Saturday, September 19, 2009

DTN News: Sweden Sweetens Offer In Bid To Win Brazil Fighter Jet Deal

DTN News: Sweden Sweetens Offer In Bid To Win Brazil Fighter Jet Deal *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) BRASÍLIA, Brazil - September 19, 2009: Sweden has sweetened its bid for a lucrative contract to sell 36 fighter jets to Brazil, promising that 40 percent of the supersonic Gripen aircraft would be built in Brazil, officials said Thursday. Saab 39 Gripen Features ~ In designing the aircraft, several layouts were studied. Saab ultimately selected an unstable canard design. The canard configuration gives a high onset of pitch rate and low drag, enabling the aircraft to be faster, have longer range and carry a larger payload.The combination of delta wing and canards gives the Gripen significantly better takeoff and landing performance and flying characteristics. The totally integrated avionics make it a "programmable" aircraft. It also has a built-in electronic warfare unit, making it possible to load more ordnance onto the aircraft without losing self defence capabilities.The Gripen affords more flexibility than earlier generations of combat aircraft used by Sweden, and its operating costs are about two thirds of those for JA 37 Viggen.In the Swedish Air Force's list of requirements was the ability to operate from 800 m runways. Early on in the programme, all flights from Saab's facility in Linkeping were flown from within a 9 m x 800 m outline painted on the runway. Stopping distance was reduced by extending the relatively large air brakes; using the control surfaces to push the aircraft down, enabling the wheel brakes to apply more force and tilting the canards forwards, making them into large air brakes and further pushing the aircraft down.The Gripen uses the modern PS-05/A pulse-doppler X-band radar, developed by Ericsson and GEC-Marconi, and based on the latter's advanced Blue Vixen radar for the Sea Harrier (which inspired the Eurofighter's CAPTOR radar as well).* The offer came on top of a promise that Brazil would have full access to the technology used in the state-of-the-art military aircraft. A similar offer helped give France front-runner status in high-stakes bidding for the coveted fighter jet contract, valued at four to seven billion dollars. "The Swedish government and the SAAB motor company are 100 percent committed to making the technology transfer," Swedish State Secretary for Defense Hakan Jevrell said at a press conference, accompanied by a Saab representative. "There will be no restriction in the transfer of technology." Jevrell said that in addition to the technology, Sweden would offer Brazil "a very competitive price" for the fighter jets. The sweetener offered by Stockholm is the latest from one of three major aerospace powers -- France, Sweden and the United States -- jostling to win the coveted fighter jet contract, as Brazil seeks to modernize its air force in a bid to become Latin America's preeminent military power. French manufacturer Dassault appears to have a lock on the contract: Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and French President Nicolas Sarkozy last week issued a joint statement opening Brazil's official negotiations to buy 36 of Dassault's Rafale jets without, however, ending the tender process. The Swedish offer is in line with requirements laid out by President Lula, who said he wants to secure technology transfers and build the planes in Brazil. Dassault, fielding its high-tech Rafale fighter, had been seen as the leading contender because of its guarantee to share all technology with Brazil. "The air force has the technological know-how to make the evaluation, and it will do so," he added. "But the decision is political and strategic, and it's up to the president of the republic and no one else," Lula said recently. Brazil has set a September 21 deadline for the contenders to finalize their bids.

DTN News: Boeing Delivers 12-Nation Strategic Airlift Capability's 2nd C-17 Globemaster III

