Monday, October 27, 2008

Russian Arms Exports Taking Another Jump in 2008

Russian Arms Exports Taking Another Jump in 2008 (NSI News Source Info) October 27, 2008: The collapse of the Soviet Union triggered a twin collapse for Russia’s vast arms industries. On the one hand, revelation of the state’s bankruptcy collapsed domestic arms spending. As a follow-up punch, it also collapsed aid-financed exports to dependent Soviet client states.
SU-30K: Export star
Russia’s arms industry has been clawing its way back ever since. During the 1990s, China effectively replaced Russia as the industry’s core domestic market, underwriting the R&D base and creating a springboard for further exports. “Russian Arms Exports Rose to $5.78B in 2004” began to chronicle that comeback. In late 2005, “Russian Defense Industry Exports Stabilizing at $6B/Year, But Structure May Change” looked at some of the adjustments being made to Russia’s export sales arrangements, even as its industry was consolidated. In September 2008, “Russia’s Military Spending Jumping – But Can Its Industry?” looked at the challenges facing a sector that has lost most of its engineers, and now faces strong civilian competition for talent. India and China remain Russia’s largest defense customers, though India is moving to diversify its defense imports by adding Western manufacturers to its mix. Even so, a major deal with Algeria may offer long-term promise if it holds, Indonesia has stepped up as a buyer, Libya may be next, and Venezuela is positioning itself as Russia’s next big customer. Konstantin Biryulin of the Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation of the Russian Federation (FSMTC) recently told RIA Novosti that arms export sales volume to Q3 2008 was 23% higher than the same period in 2007, which finished at $7.4 billion. Pravda.

MRAPs and New Wheeled APCs for Spain

MRAPs and New Wheeled APCs for Spain (NSI News Source Info) October 27, 2008: Western militaries are quickly coming to the realization that the light Land Rover, G-Wagen, and HMMWV type flat bottom vehicles deployed as light troop transports are no longer adequate on a non-linear battlefield with no defined front lines, in a world where the technology for making improvised and professional land mines is proliferating globally. Spain has been late to this realization, and the Ministerio de Defensa has been the target of criticism for that lateness.
Spanish soldiers have also been targets: 4 successful land mine attacks in the 16 months leading up to Spain’s MRAP decision had killed 10 soldiers and a translator (6 in Lebanon, 5 in Afghanistan). In November 2007, with 4 months to go before elections, the situation in Spain shifted. The Spanish Council of Ministers announcement amounted to a major MRAP Class I and Class II program for Spain. The program will replace/supplement its VAMTAC and recently-acquired Anibal (Land Rover derivative) vehicles by 2009. Over the longer term, Spain will also replace its 6×6 BMR Armored Personnel Carriers. The 575+ vehicle acquisition program is sketched out, the finalists are lined up, and a program to buy wheeled APCs will follow. While the winners for the first 2 phases are clear, purchase and delivery are taking a long time. The winning vehicles have yet to be deployed to the front lines, and the issue has become a political controversy in Spain. Meanwhile, the government has signed a contract now for RG-51 Mk5E stretched vehicles. They’ve also started deploying the Iveco MLV to Afghanistan.

Team VSE to Help Modernize MRAPs in Theater

Team VSE to Help Modernize MRAPs in Theater (NSI News Source Info) October 27, 2008: Letterkenny Army Depot recently chose VSE Corporation as its prime contractor for a $194 million contract to maintain and modernize Route Clearance Vehicles (RCVs).
Up-armored Caimin MRAPs
These vehicles serve as convoy leads and advance scouts over roads that might be mined, inspecting them and sometimes transporting specialized engineering teams who will remove any land mines found. RCVs include vehicles bought under the mine-resistant MRAP program, as well vehicles purchased beforehand (RG-31s, Cougars) or even outside of MRAP altogether (Huskies). Many are being modernized to incorporate design improvements, and uprated armor, or simply need depot-level maintenance after being used so heavily in difficult conditions. The effort will be managed by a Letterkenny Army Depot team, and VSE Corporation will the a new facility in Kuwait that will be operational in early 2009. This facility will allow the Army to repair and modernize the RCVs in theater, eliminating the need to ship the vehicles back home and leaving a higher percentage ready for duty at any given time. Repairs and modernization will include Army, Marine corps, Navy, and USAF vehicles. The operation is completely funded by the Program Manager – Assured Mobility System (PM-AMS) and supports the Army Central Command (ARCENT) efforts to modernize all Route Clearance Vehicles being used in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Boeing Launches Third Italian Earth Observation Satellite

