DTN News: Malaysia Won't Cancel Order for 4 A400M Airbus Transport Aircrafts, But Delivery To Be Delayed
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - November 7, 2009: Malaysia's order for four Airbus A400M military planes will proceed but delivery will be delayed by at least three years to 2016, a senior official said Nov. 6.
The A400M is an all new military airlifter designed to meet the needs of the world’s Armed Forces in the 21st Century.The European aircraft manufacturer suffered a major blow Nov. 5 as South Africa cancelled a multi-billion dollar contract to buy eight aircraft because of delays and a huge cost rise.
South Africa and Malaysia were the only non-European orders for the A400M. Malaysia placed its order in 2005 for four planes originally due to be delivered in 2013.
"There is no cancellation, the deal is still on but delivery will be delayed by three or four years," a senior defense ministry official said.
"The delay is due to the delivery issue, it is not our problem. It is our commitment to boost our existing fleet," added the official, who declined to be named.
Details on how much Malaysia would pay for the planes were not revealed at the time, and the defense official could not specify the cost Nov. 6.
The A400M has been bedeviled by cost overruns and delivery delays over its massive turbo-prop engines. The entire 20 billion euro ($28 billion) project was put in doubt at one point.
The first planes were to have been delivered at the end of this year, but the program is running at least three years late.
In canceling the order, South African government spokesman Themba Maseko said that "the cost escalation would have placed an unaffordable burden on the taxpayer" in an economic downturn.
He said the cost skyrocketed from $1.2 billion when the contract for the A400M was agreed five years ago to $6.1 billion now.
A total of 180 of the aircraft have been ordered by seven NATO nations: 60 for Germany, 50 for France, 27 for Spain, 25 for Britain, 10 for Turkey, seven for Belgium and one for Luxembourg.
In July, seven European countries agreed to renegotiate their contract to buy the aircraft by the end of the year, thereby providing a lifeline.
DTN News: Thailand Outlines Plan For Indigenous UAV Family / Thailand To Develop Homegrown UAVs For Air Force
*Source: DTN News / Defense Media
(NSI News Source Info) BANGKOK, Thailand - November 7, 2009: Thailand's Ministry of Defence is to launch a programme to design and manufacture a squadron of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) for the Royal Thai Air Force.
The project will be implemented in three phases. "Aerial reconnaissance plays the most important role in data collection for commander decisions, and has a major impact in a mission's success," it says. "To deploy aircraft, pilots and crew over dangerous conflict areas is a risky and costly operation. Modern and advanced UAV technology will help to reduce that risk and cost." The ministry adds that "UAV procurement, together with research work, will help prepare for mission and personnel readiness. This will also help acquire the technology to help the Royal Thai Air Force to establish a UAV squadron." There are three objectives to the UAV programme, the ministry says. The first is to buy and develop smaller UAVs and associated equipment. Next, it wants to begin research and development into medium and large UAVs. Finally, it aims to reduce its dependence on imports by having an indigenous capability.
In the first phase small UAVs will be acquired and developed, moving on to medium and large unmanned systems in the second phase and finally the ability to produce UAVs domestically will reduce or elimintate the need for imports.
In the small UAV category, the nation plans to build aircraft capable of flying on 1.5-hour missions over a distance of 15km and up to an altitude of 1,220m at 55km/h with a payload of 5kg.
The medium version will be able to fly for 2.5 hours or 30km, up to 1,524m at a speed of 93km/h with a 10kg payload.
The larger systems will be able to endure a six-hour flight or 100km mission at an altitude of 3,048m at 111km/h, with a payload of 25kg.
According to the defence ministry, the modern and advanced UAVs will aid in reconnaissance missions, eliminate the risk of deploying piloted aircraft over conflict areas and save costs.
DTN News: Britain TODAY November 7, 2009 ~ Armed Forces Reputation Is At Risk In Afghanistan, MoD Chiefs Warn
*Source: DTN News / The Times UK, by Michael Evans and Philip Webster
(NSI News Source Info) LONDON, UK - November 7, 2009: The long-term future and reputation of Britain’s Armed Forces is at risk unless progress is made in Afghanistan, the two most senior officials at the Ministry of Defence warn in an internal document seen by The Times.Afghan soldiers are put through training exercises under the supervision of British troops at Ghar Ordoo military base, on October 13, 2009 in Herat, Herat province west of Kabul, Afghanistan. Foreign NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops across 42 countries are involved in training Afghan National Forces in the fight against the Taliban insurgency.
