India, Russia To Hold Naval Wargames In Arabian Sea
(NSI News Source Info) Janaury 12, 2009: India and Russia are set to deepen their military ties with wargames planed in the Arabian Sea that will include nuclear-powered warships later this month, a top defence official said on Sunday.
Six Russian warships led by nuclear-powered missile cruiser "Pyotr Veliky" (Peter-the-Great) will conduct wargames with the Indian Navy in the Arabian Sea later this month, Chief of General Staff, Army-General Nikolai Makarov said.
"The joint Russia-India exercise 'Indra-2009' will be carried out in January end. From the Russian side six ships including Northern Fleet's nuclear powered heavy missile cruiser, will take part in the wargames," Makarov said.
According to earlier reports, "Pyotr Veliky" known as 'buster of aircraft carriers' will be joined by the powerful anti-submarine squadron of the Russian Pacific Fleet for the joint Indo-Russian war games.
Indian Air Force Orders Akash Surface To Air Missiles; BEL, L&T, Tata Power To Deliver In 36 Months
(NSI News Source Info) January 12, 2009: The Indian Air Force has placed an order with Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) for two squadrons of medium range, surface-to-air missile Akash. The Rs. 1,200-crore order comes 14 months after field trials at Pokhran in Rajasthan.Akash is India's medium range surface-to-air missile defense system developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) as part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program. The missile can target aircraft up to 30 km away, at altitudes up to 18,000 m. Akash can be fired from both tracked and wheeled platforms. Akash is said to be capable of both conventional and nuclear warheads, with a reported payload of 60kg. A nuclear warhead could potentially give the missile the capability to destroy both aircraft and warheads from ballistic missiles. The missile is described as being able to strike several targets simultaneously, which could mean either separate, independently targetable warheads, or a sufficient blast to destroy a number of them. Along with India, a limited number of other countries including the US, Russia, Japan, Israel, and some EU countries have developed operational multitarget-handling surface-to-air missile systems.
It was reported earlier that the IAF had reservations about placing the order as the missile, in its present version, allegedly did not meet a few of its operating requirements.
The IAF wanted a smaller, lighter missile that had a longer range and was more manoeuvrable according to "The Hindu". The missile also does not have a seeker. Batch-by-batch improvements and enhancements in Akash are expected.
Of the Patriot classDeveloped by Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), Akash is part of India’s Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme and comes with radars, mobile launchers, control centres, battlefield management software and other support systems. It will be utilised by the IAF against attacks from unmanned combat aerial vehicles, aircraft and missiles.
In the same class as the U.S.’ Patriot, Israel’s Barak and the U.K.’s SAM, the 5.78-metre long, 700-kg Akash can destroy targets as far away as 25 km and has a supersonic speed of 600 metres a second.BEL has tied up with Larsen & Toubro, Tata Power, Walchand Industries and ECIL.
It is contracted to deliver the two squadrons in 36 months. DRDL, besides transferring technology in the form of documents for production of Akash, will oversee the weapon system integration and provide support throughout the 20-year lifecycle of the missile.
Project Director R.R. Panyam told newspapers that it was “for the first time that the country’s armed forces had placed an order for such a sophisticated, indigenously developed weapon system.” The IAF could expect a consistent and reliable missile system, and it was expected to place more such orders.
The Army could also look to acquire Akash, but with modifications. Calling the order an indication of the technical capabilities of indigenous defence laboratories, Prahlada, Chief Controller of the Defence Research and Development Organisation, said the missile had an 85 per cent kill probability.
Akash, which can destroy multiple targets, can be fired from both trucks and tracked vehicles. It is expected to cost the exchequer less than similar missiles, whose cost is in the range of Rs. 5-6 crore each. The Akash missile system, according to a statement made by Defence Minister A.K. Antony in the Rajya Sabha, cost the exchequer Rs. 516.86 crore for its development, the highest for any of India’s missile systems.