DTN News: Boeing Delivers 12-Nation Strategic Airlift Capability's 2nd C-17 Globemaster III *Source: DTN News / Boeing
(NSI News Source Info) LONG BEACH, Calif., - September 19, 2009: The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] today delivered to the NATO Airlift Management Organization (NAMO) a second C-17 Globemaster III that will support NAMO's 12-nation Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC) initiative. The delivery took place at Boeing's final assembly facility in Long Beach. A Boeing team based at Papa provides support for the SAC C-17s, including material management and depot maintenance support, under Boeing Global Services & Support's C-17 Globemaster III Sustainment Partnership. The advanced airlifter, known as SAC 02, is the second of three C-17s that will be assigned to SAC's Heavy Airlift Wing (HAW) in western Hungary this year and will support International Security Assistance Force operations in Afghanistan as well as the airlift requirements of SAC member nations. Boeing will deliver SAC 03 in early October. "Delivery of SAC 02 is a tremendous milestone, achieved in less than three years," said Bogdan Horvat, Chairman, NAMO board of directors. "I congratulate all of the participating nations, the Heavy Airlift Wing, NAMO, and the Boeing team that built such a tremendous airlifter." The SAC group includes 10 NATO nations -- Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, United States -- and Partnership for Peace members Sweden and Finland. They will share acquisition and operating costs for the fleet of three C-17s over a nearly 30-year agreement. SAC's approach to shared use of the strategic airlifter is regarded as a model for the pooled acquisition and management of defense capabilities. "This effort symbolizes solidarity at its best -- 12 nations demonstrating what can be accomplished when they pool resources and goodwill to collectively serve those in need around the world," said Gunnar Borch, General Manager of the NATO Airlift Management Agency (NAMA), the executive body of NAMO. "This is on display here today in Long Beach and at Pápa Air Base in Hungary, where multinational forces are working side-by-side to support the SAC mission and one another." NAMA is responsible for the acquisition, day-to-day management, and support of the C-17 fleet on behalf of NATO and all participating SAC nations. The HAW is operated by multinational crews from the 12 participating nations. "Every day, on the flight line at Pápa Air Base, I have the privilege of seeing the men and women from the SAC nations serving together -- their teamwork on display, their sense of purpose clear, their commitment to serving those in need unwavering," said Col. Fredrik Héden, deputy wing commander, HAW. "The 12-nation mix of NATO and Partnership for Peace nations found it possible to work together to make SAC a reality, and because of that we are now prepared to meet today's humanitarian needs and security challenges." A Boeing team based at Pápa provides support for the SAC C-17s, including material management and depot maintenance support, under Boeing Global Services & Support’s C-17 Globemaster III Sustainment Partnership. "Boeing is so proud to be a part of this effort," Jean Chamberlin, Boeing vice president and general manager, Global Mobility Systems, said to the customer representatives at the delivery ceremony. "You will continue to have our support, wherever and whenever you need us." A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world's largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $32 billion business with 70,000 employees worldwide.

DTN News: Russia Could Scrap Baltic Missile Plans Following U.S. Move

DTN News: Russia Could Scrap Baltic Missile Plans Following U.S. Move *Source: DTN News / RIA Novosti
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - September 19, 2009: Russia could abandon plans to deploy tactical missiles in its Baltic exclave in response to the U.S. decision to drop its missile shield plans for Central Europe, a high-ranking military source said on Friday. U.S. President Barack Obama announced on Thursday that Washington would not deploy missile defense elements in the Czech Republic and Poland, due to a re-assessment of the threat from Iran. "In response to the U.S. intention to drop its missile shield plans in Europe, the Russian General Staff could decide not to deploy a reinforced group of Iskander missiles in the country's west [Kaliningrad Region]," the source told RIA Novosti. The George W. Bush administration sought to deploy a radar station in the Czech Republic and interceptor missiles in Poland as defense against potential strikes from Iran. Russia consistently opposed the plans as a threat to its security and the strategic balance of forces in Europe. In response to Bush administration's plans, President Dmitry Medvedev said last November that Russia would deploy Iskander-M missiles in Kaliningrad, which borders NATO members Poland and Lithuania, if the shield was put into operation.

DTN News: Indian Navy Launches Stealth Destroyer INS Kochi

DTN News: Indian Navy Launches Stealth Destroyer INS Kochi *Source: DTN News / Indian Defense News
(NSI News Source Info) MUMBAI, India - September 19, 2009: The Indian Navy just got more muscle for its already capable fleet, by inducting India’s second indigenously designed Delhi-class stealth destroyer INS Kochi. The destroyer, named after the South Indian coastal city of Kochi, was launched from Mazagaon Docks in Goa and christened by Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma’s wife Madhulika Verma. (Image: INS Kochi)
The 6500-tonne warship was the second destroyer developed under the Rs. 8459 crore ( ~ $1.75 billion ) ’Project 15-A’ under which three guided-missile destroyers with stealth and a multi-role features will be built. Under this same project, Mazagaon docks had earlier launched the INS Kolkata back in 2006. The Kolkata series is the stealth version of the Delhi-class destroyers. According to the Navy spokesperson, INS Kochi will have advanced stealth features that will make it less detectable on enemy radar and will have a state-of-the-art weapon system which includes the Indo-Russian ‘BrahMos’ surface-to-surface supersonic cruise missiles. It will also be armed with Israeli ‘Barak’ Long Range SAMs and ‘MFStar’ multi-functional radar for getting accurate information on surface and air targets. The ship will also have close-range combat capability with four AK-630 rapid-fire guns and a medium range gun, as well as twin-tube torperdo launchers and ASW ( Anti-Submarine Warfare) rocket launchers. The shape of the ship avoids vertical surfaces, which would perfectly reflect any radar beams directly back to the emitter. Retro-reflective right angles are eliminated to avoid causing the cat’s eye effect. A stealthy ship shape is achieved by constructing the hull and superstructure with a series of slightly protruding and retruding surfaces. The destroyer will be capable of carrying two multi-role helicopters onboard adding to its ASW capability and would be able to attain a maximum speed of 30 knots. After test runs, the INS Kochi will be inducted into the Navy in 2011.