Boeing Launches Third Italian Earth Observation Satellite (NSI News Source Info) October 27, 2008: The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] today successfully launched the third of four Italian Constellation of Small Satellites for Mediterranean basin Observation (COSMO) SkyMed spacecraft. A Delta II rocket procured from United Launch Alliance for Thales Alenia Space Italia lifted off at 7:28 p.m. pacific time from Pad SLC-2W at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The COSMO-SkyMed spacecraft was deployed to low-Earth orbit approximately 58 minutes after liftoff. "The third successful Delta launch for the COSMO-SkyMed program further strengthens Boeing's continued commitment to provide domestic and international commercial customers reliable access to space for science, defense and telecommunications services," said Ken Heinly, director of Boeing Launch Products & Services, and president of Boeing Launch Services, Inc. Boeing Launch Services successfully launched the first two COSMO-SkyMed satellites in June and December of 2007. Thales Alenia Space Italia developed the COSMO-SkyMed program for the Italian Space Agency and the Italian Ministry of Defence. It is an end-to-end Earth observation dual-use (civil and military) system comprised of four medium-sized satellites and supporting ground stations for orbit control systems and data reception and processing. The system will take imagery of the Earth using an X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar instrument capable of operating in all visibility conditions at the request of institutional and commercial users, including members of the civil and scientific, and defense communities. Boeing has a close business alliance with Thales Alenia Space. The European company has provided Delta II tanks since 2001 and built many elements for the International Space Station (ISS), including the Multi-purpose Pressurized Logistics Modules, Cupola and Harmony Node 2. Boeing is the prime contractor for the ISS. Boeing Launch Services is a customer-focused subsidiary that provides business development, sales, procurement and program management of Delta launch services for commercial customers. It is part of the Space Exploration division of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems and is based in Huntington Beach, Calif.

Eurocopter Delivers the First EC120 B Colibri Helicopter to HeliDax

Eurocopter Delivers the First EC120 B Colibri Helicopter to HeliDax (NSI News Source Info) MARIGNANE, France - October 28, 2008: Eurocopter delivered on its Marignane site the first EC120B Colibri helicopter to HeliDax, the company selected by the French Ministry of Defense in 2007 to provide up to 22,000 helicopter flight hours for the Army's light aviation (EA.ALAT) school in Dax located in the southwest of France.
EC120 B Colibri Helicopter
The EC120 B Colibri will replace the current fleet of Gazelle (SA341 and SA342) helicopters. This is the first of the batch of 30 EC120B helicopters (plus 6 options) which will be delivered until 2010. The first EC120B helicopter will enter into operation in 2009. This contract which is valid for 22 years is funded by an innovative financing solution of “Public Private Partnership” nature, whose main advantage is to allow for savings on operating and finance costs by eliminating the need for procurement and ongoing maintenance. The EC120B Colibri – the worldwide reference for training missions The EC120B Colibri helicopter of which more than 600 units are currently in service in 50 countries, is selected by military and civilian training schools worldwide such as in Spain, Indonesia and Singapore. The EC120B Colibri helicopter is perfectly adapted for initial and recurrent pilot training due to its small size, reduced operating costs, easy piloting capabilities, simple design, large cabin visibility and environmental friendliness. It is equipped with the most advanced technologies and enhanced energy attenuating systems (seats, main structure, fuel tanks compartment) which enhances instructors to perform training missions in optimal safety conditions. Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a Division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace, defence and related services. The Eurocopter Group employs approx. 14,000 people. In 2007, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the world’s No. 1 helicopter manufacturer in the civil and parapublic market, with a turnover exceeding 4 billion Euros, orders for 802 new helicopters, and a 53 percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors. Within the scope of the public-private partnership, DCI and Proteus created Helidax, a company with a 15 million euro capital whose head office is in Dax. Défense Conseil International (DCI) is a company specialised in training, consulting and assistance activities for the armed forces of allied countries to whom it transfers the know-how of the French Armed Forces. Since 1991 DCI has been in charge of supporting a foreign military helicopter fleet and this contract reinforces its partnership with the French Army, representing an opportunity to place its training activities directly for French Defence in a long-term position. Proteus Hélicoptères, owned by Spanish group INAER, is an air transport company and medical transport leader in France. This contract represents an important standing change for this company as regards its personnel as well as its business sector.