Japanese MoD Maintains Plan To Pursue F-22 / Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) Undecided On F-22 Raptor
(NSI News Source Info) January 12, 2009: The Japanese Ministry of Defence (MoD) has dismissed reports that it is prepared to drop plans to evaluate the F-22 Raptor fifth-generation air superiority fighter as part of its programme to procure next-generation (FX) fighters for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF).
Media reports from Japan have quoted government sources as saying that the MoD will abandon efforts to seek access to the aircraft's technologies and performance data in light of increasing budgetary pressures on the F-22 programme in the United States and the continuing ban on its export.
A spokeswoman from the Japanese MoD told Jane's on 6 January, however, that "the situation has not changed and there has been no change in policy".
Japan stated on numerous occasions throughout 2008 that it is seeking access to information about the F-22 in order to review its performance before selecting an FX aircraft to replace its ageing fleet of 80 Mitsubishi/McDonnell Douglas F-4EJ fighters.
In addition to the F-22, the MoD's shortlist includes Dassault's Rafale; Eurofighter's Typhoon; Boeing's F/A-18E/F and F-15FX; and Lockheed Martin's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
Saab Wins Swedish Air Force Gripen Sustainment Contract / Saab Signs Contract With FMV Regarding JAS 39 Gripen
(NSI News Source Info) STOCKHOLM, Sweden - January 12, 2009: Saab has received an order from the Swedish Defence Material Administration, FMV, for supporting Gripen’s operative capacity. The contract is valued to 550 million SEK. The order includes for example programme management, product maintenance, support, flight testing, pilot equipment and simulators to support the operative capacity of the Gripen system.
Work will be carried out during 2009. The contract renders possibilities for Saab to provide continued support and development of Gripen for the Swedish Air Force.
Saab serves the global market with world-leading products, services and solutions ranging from military defence to civil security. Saab has operations and employees on all continents and constantly develops, adopts and improves new technology to meet customers’ changing needs.
Battle for Mullaithivu / Sri Lanka Soldiers Captured Tamil Tiger Training Camp
(NSI News Source Info) COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - January 11, 2009: Sri Lanka soldiers captured a Tamil Tiger training camp as government troops pressed ahead with their offensive against the guerrillas in the country's embattled north, the military said Sunday.
The military has achieved a string of major victories against the rebels in recent months -- including the capture of the Tamil Tiger administrative capital of Kilinochchi a week ago. The government has vowed to crush the separatist guerrillas and end the Indian Ocean island nation's 25-year-old civil war in the coming months.
Image: An armoured carrier with troops in Kilinochchi
Sri Lanka's own conflict is no different and has had its own set of symbols and images. One that has endured for close to two decades is the image of the improvised bulldozer that the Tigers used to ram through the southern defences of Elephant Pass Base (EPS) in July 1991.
The story of how the armour plated vehicle was stopped is now legend. Corporal Gamini Kularatne prevented the vehicle from entering the camp by climbing on to it and lobbing a hand grenade through a hatch. Gamini who later became famous as 'Hasalaka Gamini' died in the process.
But the vehicle became a symbol of the army's courage and was given pride of place, till the EPS garrison fell into Tiger hands in 1998. Then it was cast aside on the A9 on the southern shores of the EPS causeway. During the ceasefire, many a visitor from the south stopped at the vehicle, tilting slightly on its side. Some wrote on the earthmoving machine, others gazed at it and the Tigers soon left a name board on the side that said it was symbol of its own attack on EPS and how one Kesari died in it.
Last week after more than a decade, government soldiers stood on top of the vehicle, once again triumphant. Troops from Task Force I (TF1) had began advancing north on the A9 highway from Paranthan and reached Kurinchantivu and Tamilamadam area where the bulldozer lay since 1991.
The movement towards the northern Tiger FDL that runs from Killali through Muhamalai to Nagarakovil was matched by troops of the 53rd Killali/Muhamalai and 55th Nagarkovil who moved on the Tiger defences from the north and by January 6 extended their line by around 500 m. They had reached the second defensive line maintained by the Tigers along the axis.