DTN News: Israel Assembles Advanced Missile Defense Systems

DTN News: Israel Assembles Advanced Missile Defense Systems *Source: DTN News / Defense News (Click here for link)
(NSI News Source Info) ASHKELON, Israel - September 19, 2009: As Israel pushes for international action against Iran's nuclear program, it is steadily assembling one of the world's most advanced missile defense systems, a multilayered collection of weapons meant to guard against everything from the shorter-range Grads that have been used to strike Israeli towns such as this one to intercontinental rockets. Israel is making progress on the lowest level of its four-tiered anti-missile system. This tier is dubbed Iron Dome. The other elements of the system for countering ballistic threats are on the second level David’s Sling on which I reported earlier and Patriot missile batteries. The air force is currently considering upgrading the batteries to the newer PAC-3 model. Israel has a number of U.S.-supplied Patriot PAC-3 left over from the 2003 Iraq war. Levels three and four will be made up by Arrow and Arrow 2 systems, respectively. The effort, partly financed by the United States and incorporating advanced U.S. radar and other technology, has been progressing quietly for two decades but now has reached a level of maturity that Israeli defense and other analysts say could begin changing strategic decisions in the region. Centered on the already-deployed Arrow 2 antimissile system, it is being extended to include a longer-range Arrow 3, the David's Sling rocket designed to hit lower- and slower-flying cruise missiles, and the Iron Dome system intended to destroy Grads, Katyushas, Qassams and other shorter-range projectiles fired from the Gaza Strip and southern Lebanon. With the Arrow system in operation and the Iron Dome due for deployment next year, Israel "has something to stabilize the situation: the knowledge that an attack will fail," said Uzi Rubin, a private defense consultant who ran Israel's missile defense program in the 1990s. Iran, he said, could not be assured of a successful first strike against Israel, while groups such as Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon may find one of their favored tactics undermined. Advances in Iran's rocket technology, coupled with its ongoing nuclear program, are chief concerns of the United States and Europe, as well as of Israel and other Middle Eastern countries. Alongside diplomatic efforts to convince Iran to curb its nuclear research, missile defense programs have been designed with Iran explicitly in mind. The Obama administration this week decided to scrap a Bush-era plan to deploy a longer-range antimissile system in the Czech Republic and Poland, and said it would move toward a more intermediate system that better matches its assessment of what Iran can do. In Israel, the issue is considered one of the country's highest foreign-policy priorities. There have been varying Israeli assessments about Iran's progress toward a nuclear weapon: Although the head of the Mossad intelligence agency told a Knesset committee this summer that Iran may be five years away from acquiring a bomb, the head of military intelligence has said it could happen by the end of the year. But Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu takes it as an imminent threat. Iran's program "is something that threatens Israel and threatens the region and threatens the peace of the world," Netanyahu said during a recent visit to Germany. "There is not much time." A recent unannounced trip by Netanyahu to Russia was thought by some analysts here to be linked with the broad set of issues surrounding Iran, including Russia's possible sale of advanced antiaircraft missiles to the country and the likelihood that Israel will strike Iran's nuclear facilities if the United States and Europe cannot find another solution. The steady growth of the country's missile defenses also sheds a different light on Israel's military doctrine and sense of vulnerability. Defense Minister Ehud Barak said this week that he did not consider Iran's nuclear program an "existential issue" because "Israel is strong." Part of that strength lies in its own nuclear capabilities -- never acknowledged but widely presumed to exist -- and part lies in the assumption that the United States would stand behind the country if it came under attack. But it also rests in the calculation that enough of the country's air bases and other military facilities would survive a first strike that it would be able to effectively retaliate. The sort of deterrence -- guaranteed retaliation -- that the United States and Russia once achieved by deploying nuclear warheads in submarines and keeping bombers aloft is what Israel is striving for through its antimissile systems. Iran "is radical, but radical does not mean irrational," said Rubin, the private defense consultant. "They want to change the world, not commit suicide." The program has its origins in the 1980s and concern about Syria's suspected acquisition of chemical weapons. It took on added urgency in the Persian Gulf War, when nearly 40 Iraqi scud missiles hit the Tel Aviv area. The Arrow was deployed in 2000, and since then Israel and the United States have conducted a biennial joint missile defense exercise, called Juniper Cobra, to work on integrating the weapons, radar and other systems of the two countries. Israel, for example, now has the advanced U.S. X-Band radar stationed in the Negev desert. Israeli defense industry officials say the country also has virtually real-time access to some U.S. satellite data, an important piece of its early-warning system. The next joint exercise is scheduled for October. As concern shifted to the threat of long-range missiles from Iran -- the countries lie a little more than 700 miles from each other at the closest point, well within the known range of Iranian rockets -- it also focused on the shorter-range weapons that Hezbollah and Hamas have turned on Israel in the past few years. The barrages fired by Hezbollah at northern Israel during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon war led officials to accelerate work on a short-range defense system, as did recent Grad strikes against Ashkelon, a Mediterranean city of more than 122,000 and site of major electricity, desalinization and other facilities. As it stands, "we have no defenses, no shelters, no public buildings being protected," said Alan Marcus, the city's director of strategic planning and architect of a response plan developed to cope with some 80 missile strikes since 2006. "What do we do? Close the beach and tell people there might be a missile attack?" Beginning next year, Israeli defense officials say, the Iron Dome system should provide some relief. The mobile launchers initially will be placed around towns and facilities near the Gaza Strip but may ultimately be deployed throughout the country. The system is not without controversy. It has not, for example, proved effective against mortars and could leave the towns closest to the border areas vulnerable, including such chief targets as Sderot. Critics have pushed for other systems, including a chemical laser that Israel was jointly developing with the United States, or the rapid-fire Phalanx guns that can be used to protect important facilities such as power plants. There is also concern that groups such as Hamas could try to overwhelm the system by firing large barrages of comparatively cheap, homemade Qassams, perhaps not expecting to do damage so much as forcing Israel to spend tens of thousands of dollars a shot to knock them down. But Israeli officials say they see systems like Iron Dome as crucial to the country's military planning, both by preventing damage and diminishing the need to retaliate. Though many of the rockets fired by Hamas and Hezbollah land on empty ground, "one of these times one of the Qassams will hit a bus, and then the government will have to make a decision" about how to react, said Israel Defense Ministry spokesman Shlomo Dror. "There is a bigger issue here than how much it costs. It is going to give us some answers."