The pronouncement by Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, the Chief of the Defence Staff, and Sir Bill Jeffrey, the Permanent Secretary, leaves no room for the possibility of early withdrawal from Afghanistan. “Planning within Defence should be based on the assumption of a rolling three-year military commitment to Afghanistan, reviewed annually,” they say in a jointly signed document circulated as guidance to MoD staff preparing for next year’s defence review.
Their unequivocal statement of commitment appeared out of step with a more conditional speech on Afghanistan given by Gordon Brown yesterday. He was accused by the Opposition of sending out mixed messages and making empty threats after warning President Karzai, the Afghan leader, that he was not prepared to put the lives of soldiers “in harm’s way” for a government that did not stand up to corruption.
Mr Brown emphasised the importance of keeping the international alliance together in Afghanistan but then said: “We will succeed or fail together.” While insisting that British troops must stay, he said he had told President Karzai that he would forfeit the right to international support if he failed to root out corruption and improve his governance of the country.
Downing Street said Mr Brown’s words did not mean that British troops would be withdrawn if Mr Karzai failed. But they were a warning that the West’s patience with him was limited and that personal backing would be withdrawn if he did not meet the tests being set by Mr Brown and President Obama.
The internal MoD document, entitled Strategy for Defence, makes it clear that as far as the Armed Forces are concerned, the mission in Afghanistan has to succeed. “The International Security Assistance Force mission is of critical importance to the security of British citizens and the UK’s national interest, including the credibility of Nato, and to the reputation and long-term future of the Armed Forces,” the document says.
There are already concerns within the military that the premature British troop withdrawal from Basra in 2007 and the pullout from Iraq in July may have tarnished Britain’s reputation in the eyes of the American military.
Liam Fox, Shadow Defence Secretary, accused Mr Brown of giving out mixed messages and making empty threats: “We must put pressure on the Karzai Government to improve governance and tackle corruption, but if our mission in Afghanistan is a national security imperative, it can’t be conditional on the behaviour of others.”
In phone calls with Mr Brown since his re-election, Mr Karzai accepted the need for action on five key areas: security, governance, reconciliation, economic development and engagement with its neighbours. It is expected that the Afghan President will set out his plans to meet these goals in his inauguration speech on November 19.
Meanwhile, the soldier killed by an explosion in Sangin in central Helmand on Thursday was named as Serjeant Phillip Scott, 30, of the 3rd Battalion The Rifles.
DTN News: Royal Saudi Air Force RSAF Continued Air Attacks Kill 40 Houthis*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) SANA'A, Yemen - November 7, 2009: More than forty Yemeni Houthis fighters have been killed in the fresh Saudi Arabia's air attacks on the northern Yemen fighters holding territory in the border region. The fighters were killed in the remote mountainous regions of Malahit and Maran in Saada province.
F-15 warplanes of the Saudi Air Force fly over the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh during a graduation ceremony at King Faisal Air Force University. According to Arab diplomats speaking on condition of anonymity, Saudi Arabian Tornado and F-15 warplanes have bombarded targets inside Yemen since Wednesday afternoon, inflicting significant casualties on the Yemeni Shiite rebels.
The Saudi military said the attacks were in response to an earlier confrontation between Shia fighters and Saudi security forces that killed two Saudi security men.
Houthi fighters on November 3 attacked a border patrol on the brink of Yemen-Saudi Arabia border, killing two Saudi guards and wounding 10 others. Six Saudi border guard vehicles were also destroyed in the attack.
The combatants had warned a day earlier that they would retaliate against Saudi Arabia after accusing Riyadh of permitting Yemeni government troops to launch attacks against them from a Saudi security installation in Jabal al-Dukhan.
The conflict between the Houthi fighters and the Yemeni government began in 2004, but intensified last August when government forces stepped up the pressure against the fighters.
An F-15 warplane of the Saudi Air Force flies over the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh during a graduation ceremony at King Faisal Air Force University. According to Arab diplomats speaking on condition of anonymity, Saudi Arabian Tornado and F-15 warplanes have bombarded targets inside Yemen since Wednesday afternoon Nov 4, 2009, inflicting significant casualties on the Yemeni Shiite rebels.
Sana'a launched a military offensive codenamed Operation Scorched Earth against the Houthi fighters who say they have been defending their people against the government. Houthis say Sana'a has been marginalizing them economically and politically.
The offensive has killed thousands of people and displaced at least tens of thousands, according to the Red Cross and United Nations.
