Wednesday, May 05, 2010

DTN News: China Eager For Russian Air Technology

DTN News: China Eager For Russian Air Technology Source: DTN News / By Reuben F. Johnson SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - May 6, 2010: Recent activity in Russia by Chinese aircraft-engine-industry employees and intelligence officers highlights Beijing's continuing dependence on Russian jet-engine technology. A large group of Chinese collectors were seen at the recent biennial Russian Aeroengines trade show in Moscow. The aircraft-engine-technology trade show this year had a smaller turnout than in previous years following Moscow's consolidation of almost all of the aviation-engine design and production facilities into one large, state-mandated firm. "By far the largest delegation from any country was a group of about 30 Chinese specialists who had all obviously come to this show with specific assignments for targeted collection of technical data on Russian jet-propulsion systems," said a Russian aerospace-industry analyst who spoke to The Washington Times. "They broke up into groups of two or three persons each and then systematically launched out at the displays of jet-engine hardware or models that they were tasked to learn all they could about." China's jet-fighter program has advanced in recent years as part of Beijing's major military buildup, with recent fielding of a new indigenous jet and development of a more advanced fighter announced in November. Aerospace and military trade shows often are used by specialists from foreign industry and intelligence services to gather data on new design concepts and technologies from Russian industry, the analyst said. "But this 'field trip' that these Chinese specialists were on was just over the top. For one, it was too many people — like ants on the march," the analyst said. The analyst noted that at this year's trade show, the Chinese were especially aggressive. "It was all too obvious that they had been well-briefed on what their targets were for collecting information." China's active partnership with Russia in defense technology began in the early 1990s with the purchase of an initial batch of Sukhoi Su-27 fighter aircraft, at the time Russia's most advanced warplane. Later orders for Su-27s and eventually an agreement to produce the jet in China under license at the Shenyang Aircraft Works (SAC), along with purchases of a more advanced model, the Su-30MKK, followed throughout the next decade. Since the 1990s, Russian defense industrial know-how has been turned over to the Chinese through such trade, creating a renaissance within China's defense sector and resulting in the production of what are viewed widely as world-class weapon systems. But production of current-day jet engines that are reliable and operate at acceptable levels of military efficiency still eludes most of China's aerospace sector. Two of the newest fighter aircraft developed and produced at the Chengdu Aerospace Complex (CAC) in Sichuan province — the FC-1 and the J-10 — are both powered with Russian-built engines. The engines are manufactured in Moscow and St. Petersburg in special configurations for Chinese aircraft and then delivered to CAC as finished products, so there is minimal technology transfer to Chinese industry with these engines. The J-10 is based on Israel's canceled Lavi fighter-aircraft design, which included U.S. technology. The J-10 recently was made the new aircraft for China's Bai-Yi demonstration squadron — the equivalent of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. China's propulsion technology is one of the few industrial sectors where Beijing has been unable to match the production skills of the Russians, mainly because of the difficult demands of aircraft-engine manufacturing. In addition to jet-fighter engines, China also is working on turbofan engines for its growing arsenal of cruise missiles. For example, in October, China unveiled its first long-range land-attack cruise missile, the DH-10. The weapons are part of what the Pentagon calls "area-denial" weapons that would be used to attack U.S. aircraft carriers that likely would be sent to waters near Taiwan in any future conflict over the island. The military goal appears to be among the highest priorities for Chinese weapon designers. "There were so many Chinese huddled around the mock-up of the Saturn TRDD-50 [cruise missile] engine at this show it reminded me of bees buzzing around honey," said one of the Russian participants in the show who spoke to The Times.

DTN News: New Elbit Hermes UAS selected By Israel

DTN News: New Elbit Hermes UAS selected By Israel Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) HAIFA, Israel,- May 6, 2010: The Israeli Defense Ministry selected Elbit Systems to deliver its unmanned aircraft system variants to strengthen the Israeli military's UAS fleet. Elbit Systems has recently added the Hermes 900 to its growing UAV family. With its 15 m wingspan and 970 kg max takeoff weight, the Hermes 900 is a natural extension of the Hermes 450 tactical UAV systems with full compatibility in missions and support infrastructure. While offering all Hermes UAV family capabilities (Hermes 180, Hermes 450 and Hermes 1500), it features larger multi-payload configurations, higher flight altitude and extended flight time. The Hermes 900 is an all weather UAV system. Its IATOL (Internal Auto Takeoff and Landing) system enables auto-landing even in alternate non-instrumented runways. Like the Hermes 450, internationally renowned for its unmatched safety record and reliability, the Hermes 900 features full redundancy and fault tolerant avionics and electronics architecture. Its fully-certified Rotax engine is safe and quiet. The new UAV is well-equipped with advanced features including built-in autonomous emergency procedures, ATC Air Traffic Control radio, Radio relay, and IFF transponder. With larger payload capacity (300Kg) and longer endurance ,the Hermes 900 is controlled by Elbit Systems UGCS Universal Ground Control Station which can control two UAVs at any given time from a single station while a single operator operates the AV Air Vehicle and payloads for each UAV. The new Hermes delivers the highest quality of performance for the lowest life cycle cost; a distinction based predominantly on its lowest number of operators and maintenance crew requirements. The Hermes 900 system supports numerous missions and specialized applications such as Electro-optics, IR Imaging Laser range finder and Laser designation as well as SAR/GMTI, COMINT DF , ELINT an Electronic Warfare. The system maintains secured redundant Line Of Sight (LOS) Data link as well as Redundant Satellite communication (BLOS) Beyond Line of Sight. Israeli defense company Elbit announced it will provide its Hermes 900 and Hermes 450 UAS variants for deployment by the Israeli military in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations supporting counter-terrorism programs. The $50 million contract expands the fleet of Hermes 450 with the Israeli military and introduces Elbit's new Hermes 900 UAS, which is based on the company's universal command-and-control ground station. "By introducing the Hermes 900 into our growing UAS portfolio, we continue to provide the Israeli military with effective solutions for its varying operational needs," Joseph Ackerman, Elbit Systems president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. In addition to the Hermes family of UAS technologies the Israeli military also operates Elbit's Skylark I-LE, a miniature UAS.