The Tigers have constructed a three tier defence trench with bunkers and connecting trenches with the approaches heavily mined. The twin advance was aimed at flushing out the Tigers from the northern FDL. TF1 is moving north and the Defence Ministry said that the aim was to push the Tigers towards the east, on to the small isthmus of Nagarkovil that links with Mullaithivu and further south.
The Tigers have maintained high cadre levels and resources along the 11 km. northern axis and has at no time compromised strengths and has resisted large army forays in October 2006 and April 2008. Some Tamil writers have said that there were as much as 3,500 to 4,000 cadres along the axis by end 2008. That is a strong concentration on the 11 km. line.
But faced with the option of being sandwiched between the advancing divisions from the north and TF1, some Tamil websites last week reported that the Tigers had already begun falling back. Some said that the new concentration was at Puthukkadu Junction north of Elephant Pass. The Tigers would have to seriously re-evaluate holding on to the line especially the 8 kms. between Killali and Muhamalai, where supplies will be hard and evacuation even harder if the TF1 reaches the northern boundary of the EPS garrison, that lies on the northern side of the causeway.
They might be holding on to the narrower (3km.) Nagarkovil area which still had a direct road from Mullaithivu running along the coast and where no government troops are nearby. That road however will be hard to use during times of heavy rain.
As the weekend ended the army said that EPS was about to fall - "As the final push for LTTE strongholds of Mullaithivu and the Elephant Pass is on, 53 and 55 Division troops after capture of Pallai and Soranpattu areas are now marching towards the Elephant Pass past Ilankattu as at Friday (9) morning, the Army Headquarters declared.
"It is believed the entire road patch between Muhamalai and Paranthan on the A-9 Highway would soon turn clear with the fall of the Elephant Pass at any moment from now onwards," it said on January 9 morning.
That afternoon troops reached EPS and once again President Mahinda Rajapakse made the announcement on national TV.
By January 6 the Defence Ministry said that troops from the 53rd Division were operating about 1 km. north of the important Pallai. If troops gain on Pallai as the Ministry has predicted, and move to Iyakachchchi junction, Tigers will lose the only road that connects the western Killali/Muhamalai land mass with the narrower Nagarkovil and Mullaithivu in the east.
Cutting of withdrawal route
The same tactic that was seen in the gaining of Killinochchi is once again being employed by the security forces - that of enveloping the Tigers and cutting of withdrawal routes or reducing them to a minimum. The 53rd and the 58th Division better known as TF1 will meet on the A9, in EPS area if the current north/south double twin thrust continued.
By January 8 morning troops had reached Pallai, just above Iyakachchi. Pallai and Iyakachchi also have the best drinkable water sources in EPS.
Ironically, the thrust patterns used by the army are uncannily similar to those employed by the Tigers. When they overran EPS, the Tigers had cadres who landed on the eastern side of EPS crossed the Chundikulam Lagoon that separates Killali/Muhamalai and Nagarkovil, and cut into the A9, restricting supplies on the A9.
Important Tiger locations
When they moved on Killinochchi in 1998, a fierce thrust was launched from north, through Paranthan and east of Paranthan.
TF1 has also begun advancing on the A 35 highway that links Mullaithivu with Paranthan and runs through Visvamadhu, Darmapuram and Putukudiyiruppu (PTK), important Tiger locations as well as areas where tens of thousands of displaced remain.
Heavy fighting was reported at Murasumoddai from January 5. In fact on January 4 Tamilnet quoting Tiger sources said that the Tigers had beaten back an assault on Murasumoddai.
"Battle formations of 58 Division who have continued their offensive march further eastwards after capturing Paranthan, entered Murasumoddai township despite stiff resistance given by the LTTE terrorists for the last few days," the Defence Ministry said on January 7.
The Ministry said that the assault had been two pronged with troops advancing on the A35 while another thrust came from the south, moving parallel to the A 35. Sri Lankan soldiers are seen walking to a newly built bunker of the Sri Lankan army's forward defense line in Muhumalai, about 280 kilometers (174 miles) north of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2006. Senior officials, analysts, diplomats and former military officers said the government's new commitment to the fight coupled with a string of miscalculations by the Tamil Tigers has brought one of the world's most sophisticated rebel groups to the brink of defeat.
