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Friday, December 19, 2014

Germany takes delivery of its first Airbus A400M

Airbus Defence and Space has formally delivered the first Airbus A400M military transport ordered by Germany.

A total of nine aircraft have now been delivered and the aircraft is in service with four nations.

The Bundeswehr accepted the aircraft at the A400M Final Assembly Line in Seville, Spain on 18 December.

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PLA's JH-7 fighter bomber modified for S China Sea conflict

JH-7A Flying LeopardFacing a potential conflict with Vietnam in the South China Sea, China is continuing the modification of Xian Aircraft Industry Corporation's two-seat JH-7 fighter bomber for the PLA Navy, according to the Sina Military Network based in Beijing.

Photos released on the website indicate that a new version of the JH-7 attacker is under development, constructed with composite materials. Internet users believe that the avionics and engine of the aircraft, referred to as the JH-7B, have been upgraded as well, while the Communist Party paper Global Times said the plane is equipped with an LM6 turbofan engine.

Once the JH-7B enters service, it may also be fitted with the more advanced WS-10 Taihang engine designed by Shenyang Liming Aircraft Engine Company.

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No C-17 delivered to Algeria, Boeing confirms

C-17 Globemaster IIIAlgeria has not received into service a Boeing C-17 Globemaster III strategic airlifter, the manufacturer confirmed to IHS Jane's on 17 December.

A C-17 in Algerian Air Force (al Quwwat al Jawwiya al Jaza'eriya) markings was reported to have landed at Algiers Houari Boumediene Airport on 10 December, the Secret Difa3 blog reported eyewitnesses as saying.

However, it has since emerged that this may have in fact been an aircraft belonging to the Qatar Emiri Air Force, though it is unclear how the roundels could have been confused.

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AFM receives second twin-engine helicopter

AFM AW139The Armed Forces of Malta’s second AW139 twin-engine helicopter landed at Luqa a few minutes ago.

The helicopter, which is to be registered AS1429, will be used to perform border control tasks and SAR missions.

Together with the AFM’s first twin-engine helicopter, it will help strengthen the AFM’s capabilities through the External Borders Fund 2007-2013.

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Europe to begin testing of UAV-based maritime surveillance system

Tekever AR5 EvolutionTekever’s AR5 Life Ray Evolution unmanned air vehicle has been selected to participate in the testing of Europe’s first UAV maritime surveillance system, following a contract award from the European Space Agency and European Maritime Safety Agency.

Through the Rapsody programme, the UAV will be involved in two years of testing in two different scenarios – search and rescue and pollution and oil spill monitoring – over the Atlantic and the North and Mediterranean seas.

This is the first time UAVs will be introduced into maritime surveillance missions in Europe, Tekever says.

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China Test Launches Deadly DF-41 Multi War Head Super Ballistic Missile: Threat Perceptions Up For USA

DF-41 road mobile ICBMShowing its missile prowess, China on Saturday carried out a long-range missile flight test at a secret locaton. The missile is significant for its use of advanced multiple, independently targetable reentry, according to the U.S. defence officials.

The new DF-41 missile of China will use multiple warhead capabilities as the longest-range intercontinental ballistic missile, reported Free Beacon.

The report also claimed that the multiple-warhead technology, originated from the U.S and passed into the hands of China illegally, in the 1990s, when the Clinton administration was in power.

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Taiwan publicize Hsiung Feng III supersonic anti-ship missile tests

Taiwan has recently released photos and videos of the latest generation surface launched anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles.

The two include the supersonic surface launched Hsiung Feng III anti-ship missile and Tien Kung III surface-to-air missiles.

Both were developed at the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology.

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Five Navy helicopters sold to Peru

SH-2G Super SeaspriteFive Royal New Zealand Navy Seasprite helicopters have been sold to Peru, Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee announced today.

"Our recent purchase of eight new, more sophisticated Seasprite helicopters meant the older model Seasprites were available for sale and a deal has been struck with the Peruvian Government for them to buy them for their Navy," Mr Brownlee says.

As well as the helicopters, Peru is buying spares and the Maverick missiles which are used with the helicopters.

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India bids for building frigates for Manila

CGS BarracudaEven as India is now all set to export its first warship to Mauritius, it is also bidding for an Rs 2,000 crore project to build two frigates for Philippines amid stiff competition from European and South Korean shipyards.

Kolkata-based defence shipyard Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited (GRSE) is also gearing up to build four offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) for Vietnam under the $100 million credit line extended to it.

India is helping Vietnam with submarine and fighter training as well as military equipment, with both being wary of an assertive China in the Asia Pacific region, as reported earlier by TOI.

