s Long Range Strike-Bomber (LRS-B) program. Recalling procurement debacles like the B-2 and F-35 programs, Hammes argued that policymakers and planners should avoid the risk of another such acquisition fiasco and instead give standoff missiles and the emerging technology of autonomous drones a chance.

Hammes compared the Air Force’s effort to field another manned bomber with the Navy’s attempt after World War I to hold on to the battleship, only to see that increasingly costly platform surpassed by a new technology, swarms of aircraft.

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Gibraltar's vital role for the US Navy's operations is underlined

Gibraltar plays a ‘vital’ role for the US Navy’s submarine operations at a time of increased Russian naval activity, a US think tank said. The Heritage Foundation made the statement in its Index of US Military Strength 2015, a wide-ranging annual research project that assesses the ability of the United States Armed Forces.

The document notes that the US Navy keeps a number of submarines in the European region and that these contribute to the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capacities of EURCOM, the US military’s Germany-based European Command.

Some of these submarines ‘frequently’ dock at the Z Berth in the naval base at Gibraltar, the Heritage Foundation said. “The US cannot dock nuclear powered submarines in Spain making access to Gibraltar’s Z berths vital,” the report added.

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Ghannatha vessels delivered

Ghannatha-class FPBAbu Dhabi Ship Building (ADSB) has announced the completion of the Ghannatha Phase II programme after delivery of all 24 vessels to the UAE Navy.

Built to a design developed by partner Swede Ship Marine (Stand C-015), the Ghannatha-class boats are high-speed, aluminiumbuilt multi-role combat vessels.

Powered by two MTU diesels driving twin Rolls-Royce FF 600 waterjets, the design is capable of speeds up to 45kts.

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Russian Fighter Jets Kick Off Air Missile Drills Above Barents Sea

MiG-31 FirefoxRussia's Central Military District's MiG-31 Foxhound interceptor aircraft are conducting military drills over the Barents Sea, testing responses to air missile strikes, the Russian Defense Ministry said Thursday.

"The flight-tactical exercise with the crews of MiG-31 fighter-interceptors was launched in the Perm Region at the Sokol Airbase. In the coming days, two squads of aircraft will be redeployed to the Monchegorsk airport (Murmansk Region), making a flight distance of 1,500 kilometers (932 miles).

The flights to intercept 'enemy' missiles and aircraft will take place from there," the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.

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NATO Commander Breedlove: Imported Russian Missiles Have Turned Crimea into a Black Sea ‘Power Projection’ Platform

Iskander ESince Russia has taken control of the Crimean region of Ukraine, it has moved a significant number of anti-air and anti-surface missile systems onto the peninsula that could hit targets in most of the Black Sea region, the supreme commander of NATO and U.S. European Command (EUCOM) told reporters in a Wednesday afternoon briefing.

“What we have seen is that Crimea has been transformed in some fairly significant ways as far as weapon systems in the Crimea,” said Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove.

“These weapon systems — from air defense systems that reach nearly half of the Black Sea to surface attack systems that reach almost all of the Black Sea area — have made the platform of Crimea a great platform for power projection into this area.”

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Fatal crash in Malatya raises questions over capability of fighters

RF-4E Phantom IIA debate has begun on the safety of an ageing type of fighter jet used by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) after two Turkish RF-4E reconnaissance aircraft crashed, killing all four pilots, during an a training exercise in the province of Malatya on Tuesday.

According to a statement issued by the TSK, contact was lost with the RF-4E Phantom reconnaissance aircraft soon after they took off from the Malatya air base for planned night training on Tuesday evening. "Search operations were started immediately.

At 20:45 the wreckage of our two planes was discovered and unfortunately four pilots have been martyred," said the statement. The planes crashed in the Ekinciler area of Malatya's Akcadag district. No reason was given for the crash.

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Peru Defense Ministry, US Southern Command seek to deepen bilateral ties

USS George WashingtonPeru’s Defense Ministry and US Southern Command representatives are looking to strengthen bilateral relations and promote respect for human rights in the Peruvian armed forces as they attend a seminar held in Lima, Peru.

The Human Rights Initiative (HRI) Strategic Process Assessment Seminar, which opened on Tuesday and ends today, is a regional program supported by the Southern Command that allows participating soldiers of the hemisphere to create their own scheme for institutionalizing respect for human rights.

Peru participated in the hemispheric seminars from 1997-2002 to develop the Consensus Document and officially joined the HRI in 2010, making a formal commitment to implement HRI within its armed forces.

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New fighter jet appears ready for PLA

J-10B Vigorous DragonChina's air force will soon commission the J-10B fighter jet, the most advanced military aircraft the country has ever developed on its own, information released by military observers show.

Several pictures showing 14 of the planes lined up outside an unidentified aircraft factory have been circulating on military websites. Experts said their gray paint scheme indicates that they will soon be delivered to the People's Liberation Army air force.

Though no one has claimed ownership of the pictures, they are believed to have been taken by Chinese aviation enthusiasts in late December or early January.

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