Newer trench line
The Tigers are now reportedly constructing a newer trench line along the eastern bund of the Iranamadu tank extending north towards the Chudikulam lagoon cutting across the A35 at the second mile post near Murasumoddai and south of the tank as well. There is an old road that runs parallel to the A9 east of the new trench line allowing Tigers to move up and down.
The trench line came under attack in the Murasumoddai area on January 4 and had been attacked at three other locations north and south of the Iranamadu tank on January 5. This was while TF1 was moving on Murasumoddai.
The move on Murasumoddai appears to be thrust along the A 35 and on its side, something that was witnessed in Killinochchi as well. Journalists who visited Killinochchi and Paranthan on January 4 said that fighting on the A9 appeared to have begun in earnest from Murugandi, that lies about 12 km south of Killinochchi on the A9. It was near Murugandi that troops from the 57 Division who had been moving through areas west of the A9 till then cut into the highway while other formations from the same division moved along the same axis through Akkarayankulam.
Government forces have consolidated their positions in northern Sri Lanka, a day after heavy fighting with Tamil Tiger rebels, according to the military.
Despite the fighting the A9 appeared more or less intact, there was one shell that had landed right in the middle of the highway near Murugandi and remained unexploded. Troops were trying to remove it as journalists passed. The road however was motorable by heavy vehicles up to Paranthan. The sides of the roads had been cleared for about 30 m.
Killinochchi however was deserted except for the troops. One journalist who had been part of a similar visit in 1996 said that it was very much the same except for the new buildings the Tigers had put up.
The civilians told the journalists that they had fled when the Tigers were not allowing them to leave to safer areas from Killinochchi and had returned once the Tigers vacated.
The Tigers did develop Killinochchi as the showcase of its de facto administration with the assumed vestiges of an administration. The Peace Secretariat, the political headquarters, a new court premises where the old one lay in tatters, police headquarters and others like forestry, education and women's offices were all in Killinochchi.
Escaped major damage
Some of the buildings had escaped major damage, while others, mainly on the side of the road had been hit. Roofs and door frames on most buildings appeared to have been removed by the withdrawing Tigers.
Defence analysts observed that the Tigers may have had limits on their defence of Killinochchi, despite the bravado. They did put up stiff resistance on several occasions both north and south of the town since it came firmly between the crosshairs of the government forces last August.
"LTTE had probably a planned time delay or casualty limit or both to hold on to Killinochchi. After that they have done a classical exfiltration exercise. Mullaithivu also will have these self imposed limits. It is surprising they had removed the roofs and every conceivable item before pulling the cadres out," the former head of intelligence of the Indian Peace Keeping Force and currently an associate of the South Asia Analysis Group and the Chennai Centre for China Studies, R. Hariharan told The Sunday Leader.
The limits on the Tigers may have been caused by disrupted supply lines that would dictate priority on the use of firepower.
Failed to replenish
"The maritime supplies to LTTE were disrupted by the Sri Lankan navy working withforeign governments especially India. As such, the LTTE failed to replenish its material losses and resume its vital supplies. In a frontal assault, LTTE could not take on the military using artillery and mortars," Rohan Gunaratna the head of the International Center for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR) at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore said.
Gunaratna however felt that government troops would have to keep up the momentum in Mullaithivu, terrain that would suit guerrilla warfare.
"The LTTE are the masters in guerrilla and terrorist operations. The LTTE will have an upper hand in Mullaithivu - the terrain favours them unless government invests more in generating high quality intelligence and conducting small operations. If the government does not maintain its operational tempo, the LTTE will strike both the south and harass government troops inKillinochchi and elsewhere in the northeast."
The former IPKF intelligence head was skeptical whether the Tigers could defend Mullaithivu despite the advantage of terrain.