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Railguns: The Next Big Pentagon Boondoggle?

Railgun test shotFor years now, Navy officials have been boosting a new technology, the railgun, as an ideal next-generation piece of artillery for America’s ships.

But there’s good reason to believe it won’t live up to the hype — and that it may be the U.S. military’s next billion-dollar blunder that never pans out.

Conventional guns, like those fitted on Navy ships today, use explosive propellants such as gunpowder to fire projectiles.

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Putin Row Leaves France Holding Two Carriers It Doesn’t Need

Vladivostok LHDTwo cranes loom over France’s Atlantic port of Saint-Nazaire as workers build the “Sevastopol,” the second of two helicopter carriers destined for Russia, unperturbed by the diplomatic row that’s blocked their delivery.

Nearby, the first ship, the “Vladivostok” remains moored, way past its October delivery date after President Vladimir Putin’s incursions in Ukraine led to the contract’s suspension in line with U.S. and European Union sanctions against Russia.

“A cease-fire won’t be enough, a more sustainable and solid solution will be needed,” said Jean-Pierre Maulny, deputy director at the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs, in an interview. “We’ll end up with two boats on our hands if the contract is canceled. That will have a cost, even if it’s hard to measure.”

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Russia and US Fight For Underwater Drone Supremacy; Moscow Builds More Warplanes Than US

GhostSwimmer UUVRussia's constant military expansion has led it to surpass the United States in terms of manufacturining new war planes. News of Russia's increased military activity to protect its interests has added to the tension in Europe on top of the sanctions imposed by the West over its meddling in Ukraine.

According to the Russian United Aircraft Corporation, Russia has built more combat aircraft than the U.S. in 2014. Vladislav Goncharenko, deputy head of the military aviation programme department of UAC, said in an interview with radio station Ekho Moskvy, confirmed the information.

He said UAC delivered 68 planes and 100 others including 95 attack planes for the use of the Russian Air Force in 2014.

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UK female soldiers: Hurdles remain for combat action

UK female soldiersWomen have already broken down barriers in the British armed forces.

They're currently flying combat missions over Iraq with the RAF. Last year the Royal Navy lifted its ban on women in submarines.

In Afghanistan they've already served on the front line too, albeit in support roles as medics, bomb disposal experts and intelligence officers.

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Defence secretary: Now is not the time to get rid of Trident

Vanguard class SSBNThe defence secretary said "now is not the time to start rethinking" the UK's nuclear deterrent, on his first visit to the Clyde naval base where it is stationed.

The Trident system was a key issue in the Scottish referendum debate and looks set to play a part in next year's general election.

The deterrent is up for renewal in 2016 and the SNP, which polls suggest could win a majority of Scottish seats, has said it will not lend its support to any party that favours renewal if there is a hung parliament.

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FMS of MK 41 Vertical Launch Systems May Indicate Purchase of LCS or DDG by Saudi Arabia

Mk 41 Missile CanistersThe recent (and very low profile) announcement by the U.S. Department of Defense of a Foreign Military Sale (FMS) of MK 41 Vertical Launching Systems (VLS) to Saudi Arabia could possibly be an indication of the procurement of Littoral Combat Ships or DDG-51 type (Burke class) Destroyers by the Royal Saudi Navy.

Here is Navy Recognition's take on it.

On December 12, 2014, the U.S. Department of Defense announced the following contract award:
Lockheed Martin Corp., Mission Systems and Training, Baltimore, Maryland, is being awarded a $235,329,189 firm-fixed-price contract for MK 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) electronic and mechanical modules and related equipment.

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Royal Netherlands Navy purchases Thales’s new NS100 surveillance radar for Rotterdam class LPD

The Netherlands Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) and Thales have signed a contract for the delivery of a NS100 dual-axis multi-beam surveillance radar.

The system will be installed on HNLMS Rotterdam, to replace its 30-year old DA08 radar system.

The NS100 will be installed in the second semester of 2017, in line with the ship’s maintenance schedule.

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NASA launches study for Skunk Works SR-72 concept

Skunk Works SR-72 conceptNASA has awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin to study the feasibility of building a hypersonic propulsion system for a concept intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft dubbed the SR-72 using existing turbine engine technologies.

The $892,292 contract “provides for a parametric design study to establish the viability of a turbine-based combined cycle (TBCC) propulsion system consisting of integrating several combinations of near-term turbine engine solutions and a very low Mach ignition Dual Mode RamJet (DMRJ) in the SR-72 vehicle concept,” the award document says.

A spokeswoman for Lockheed’s Skunk Works development laboratory declined to comment on the contract award.

