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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Vietnam to arm new Gepard-class frigates with Palma CIWS

Palma CIWSThe People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) Navy will equip its third and fourth Russian-built Gepard 3.9 (Project 11661) light frigates with the Palma close-in weapon system (CIWS), Nudelman Precision Engineering Design Bureau confirmed in a statement issued 22 April.

The PAVN is scheduled to take delivery of the vessels, reported to be anti-submarine warfare (ASW) variants, in 2017.

The first two ships in class, Dinh Tien Hoang and Ly Thai Ho , were commissioned in March and August 2011 respectively and loaded with a similar CIWS.

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Raytheon Recovering From Missile Delivery Delays, Air Force Says

AIM-120D AMRAAMRaytheon Co. has recovered almost 30 percent of about $621 million withheld by the U.S. Air Force since 2012 because it missed deadlines for delivering missiles.

Raytheon, the world’s largest missile maker, received $179 million of the performance payments that had been held back as of March 5, Ed Gulick, a spokesman for the Air Force, said in an e-mailed statement.

The funds were released under a revised delivery schedule agreed on in December 2012.

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Akash Missile Fails to Destroy PTA Target

Akash missileMisfortune struck the Akash missile project once again during a user associate trial from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) off the Odisha coast on Wednesday. The missile, test-fired by the Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel, reportedly failed to destroy the target.

After twin successes in February, this sophisticated surface-to-air nuclear capable missile this time missed the ‘missed-distance’ proximity. It was the missile’s first trial of the three-trial series.

Defence sources said the missile was launched from the launching complex-III of the ITR at Chandipur-on-sea at about 2.43 pm. Prior to firing of the missile, a pilot-less target aircraft (PTA) was flown from the launching complex-II at about 2.30 pm.

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Army to get new missile for upgraded Pantsir-S system by end of 2014

Pantsir-SThe Russian army will get an upgraded version of the Pantsir-S air defense system and a new missile for it by the end of the year, Colonel Yuri Muravkin, deputy commander of the air defense troops, said on Wednesday, April 23.

“The modernization of the serial Pantsir-S systems with new missiles is underway now, and we expect to get them by the end of the year. It will be a new upgraded version of the serial system,” he said.

The new missile will increase the system’s range of fire from 20 to 30 kilometers. “The dimensions of the missile will be altered slightly but it will fit in as usual and no changes will be required. The missile is undergoing preliminary tests now,” Muravkin said.

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US Navy deploys Standard Missile-3 Block IB for first time

SM-3 launchIn partnership with the Missile Defense Agency, the U.S. Navy deployed the second-generation Standard Missile-3 Block IB made by Raytheon Company for the first time, initiating the second phase of the Phased Adaptive Approach.

"The SM-3 Block IB's completion of initial operational testing last year set the stage for a rapid deployment to theater," said Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence, president of Raytheon Missile Systems.

"The SM-3's highly successful test performance gives combatant commanders around the world the confidence they need to counter the growing ballistic missile threat."

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International customer signs agreement with USG valued at $750 million for Raytheon's TOW missiles

BGM-71 TowAn international customer signed an agreement with the U.S. Government for a foreign military sale (FMS) of tube-launched, optically tracked, wireless-guided (TOW) missiles to be supplied by Raytheon Company in a deal valued at approximately $750 million.

Raytheon plans to deliver nearly 14,000 TOW missiles to the customer over a three-year period beginning in 2015.

A resulting order is expected to be executed by the U.S. government with Raytheon in the coming weeks.

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Oto Melara DART/STRALES 76mm guided ammunition successfully tested

The first lot of DART/STRALES 76mm guided ammunition, produced by OTO Melara, was successfully tested at the end of March.

The firing trials were conducted on board one of the Italian Navy’s ships equipped with Strales 76mm SR and Selex NA25 fire control system.

The firing trials were conducted with quick bursts of fire against fast, manoeuvring and non-manoeuvring, radio controlled targets at low and very low altitude and at a range of more than 5000 metres.

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NATO Eyes Antimissile Gains in Surveillance-Plane Upgrades

E-3A SentryNATO has begun initial deliberations for upgrading the alliance's surveillance-aircraft fleet, with an eye toward improving its missile-defense capabilities.

At issue is the way forward in replacing the alliance-owned Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft—Boeing E-3 Sentry planes commonly known by the acronym AWACS—sometime in the 2030s.

Given the expectation of a long acquisition process for the project, some officials believe that the time is now to begin planning.

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Increasing P-8A Capability

P-8A PoseidonBoeing is testing the first P-8A maritime patrol aircraft to be produced for the U.S. Navy under the third Low Rate Production (LRIP-3) batch, marking the start of a new expansion phase which will see the operational fleet increase to 21 by the end of 2014.