Facing less troops
"On the question of defending Mullaithivu, frankly I am sceptical whether he (Pirapaharan) would defend it as whole heartedly as he did in Killinochchi. He might try and hit TF-1 advancing on the Paranthan-Puthukkudiyirupu-Mullaithivu Road because tactically he would be facing less troops. If Puthukkudiyirupu falls Mullaithivu would become untenable just as it happened to Killinochchi after Paranthan fell. Mullaithivu has the lagoon on one side and the sea on the other. So it has got a narrow front for assaulting troops as in Elephant Pass."
The army is relying on its superior firepower and overwhelming numbers to decimate the Tigers in Mullaithivu. Army Commander Sarath Fonseka has said that a force of 50,000 would be used as an equation of 12 battalion strengths.
A post released by Oxford Analitica, a network of academics based at the Oxford University said last week that fighting in Mullaithivu would be hard.
Sri Lankan troops fighting Tamil rebels have captured the Elephant Pass -- a highly strategic causeway linking the Jaffna peninsula with the mainland.
"They (Tigers) will now be fighting on their most favoured terrain: Mullaithivu's thick jungles along the eastern coast, where the rebels bring in their weapons and other supplies."
"Tough terrain - Whereas the more open terrain of western Wanni and the areas west of Killinochchi have favoured the recently modernised Sri Lanka Army's flanking manoeuvres and heavy weapons, including air power, the terrain in Mullaithivu works to the advantage of the LTTE. The vast, thick jungle limits the military's manoeuvrability and the effectiveness of airpower and heavy weapons, while the canopy affords the LTTE greater concealment. As such, the fighting to come is likely to be protracted and involve heavy casualties."
"Weapons of the weak - The military still has to contend with LTTE guerilla and terrorist attacks in other parts of the island, especially the east and Colombo. Within hours of the official announcement of Killinochchi's capture, a bomb exploded outside the Sri Lanka Air Force Headquarters, demonstrating the LTTE's ability to penetrate Colombo's most secure military areas. The LTTE have in the past fallen back on such tactics after suffering major reverses - such as their prior loss of Killinochchi in 1996 - and they can be expected to do so again," it said.
The Army Commander feels that government forces hold all the A's and the rhetoric of withdrawal by the Tigers is smokescreen in the face of an inevitable loss.
"The LTTE not only lost 95 percent of the land it held but also lost within the last one year 8000 terrorists out of whom the Sri Lanka Army knows the names of 4000," he said last week during a TV interview.
United States And Russia Have Mastered Military Airlift Capability
(NSI News Source Info) January 11, 2009: It isn't easy to build reliable heavy military air transport aircraft, or military air lifters. Currently only the United States and Russia have mastered the job, and the European aircraft industry, led by Germany and France, is trying to join them. But other nations have been forced to take different routes.
Venezuela is buying Ilyushin Il-76s from Russia. They are reliable, old jet-powered military air transports, and Caracas is purchasing them as part of a gigantic $4.4 billion military procurement program that will make its armed forces by far the most powerful in Latin America.
As UPI contributor John Sweeney has pointed out, the U.S. State Department thwarted Venezuela's plans to buy Spanish military air transports in 2006. But Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez then turned to Russia and bought instead 10 Ilyushin Il-76Es -- NATO designation Candid -- troop/cargo transports and two Ilyushin Il-78s -- NATO designation Midas -- in-flight tankers with the capacity to refuel three aircraft simultaneously.
These transport aircraft are scheduled to be being delivered now in a move to be completed by the end of this year, Sweeney reported, citing Venezuelan defense procurement officials as his sources.
The Il-76 purchase is especially strategically significant because it is clearly a major offensive weapons acquisition. Venezuela currently does not have any allies in the Western Hemisphere that require a rapid major airlift capability.
The Boeing C-17 Globemaster III is a large American airlifter manufactured by Boeing Integrated Defense Systems. The C-17 is operated by the United States Air Force, the British Royal Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force, and the Canadian Forces, while NATO and Qatar have placed orders for the airlifter.The only nation that conceivably might fit this bill is Cuba, and however much Venezuela boosts its airlift power, it could not conceivably reinforce Cuba in any war scenario without its air lifters being shot down by the U.S. Air Force. Supporting Cuba would give Venezuela no strategic advantage anyway, and it would only ensure the wrath of the American people and the U.S. government.