DTN News: U.S. Navy Brings Forward F-35 Operation Date

DTN News: U.S. Navy Brings Forward F-35 Operation Date
*Source: DTN News / Defense News (Click here for link) (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON, USA - September 19, 2009: The U.S. Navy said it planned to deploy the carrier-based version of Lockheed Martin Corp's (LMT.N) F-35 fighter six months earlier than previously planned.
US Navy carrier operations account for most of the differences between the F-35C and the other JSF variants. The aircraft has larger wing and tail control surfaces to better manage low-speed carrier approaches. The F-35C has an increased-capacity structure for absorbing catapult launches and arrested landings. The F-35C carrier-based (CV) variant will complement the US Navy's F/A-18E/Fs and replace F-14s and earlier model F/A-18s.
The decision to bring initial operation forward to the July-September period of 2014 could affect a campaign by Boeing Co (BA.N) to promote further purchases of its F/A-18 aircraft.
"The Navy has moved the initial operating capability date of the F-35C from fiscal year 2015 to the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2014," Navy spokeswoman Lt. Callie Ferrari told Reuters on Thursday.
The U.S. government fiscal year ends Sept. 30."The initial operating capability will be the first time a squadron of F-35Cs will be deployable," Ferrari said.Lockheed is building three variants of the F-35, including a conventional takeoff and landing version for the Air Force, a short-takeoff version for the Marine Corps and the C model to be used on Navy aircraft carriers.
Boeing has offered the U.S. Navy a discount price if the service commits to buying 150 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets over the next four to five years.
The Navy is wearing out its existing F/A-18s faster than expected, prompting some experts to predict it could face a fighter shortfall before the F-35 arrives in large numbers.