The aircraft, which is due for delivery in June, will join the force around the time that the second operational P-8A patrol squadron, VP-5, is scheduled to deploy.

The first squadron, VP-16, based at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla., has achieved initial operational capability and the third squadron, VP-45, will start its transition from the P-3C later this year after returning from a deployment to the Western Pacific.

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New Growler construction may depend on upcoming Navy exercise

EA-18G GrowlerThe Navy will conduct a battle exercise off the West Coast next month that could help determine whether another 22 more EA-18G Growler aircraft will be built at a Boeing factory in St. Louis.

The Navy’s Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group will conduct three days of exercises to see whether seven or eight Growlers on an aircraft carrier — rather than the five currently assigned — would provide better support for attacks from fighter jets and ground forces.

A Navy vice admiral said that paper analysis indicated the higher number was more effective and that exercises off the Carl Vinson would be conducted to verify it.

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RAF sees off Russian ‘Bears’ as fears rise over Ukraine

Eurofighter Typhoon & Tu-95 BearThe Typhoons were sent up to investigate after radar detected two large aircraft.

The Tupolev Tu-95 “Bears” were nearing UK airspace off the north-east coast but were picked up well out by the fighters.

Ministry of Defence officials said the incident was routine. There were eight similar contacts last year.

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China's aircraft carrier Liaoning will undergo its first interim maintenance

LiaoningChina's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, returned to Dalian Shipyard dock to undergo its first interim service on April, 17, 2014.

Experts predicted that the service will last for six months; comprehensive overhaul and maintenance will be conducted on the power, weapons, and other systems.

Complex weapon systems require regular maintenance, and aircraft personnel also need to be trained and rest to maintain combat effectiveness.

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Punching above military weight

Prime Minister Tony AbbottOne of the least reported developments of Prime Minister Tony Abbott's visit to China this month may also be one of the most significant: Australia's ambitions to work in military harmony with the region's biggest and fastest-growing power.

Abbott took this even a step further, raising the possibility of acting as a broker between China and the United States to develop joint exercises involving the three countries in Australia's north, where a rotating US Marine task force already operates.

Australia wants to build on its existing high-level and exchanges to broaden co-operation in a bid to ease tensions between the great powers. "We will have exchanges and exercises between our respective militaries and also multilateral exercises," he said.

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Flying Car’s Maiden Flight

Black Knight TransformerAdvanced Tactics Inc. announced that it has successfully completed the first flight test of the Black Knight Transformer, a modular and roadable vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft.

According to sUAS the AT Transformer technology combines the capabilities of a helicopter, such as the ability to take off and land anywhere, with the capabilities of an off-road automobile.

The AT Black Knight Transformer completed driving tests in December 2013 and completed its first flight tests in March 2014. The aircraft has a maximum takeoff weight of 4,400 lb.

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Navy cruisers go into 'laid up' status at Pearl Harbor

USS Port RoyalA 20-year-old guided-missile cruiser will join two other ships in “laid up” status at Pearl Harbor.

The USS Port Royal, along with the USS Lake Erie and the USS Chosin, is among 11 Navy cruisers that will be placed on reduced operating status while they are modernized, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Monday.

The Navy has attempted to retire the Port Royal, the newest guided-missile cruiser in the Ticonderoga class, since it grounded in 2009 off Honolulu Airport’s Reef Runway, but Congress has resisted the move.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Russia Shows Off World-Leading Security Bots for Missile Bases

The new Russian mobile security robot Taifun-M, designed to provide security at strategic missile facilities, has been shown on the Russian Vesti news program.

The combat robots, which have no foreign analogue, will be used to secure Yars and Topol-M missile sites and can be operated remotely by a secure wireless connection and in the future with an autonomous artificial intelligence system, the program reported Monday.

A spokesman for the Defense Ministry said last month several of the robots, which feature laser-targeting and a cannon, will be deployed at five sites by the end of the year, part of an upgrade of existing automated security systems.

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Pakistan test-fires nuke-capable missile

Pakistan's military says it has successfully test-fired a short-range missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

The military said in a statement that the missile codenamed 'Ghaznavi' was launched from an undisclosed location on Tuesday and has a range of 290 kilometers.

Army spokesman Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa also said the test was conducted during a field training exercise supervised by top military commanders.

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US Lifts Freeze, Will Deliver Apache Choppers to Egypt

AH-64 ApacheThe United States will lift a suspension on the delivery of Apache helicopters to Egypt after concluding Cairo has upheld its peace treaty with Israel, US officials said Tuesday.