Royal Navy Lynx Helicopter In Afghanistan

Royal Navy Lynx Helicopter In Afghanistan (NSI News Source Info) October 27, 2008: A Royal Navy Lynx Mk 7 helicopter, retrofitted with a variety of electronic countermeasures, lands at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, from where it will support NATO troops in Helmand province.
Royal Navy Lynx Mk 7 helicopter

RAF Flies Precision-Guided Bomb on Typhoon

RAF Flies Precision-Guided Bomb on Typhoon (NSI News Source Info) October 27, 2008: The Royal Air Force's new precision-guided bomb has been flown for the first time onboard the Eurofighter Typhoon. Six Paveway IV trials weapons were fitted on an Italian test aircraft operating out of an air base in Sardinia. The test flights are part of an integration program subcontracted to weapons supplier Raytheon Systems by BAE Systems. The U.K. arm of Raytheon has a deal to integrate the 500-pound bomb on Typhoon as part of an incremental capability program that expires in 2012.
Eurofighter Typhoon ZJ802, one of the first delivered to the RAF
Part of that program saw the weapons fitted to an Italian instrumented production aircraft at the Alenia integration facility in Turin for physical and electronic interface testing before the aircraft was flown to the Decimomannu air base in Sardinia on Oct. 24 for a series of flight tests. Integration of Paveway IV is part of the Eurofighter Phase 1 Enhancements program, which also includes fit of a laser designator pod and Enhanced GBU-16. For the moment, the Paveway IV has to be dropped at subsonic speeds on Typhoon, but Eurofighter has submitted a list of proposals to Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain, the European partners in the multirole aircraft, to allow the weapon to be used at supersonic speed. Other Phase 2 enhancements include the possible fit of Brimstone anti-tank missiles, the small diameter bomb, Storm Shadow and Taurus cruise missiles and the Meteor air-to-air weapon. The RAF has cleared the new Paveway IV for operational use on its Harrier GR9 fleet. The weapon is expected to be deployed for the first time in Afghanistan in a matter of weeks. Raytheon is also working on integrating the weapon on the Tornado strike aircraft. The aircraft are scheduled to replace the Harrier on Afghanistan duty in the first half of 2009. The British have recently declared operational an austere Typhoon Tranche 1 aircraft which features earlier variants of the Paveway family allied with the Rafael Litening laser designator.

Report: Taiwan to Produce 300 Cruise Missiles

Report: Taiwan to Produce 300 Cruise Missiles (NSI News Source Info) TAIPEI - October 27, 2008: Taiwan plans to manufacture up to 300 cruise missiles, despite warming ties with rival China, it was reported Oct. 27. "President Ma Ying-jeou has given the order for the production of 300 Hsiungfeng 2E cruise missiles," the Taipei-based China Times said, citing what it said was an unnamed authoritative military source.
Hsiungfeng II ship-to-ship missile being launched as the Taiwan navy debuts its 170-tonne "stealth" missile boat at a mock enemy target in the island's biggest ever wargame held in Litzechien, northeastern Ilan county. Taiwan 06 March 2007 has test-fired a cruise missile capable of hitting rival China - a Hsiung-feng 2E (Brave Wind) cruise missile, with a possible range of 600 kilometres (360 miles), it was reported, amid fresh tensions across the region
However, the paper said it was not clear when the missiles would be put into service. Taiwan's defense ministry declined to comment on the report. The paper said Hsiungfeng 2E, which was developed by the military-run Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology, has a range of around 600 kilometers (375 miles). The missile could be launched on land or at sea, the paper said, and would be capable of hitting airports and missile bases in southeast China, as well as cities such as Shanghai and Hong Kong. China and Taiwan have been governed separately since the end of a civil war in 1949, but Beijing views the island as part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary. China has repeatedly threatened to invade Taiwan should the island declare formal independence. However, tensions across the Taiwan Strait have eased since Beijing-friendly Ma Ying-jeou was elected as president in March vowing to boost the economy and improve ties with China.