DTN News: Russia To Complete Overhaul Of 63 Indian Fighter Jets In 2013

DTN News: Russia To Complete Overhaul Of 63 Indian Fighter Jets In 2013
*Source: DTN News / Defense Media (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - September 19, 2009: Russia will finish upgrading MiG-29 fighters in service with the Indian air force in 2013, a Russian defense industry source has said.
The MiG-29 is equipped with two RD-33 turbofan engines. The MiG-29 is the world's first aircraft fitted with dual-mode air intakes. During flight, the open air intakes feed air to the engines. While moving on the ground, the air intakes are closed and air is fed through the louvres on the upper surface of the wing root to prevent ingestion of foreign objects from the runway. This is particularly important when operating from poorly prepared airfields. RD-33 engines for Indian Air Force MiG-29 aircraft are to be license-built in India, under an agreement signed in January 2007. 16 new MiG-29Ks have been ordered (12 single-seat and four two-seater MiG-29KUB) by India to equip the INS Vikramaditya (formerly the Admiral Gorshkov) carrier bought from the Russian Navy. The first production MiG-29K made its maiden flight in March 2008 and is scheduled for delivery to the Indian Navy in early 2009. Russia's MiG company signed last year a contract with the Indian Defense Ministry to upgrade over 60 MiG-29 fighters, in service since the 1980s. "The implementation of the contract started last year, and it will be fulfilled in 2013," the source told RIA Novosti on Thursday. According to the source, during the upgrade the MiG-29s will be fitted with advanced avionics, new multi-functional Zhuk-ME radars, a new weapon control system, as well as revamped engines. The service life of the aircraft will be extended from 25 to 40 years. The official said the first four Indian MiG-29 fighters are being modernized and flight-tested in Russia and the remaining aircraft will be overhauled in India with the aid of Russian experts. The contract stipulates the construction of MiG consignment depots and service centers in India, along with simulators for pilot training.

DTN News: Singapore, Australia Conduct Joint Naval Exercise

DTN News: Singapore, Australia Conduct Joint Naval Exercise *Source: DTN News / Defense Media
(NSI News Source Info) SINGAPORE - September 19, 2009: SINGAPORE and Australian navies are carrying out a joint eight-day maritime exercise which began on Friday. The opening ceremony for Exercise Singaroo was held at Changi Naval Base on Friday afternoon, said the Ministry of Defence. (Image: The opening ceremony for Exercise Singaroo was held at Changi Naval Base on Friday afternoon.) Both navies will conduct a range of maritime operations, such as maritime surveillance, air defence and anti-submarine warfare. The Republic of Singapore Navy is taking part with a frigate (RSS Intrepid), a missile corvette (RSS Valour) and a submarine (RSS Conqueror). Joining them are a guided missile frigate (HMAS Arunta) and a patrol boat (HMAS Bathurst) from the Royal Australian Navy. Aircraft from the Republic of Singapore Air Force will provide anti-surface warfare support for the exercise. This series of annual exercises aims to enhance the interoperability of the two navies, said Mindef. Singapore and Australia share close and friendly defence ties. Both their navies engage in a wide range of activities, which include bilateral and multilateral exercises as well as professional exchanges. 'These extensive interactions have strengthened mutual understanding and professional ties between the personnel of both navies,' said Mindef

DTN News: Airlines News TODAY September 19, 2009 ~ Qantas Jettisons JAL Merger Rumour

DTN News: Airlines News TODAY September 19, 2009 ~ Qantas Jettisons JAL Merger Rumour
*Source: DTN News / THE AUSTRALIAN By Steve Creedy and Peter Alford
(NSI News Source Info) SYDNEY, Australia - September 19, 2009: QANTAS says speculation it has joined forces with American Airlines and British Airways to bid for Japan Air Lines is untrue. The rumours spread rapidly yesterday from Tokyo but were dismissed last night by Qantas head of government and corporate affairs David Epstein. "Obviously because we're close partners with both JAL and American Airlines and we're fellow members of the One World group," Mr Epstein said. "We have keen interest in both the future of JAL and any discussions American Airlines may be having with JAL. "But Qantas is not involved in any of the formal negotiations taking place between any parties nor are we engaged in any M&A (merger and acquisition) or consolidations discussions with any other airline." American moved last weekend to head off a proposal by its US rival Delta, the world's largest passenger carrier, to inject up to Y=50 billion ($629 million) of equity into JAL on condition it switched to the SkyTeam alliance. The Japanese flag-carrier, which secured a Y=100m government-guaranteed credit line in June, needs an estimated Y=250m more by March 31 to meet debt obligations, restructure its fleet and cover the costs of a drastic downsizing. American has also offered an equity injection, but it was unclear yesterday whether Qantas and BA were also offering funds. "We are considering various options but we can't specify anything further," a JAL spokeswoman told The Weekend Australian yesterday. With the US and Japan this week committing to negotiating an "open skies" agreement, JAL's ultimate choice of alliance and code-sharing partners will have a major bearing on winners and losers from the deregulation of Asia's most lucrative air passenger market. JAL, which joined One World in 2007, code-shares with American on trans-Pacific services and on Japan-Australia routes with Qantas and Jetstar. Although the largest foreign passenger carrier operating out of Japan, Delta and SkyTeam, has no Japanese code-sharer, a serious disadvantage in a cut-throat environment where the most cost-efficient way to move passengers in distant markets is by a domestic partner.