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South Korea balks as U.S. picks Japan, Australia to service F-35s in Asia

F-35B STOVL Lightning IISouth Korea said on Thursday it will not send its F-35 fleet to Japan for heavy airframe maintenance, one of the two Asian hubs chosen by the United States to service the Lockheed Martin Corp stealth fighter.

Instead, it is likely to fly the jets to Australia for maintenance, about eight times further away than Japan and well beyond their operating range.

The three nations, all key U.S. allies, are the only countries in the region to have ordered the F-35s.

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Army's blimp-like airships get East Coast test

Aerostat radarThe Army showed off a blimp-like airship Wednesday that is designed to help the military detect and destroy cruise missiles speeding toward the nation's capital or other major East Coast cities.

The radar-toting vehicle will be launched next week as part of a three-year test of the system at Aberdeen Proving Ground, about 25 miles northeast of Baltimore.

When fully deployed next spring, the system will feature two, unmanned, helium-filled aerostats, tethered to concrete pads 4 miles apart. They'll float at an altitude of 10,000 feet, about one-third as high as a commercial airliner's cruising altitude.

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Isro's GSLV-Mark III Lifts Off With Unmanned Crew Module

India's heaviest test rocket with an experimental crew module blasted off from the spaceport in Sriharikota Thursday morning.

Precisely at 9.30am IST, the 630-tonne Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV-Mark III) standing 43.43 metre tall freed itself from the second launch pad holds and with a reverberating deep throated roar, it rose into the sky.

With a thick orange flame at its tail, the expendable rocket ascended towards the heavens with one way ticket as its design life span is just around five minutes.

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Russia-NATO Tactical Warplanes In Rapid Stand-off; Putin Orders Snap Military Drills

RC-135U Combat SentRussia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation or NATO are displaying rapid provocation aimed at each other, as Russian military officials accused NATO of heightened spy and tactical warplanes deployment over the Baltic border in 2014.

NATO doubled its reconnaissance flights over Baltic border in an alarming rate -- 3,000 in total -- according to head of the Russian Defence Ministry's joint military command centre General Mikhail Mizintsev alleged.

The alarming rate through which NATO is flying its warplanes is being conducted without two-way communication from concerned parties, Mizintsev said.

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South Korea picks Heron 1 for UAS requirement

Heron 1 UAVSouth Korea is to purchase an undisclosed number of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Heron 1 unmanned air systems, following a decision taken by the nation's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).

Confirming its selection to meet a corps-level UAV upgrade project requirement, IAI on 17 December distributed a DAPA quote as stating: “We comprehensively evaluated price, capability, operational suitability, terms and conditions, and selected the equipment that has a higher score.”

Seoul intends to employ its UAS as another means of maintaining surveillance of North Korea, with some of its air vehicles also to be capable of conducting maritime patrol tasks.

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Babcock to deliver further Phalanx systems

Phalanx CIWSBabcock, in association with Raytheon, is to deliver four Phalanx 1B kits and convert four land Phalanx Weapons Systems to their original marinised configuration to provide naval Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWS) capability (the UK’s primary defence for ships against anti-ship missiles), under a contract awarded by the UK MoD.

Three of the four Phalanx kits will add to the defensive capability of the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier, the MoD has said.

Babcock is the in-service support provider to the MoD for Phalanx systems under a long-term availability contract awarded in 2006, managing and executing all upkeep support activities, including a 24/7 helpdesk for the Royal Navy, as well as providing logistics support for spares and repairable units.

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Philippines to get frigates, gunboats, helicopters as tension simmers

BRP Gregorio del PilarThe Philippines aims to buy two frigates, two helicopters and three gunboats for deployment in the South China Sea where a territorial dispute with China has lent urgency to the need to bolster forces, a Philippine navy officer said on Wednesday.

China claims nearly the entire South China Sea, rejecting claims to parts of it by the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan.

The confrontation between the Philippines and China has been particularly tense since June 2012 when China seized a rocky outcrop known as the Scarborough Shoal which is believed to be rich in oil and natural gas as well as fisheries resources.

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New destroyer heading to Mayport in 2016 could protect littoral combat ships in dangerous waters

USS Lassen (DDG 82)The First Coast will be an unlikely beneficiary of rising tensions in the waters between China and Japan.

In a high-profile move to add more American Navy muscle to the Western Pacific, the Navy announced it is sending two more destroyers capable of defending against possible Chinese ballistic missile attacks to its 7th Fleet based in Yokosuka, Japan.

In a multi-ship swap, the Aegis missile-equipped destroyer USS Lassen, with its crew of more than 300 sailors, will leave its forward-deployed base in Japan and keep the total number of Mayport destroyers at four.

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