Despite concerns about Egypt's failure to embrace democratic reforms following the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi, the US government will provide Cairo with 10 Apache aircraft, officials said.

Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel informed Egyptian Defense Minister General Sedki Sobhy of President Barack Obama's decision in a phone call Tuesday, his spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement.

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Egypt interested in buying 24 MiG-35s from Russia

MiG-35 FulcrumRussia has acknowledged an Egyptian request to procure a squadron of MiG-35 advanced fighter aircraft, to include up to 24 fighter jets at a cost of US$3 billion.

The fulfilment of this package could be delayed though, as this specific type of aircraft hasn’t reached a production stage.

The manufacturer, Russian Aircraft Corporation (UAC) through its subsidiary Russian Aircraft Corp (RAC) has failed to gain international orders for the aircraft and is currently awaiting an initial order from the Russian Air Force to kickstart production by 2016.

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U.S. conducts spy flight over Russia

Tu-214RAfter a tit-for-tat series of delays, the United States conducted an Open Skies Treaty intelligence flight over Russian territory on Monday, a State Department official said.

The spy flight originally was scheduled for April 14 but was canceled by Russia after a U.S. team for the flight failed to arrive near Moscow on time and Moscow refused temporarily to reschedule it.

A Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman also expressed anger on Monday over U.S. delays in certifying a new high-tech Russian aircraft to be used for spying missions over the United States under the Open Skies Treaty that permits limited legal spying over U.S. and Russian territory.

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Morocco Receives Three Fighter Jets from France

Mirage F1Boosting the military corporation between the two strategic partners, France put three Mirage F1- B jet fighters in the service of the Moroccan Royal Air Force after the French Air Force tested them.

Moroccan pilots will deploy the old fighter aircrafts in Royal Air Force exercises, according to Almassa.

According to the same source, the distinctive single-engine fighters were handed to the Moroccan army after Dassault Aviation, the manufacturing company, improved the fighter’s traditional delta wing design in order to facilitate the ability to use rudimentary runways.

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‘Shoot ‘Em if You Got ‘Em’: Adrenaline-Filled Navy Video Goes Viral

The VFA-27 Royal Maces, based at Naval Air Facility Atsugi in Japan, recorded the in-cockpit F/A18-E footage over a number of locations in the Pacific theater, including some dramatic footage of the jets banking and turning over the Japanese Alps.

The video, appropriately titled “Shoot ‘Em if You Got ‘Em,” has more than 175,000 hits since it was uploaded over the weekend.

“It’s fun to look back and see all the things you’ve done in the last year and remember the good side of all of it, especially as we’ve traveled around spreading goodwill in the Asia Pacific region,” Lt. David Tarr, the squadron assistant operations officer, told TheBlaze.

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Asia-Pacific navies sign communication agreement

The Qingdao symposiumNaval officials from the U.S. and two dozen Asia-Pacific nations adopted an agreement Tuesday aimed at improving communication at sea to reduce the possibility of conflict amid rising friction between an increasingly assertive China and its neighbors.

The Code For Unplanned Encounters at Sea provides simple standardized phrases such as "alpha" meaning divers are in surrounding waters that navies can use when they come across ships from other countries.

It's hoped the code will lessen the possibility of collisions or misunderstandings that could lead to conflict in the heavily trafficked sea lanes surrounding China, Japan and Southeast Asia.

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US navy frigate returns to the Black Sea

USS TaylorThe US Navy frigate the USS Taylor has passed through the Dardanelles Strait, returning to the Black Sea after repairs and a few days after Nato said that it was increasing its presence on sea, air and land after Russia’s continuing interference in Ukraine.

The Taylor was in the Black Sea area earlier, at the time of the Sochi Olympics in February 2014, when she ran aground in an incident that caused the captain his command.

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov has accused the United States of violating the Montreux Convention which limits the number of vessels in the Black Sea.

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Lockheed says costly for Pentagon if it cancels MH-60 helicopters

MH-60R SeahawkLockheed Martin Corp warned on Tuesday that the U.S. Navy's plan to cancel an order for 29 MH-60 helicopters built by Lockheed and Sikorsky Aircraft would result in large termination fees because they are part of five-year agreements signed in 2012.

Lockheed Chief Financial Officer Bruce Tanner told reporters that work had already begun on cockpits and other equipment for the helicopters, which were to be ordered in fiscal year 2016, and a better option might be to finish building the aircraft and then sell them to allies.

"That would probably be a better deal for the taxpayer than paying close to 100 percent and not getting anything for it," he said. "The cost to terminate partially built helicopters is pretty significant relative to the cost to actually finish those helicopters."

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