DTN News: China Air Force Looks To High-Tech Future On 60th Anniversary, But Still Lags Far Behind US*Source: DTN News / CHRISTOPHER BODEEN Associated Press Writer
(NSI News Source Info) BEIJING, China - November 7, 2009: China's rapidly modernizing air force is planning a display of its new military might for its 60th anniversary, showcasing a wide-ranging technical upgrade that has boosted its capabilities, though it still lags far behind its main rival, the United States.China's President Hu Jintao (3rd L) and top Chinese military leaders (behind Hu) shake hands with foreign air force generals after a group meeting ahead of the 60th anniversary of China's People's Liberation Army Air Force, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing November 6, 2009. China's foreign ministry insisted on Thursday that the country's intentions in space were peaceful, after comments from top air force brass preparing to celebrate a 60th anniversary worried analysts in the United States.
The People's Liberation Army Air Force is marking the occasion this Sunday with an aerial show and skydiving exhibition, using some of the state-of-the-art combat aircraft that have replaced hundreds of antiquated MIG fighters.
While only about 20 percent of those planes are on a level with those deployed by the West, that ratio is already double what it was five years ago, said Cheung Tai Ming, an expert on the Chinese military at the University of California, San Diego.
In another two decades, it could become the region's dominant air force, Cheung said.
"In terms of hardware," he said, China's air force "is making strides but still has long way to go."
China's air force and navy have been prime beneficiaries of huge defense spending increases as the primarily land-based, defensively oriented military boosts its ability to project force far from the nation's borders.J-7GB fighter jet aerobatic team of China Air Force performs a manoeuvre during a rehearsal for the upcoming 60th anniversary of the founding of China Air Force near an airport on the outskirts of Beijing, November 3, 2009. China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) airforce will put its most advanced warplanes on display in the suburbs of Beijing in November, to mark the 60th founding anniversary of the PLA airforce, an airforce officer said. This year marks the 60th founding anniversary of the People's Republic of China, its naval forces on April 23, and its airforce on Nov. 11, Xinhua News Agency reported. Picture taken November 3, 2009.
Tanker planes, AWACS and other support aircraft have been added to extend the reach and effectiveness of the air force's advanced Russian Sukhoi and domestically developed J-10 fighters.
The force has more than 600,000 members and about 2,000 aircraft - making it the largest in Asia - but still far smaller than the United States Air Force fleet, which has more than 5,500 aircraft and nearly 327,500 active service personnel.
The improvements are primarily seen as augmenting the force's key mission of protecting China's borders and preventing formal independence for Taiwan, the self-governing island that Beijing claims as its own territory.
China's air force is largely considered superior to Taiwan's in both quantity and quality, while the 1,300 short and medium range missiles deployed opposite the island could deal severe blows to Taiwanese airfields and anti-aircraft defenses.
Yet planning for any conflict over Taiwan would have to factor in the possibility of intervention by the U.S., which is bound by law to help ensure the island's defense. Under those circumstances, China's air force would very likely be outmatched and outgunned.
The force's key problems include a lack of actual combat experience and outdated training and tactics. Its last combat experience was in the brief 1979 war with Vietnam, in which it played a mainly symbolic role. Other woes include a lack of integration with naval and ground forces, limited surveillance and reconnoissance capabilities, and problems recruiting and retaining pilots.Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force fighter jets are seen during a rehearsal for the PLA Air Force's 60th anniversary celebrations in Beijing, China. The Chinese PLA Air Force will celebrate its 60th anniversary on Nov. 11, 2009.
In addition, China's air force doesn't have enough planes to mount a major airlift of equipment and supplies in either a combat or humanitarian relief operation. Troops taking part in a recent nationwide training exercise flew by commercial jet, and the lack of capacity has frustrated China's aspirations to play a greater regional role in humanitarian relief operations.
While the air force mobilized massively to deal with last year's Sichuan earthquake, bad weather forced the cancellation of several attempts to fly in men and equipment. A much ballyhooed mission to parachute in troops bordered on farce, requiring the better part of two days and resulting in the dropping of a mere 15 soldiers.
Flight safety is another issue. A series of disasters in recent years have led to the firing of some top officers, but intense secrecy surrounding all mishaps makes it difficult to assess the PLAAF's record. Guards seized footage of one recent accident shot by state television, according to the cameraman, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of official retribution.
Sunday's celebration is to include aerial displays by both the force's standby J-7 fighters and the newer J-10, along with men's and women's teams skydiving from helicopters.
The event is the third major military display this year following an international naval review and a national day military parade featuring hundreds of tanks and other armored vehicles.
Beijing insists the events are intended only to boost public pride and confidence in the armed force, although they have also renewed concern abroad about the ultimate aims of China's military expansion.
Such displays "underscore the rise in the country's comprehensive national power and the firm material and technological foundation provided for air force modernization," the force's commander Xu Qiliang told the PLA Daily newspaper in an interview published this week.
DTN News: Afghanistan ~ All Safe And Secure In Taliban Country*Source: Strategy Page
(NSI News Source Info) KOTTAKKAL, Kerala, India - November 7, 2009: Afghanistan, like Iraq, is a place where the enemy will attack your bases. The smaller and more vulnerable your base, the more likely it will be attacked. In this respect, Afghanistan is very much like Iraq, with one exception. The Afghans are much more likely to muster a large force of gunmen and try to take your base by direct assault. Like Iraq, the enemy will use mosques to stockpile weapons and ammunition, and terrorize the civilians, if need be, into keeping quiet about it.Taliban militants stand beside the burnt trucks, background left, on main Ghazni- Kandahar highway in Ghazni, west of Kabul, Afghanistan. Taliban militants set fire to 15 trucks carrying supplies to a military base in eastern Ghazni province, according to local official Sahib Khan. Afghan security guards killed two militants during the fighting.
But this also means that the local civilians will slip away before attack. Bases inside villages and towns thus get a warning from that, if intelligence has not already detected the plan. The Taliban have figured out that the cell phone networks, and any other kind of wireless communications, is being listened to by the Americans. But there are other things the Americans keep an eye in. Thus it's been difficult for the Taliban to pull off too many of these attacks, and none have succeeded. But it's not for want of trying, and foreign troops have to be alert to attempts. The Taliban also learn, even when they call off an attack because they sense that the foreign troops are too alert, or seem to have detected the preparations. Ideally, U.S. troops want to be aware of an attack, and quietly prepare an ambush that will wipe out the Taliban force. That has happened a few times. It's an ongoing battle of wits.
The Taliban also attack bases with rockets (usually the meter long, 15 kilogram/33 pound 107mm models) or mortars. These rarely hit the target, or cause many casualties. But they do annoy the enemy, and encourage them to come out at night to try and catch the teams setting up the rockets or mortars (which have to be within about five kilometers of the base). Troops have found that it's better to try and ambush these teams, rather than just firing back with mortars, gunfire or artillery. The Taliban will endeavor to fire their rockets or mortars from populated areas, in the hope that counterfire will kill civilians and destroy their homes. This makes the locals mad at the foreign troops and easier for the Taliban to control.
If the foreign troops are really on the ball, they will make the surrounding area too dangerous for the Taliban, and there won't be any rocket or mortar attacks. The foreign troops have night vision equipment, and UAVs overhead that can also see in the dark. This puts the Taliban rocket/mortar teams at a disadvantage, and the Taliban will back away from unequal situations like that.
The Taliban will also lay "distant siege" to a remote base, by vigorously attacking supply convoys. The U.S. can respond by delivering supply via helicopter or air drops. But the Taliban know that this makes supply a base more costly, and a marginal base may just be shut down, which the enemy will count as a victory. With so many bases spread over a wide area, the "distant siege" often turns into another game of wits, as the foreign troops have to figure out how and when the Taliban will attack the convoys, and hit the attackers first. If you hit the Taliban hard enough, they go away.
Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information supplied herein, DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. Unless otherwise indicated, opinions expressed herein are those of the author of the page and do not necessarily represent the corporate views of DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News.
DTN News: Three Australian Firms Get Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Work*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) CANBERRA, Australia - November 6, 2009: Three more Australian firms have been awarded work under the Joint Strike Fighter program, Defence Minister Robert Hill and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources Warren Entsch announced today."The F-35's 5th generation capabilities, including Very Low Observable stealth, integrated sensor fusion, net-enabled operations and advanced sustainment, make it the premiere fighter of the future," said Stephen O’Bryan, vice president of F-35 Business Development and Customer Engagement. "The F-35 is the only multi-role fighter designed for survivability in the highest-threat environments, and it provides superior capability at comparable 4th generation fighter costs."
Victorian-based Marand Precision Engineering Pty Ltd has won an order from Lockheed Martin for the design and manufacture of a JSF engine removal and installation trailer. The trailer is a complex piece of equipment designed to provide a stable platform for the safe installation, removal and maintenance of the multi-million dollar JSF engines.
Marand is Australia’s longest operating privately owned aerospace tooling company, employing about 200 people at its Moorabbin plant. Lockheed Martin has confirmed that Marand is the first company in the world to receive a contract for the design and development of ground support equipment for the JSF.
Calytrix Technologies, a Perth-based training and simulation software firm employing about 10 software engineers, has received an order from Lockheed Martin to develop a global interoperability architecture study for JSF training course materials. The study aims to identify any issues that may impact on JSF simulation interoperability and deployable training systems planning.
Production Parts, a Victorian precision engineering firm employing some 60 people, has been awarded a contract by GE Aircraft Engines for the manufacture of complex aluminium components for the new generation JSF F136 engine which is being jointly developed by GE and Rolls Royce. The engine is one of two being developed for the JSF aircraft.
The GE contract with Production Parts is a significant achievement in that it will allow Australian industry to participate in the development of a state-of-the-art prototype jet engine through the manufacture and supply of components for the first prototype engine.
These orders take to five the number of Australian companies selected to work so far on the 10-year System Development and Demonstration phase of the JSF program.
The series of recent wins by Australian companies demonstrates the benefits of the strategic partnerships that have formed between the Government and industry to secure JSF contracts.
It is a real achievement for small Australian private firms to be able to compete against international competition and win work on such a large multi-national military project. While not large contracts in themselves, they are a significant breakthrough in the context of such a major global project.
It is encouraging to see the Australian aerospace industry starting to see the benefits of the Government’s decision to invest in the JSF program. However, JSF is a tough international program and Australian firms will need to continue offering 'best value' solutions to Lockheed Martin and its partners.
Ongoing involvement in this early phase of the program will help to build a competitive and sustainable aerospace industry base in Australia and will go a long way in helping Australian companies win contracts in subsequent production phases of the program.
DTN News: India Seeks To Bolster Transport With 10 C-17s Heavy-Lift Globemaster Aircraft / Indian Air Force To Acquire 10 C-17 Globemaster III Heavy-Lift Aircraft*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI, India - November 6, 2009: The Indian Defence Ministry is negotiating the purchase of C-17 heavy-lift Globemaster aircraft from the United States through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route, say ministry sources.The Indian Air Force is planning to acquire ten Boeing C-17 Globemaster III to fulfil its need for very-heavy-lift transport aircraft (VHTAC). The IAF will be able to carry large equipment including tanks, supplies and troops weighing up to 70t directly to small airfields in harsh terrain in the C-17s. The aircraft can fly a crew of two pilots, one loadmaster and two observers. The airlifter will enable the aircrew to fly on long-distance missions and refuel in-air and use it as an aerial ambulance. The air force can fly the Globemaster III with one joystick, like a fighter jet, enabling quick take-offs at steep angles and giving it flexibility in the war zone. At present, India has fewer than 20 heavy-lift IL-76 aircraft purchased in the 1980s that are not suited for high-demand tasks. IAF is also planning flight trials for the six medium multirole combat aircraft (MMRCAs) between July 2009 and March 2010.*
India is negotiating a $1.7 billion deal to purchase 10 Boeing-made C-17 Globemasters. (Senior Airman Laura Turner / U.S. Air Force) The U.S. Air Force flew the Globemaster in a joint air exercise between the air forces of the two countries held in India Oct. 19-23 at Agra to let the Indian military familiarize itself with the transport craft, said a senior Indian Air Force official.
India is negotiating the purchase of 10 C-17 aircraft made by U.S.-based Boeing, disregarding the Russian IL-76 transport even though the American aircraft is three times costlier, Defence Ministry sources said. The C-17's advantages include its easier handling (compared with the IL-76) and ability to operate from short and rough airstrips, added the sources.
The $1.7 billion deal, likely to be finalized by early 2010, would be Boeing's second-largest deal with India since New Delhi signed a $2.1 billion agreement in January to purchase eight P-8 maritime patrol aircraft.
The Indian military needs to do three things: augment its ability to quickly lift larger numbers of troops as it views possible threats on its border with China; strengthen its presence on the Pakistani border; and fight terrorism and low-intensity warfare, said a senior Defence Ministry official.
India needs to triple its lift capacity, said the official.
India already has contracted for six C-130J aircraft from the United States, the delivery of which is expected to begin by 2011.
The Air Force's current fixed-wing transport fleet comprises 40 Russian-made IL-76 and more than 100 AN-32s, which are being upgraded by Ukraine, and the U.S.-made C-130J transport aircraft.
In addition, the Indian Defence Forces are buying about 800 rotary-wing assets in the next seven years.
In July, India signed a $400 million contract with Ukrainian military export agency Ukrspetsexport to upgrade 100 Soviet-built AN-32 cargo aircraft for the Indian Air Force.