But where Venezuela's expanding military airlift capability would make much more sense would be in flying in hundreds, even thousands of its own troops to provide support for friendly governments -- as, for example, in Bolivia -- that were threatened by popular protests from their own people.
This airlift capacity also could be used to threaten or just potentially pressure neighboring countries such as Colombia. But they also could be used in the future to fly large forces rapidly into countries where revolutionary movements or military juntas hostile to the United States had seized power, in order to ensure they could retain control before either the United States or elements in the countries in question could rally against the revolutionary or military coup forces that had just taken over.
Venezuela will have Latin America's largest armed forces in terms of firepower by 2013, if the country's oil revenues remain high in the coming years, Sweeney noted. The Ilyushin Il-76 (NATO reporting name: Candid) is a 4-engined strategic airlifter designed in the Soviet Union and in widespread use in Europe, Asia and Africa. Originally built for the military, the plane has subsequently seen extensive service as a commercial freighter, especially for the delivery of outsized or very heavy cargo. A water-carrying version of the plane has proven effective in fire-fighting operations in many countries. The Il-76 reportedly carries some 90% of ramp-delivered European airfreight and 90% of disaster relief aid worldwide. It is the most widely used dedicated jet freighter in the 40+ t. category.
Major questions, of course, remain over the Il-76 purchases. The Venezuelan armed forces have no experience in maintenance of such aircraft. The aircraft could rapidly decay and many of them could become inoperable.
That has been a common phenomenon in Third World countries that have bought huge quantities of weapons from the Soviet Union, China or other nations over the past half-century but then found they lacked sufficient engineers, flight mechanics and general standards of maintenance in their armed forces to keep the aircraft, ground transportation, tanks or other equipment running smoothly.
In that case, Chavez could risk suffering the fate of Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser in the 1950s and 1960s. He bought gigantic amounts of weapons and military equipment from Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union, only to lose most of it in three disastrously bungled wars against Israel in 1956, 1967 and the lesser-known War of Attrition in 1969-1970.
Nevertheless, Chavez is now presiding over a military buildup and power projection capability for thousands of miles beyond Venezuela's borders far in excess of anything any previous Latin American leader hostile to the United States, including Fidel Castro, has ever dreamed of having. And as the great U.S. naval historian and theoretician Adm.
Alfred Thayer Mahan famously pointed out, the fact of what he called "fleets in being" automatically transformed the strategic equations and calculations of powers in any time. That applies as much to the military airlift fleet that Chavez has bought "off the shelf" from Russia as much as it did to the German, British and U.S. navies of 100 years ago.
China: After Russia, Now Duplicating South African Military Technology - Report
(NSI News Source Info) January 11, 2009: China has had a number of dealings with South African weapons manufacturers over the past decade, most of which have not resulted in actual weapons purchases. However, several recent Chinese-made military technologies bear suspicious resemblances to their South African counterparts.
In 2008 China acquired a fourth-generation air-to-air missile equipped with a thrust-vector control engine. The PL-10, or PL-ASR, is comparable to the U.S.-made AIM-9X air-to-air missile, or AAM. A-Darter is a fifth-generation, air-to-air missile system designed to meet the challenges of future air combat against next-generation fighters in a hostile ECM environment. System Features;
*High agility to handle the closest of close combats. *A thermal imaging seeker with high sensitivity and a multi-mode ECCM suite. *A low-drag, wingless airframe, ensuring ranges far beyond those of traditional short-range missiles. *Lock-on after launch and memory-tracking capabilities. *A lightweight design compatible with traditional Sidewinder stations.According to a representative from the South African Denel Group, the PL-ASR is almost a replica of its A-Darter AAM. The Denel representative told during an interview in Cape Town that the Chinese had contacted the company in 2001 to explore the possibility of importing fifth-generation A-Darter infrared-guided AAMs, which included a TVC propulsion system and pilot helmet-mounted displays.
In the end, Denel did not sell the technologies to China, which it regards as its key competitor in selling air-to-air missiles on the African market. Company engineers were therefore surprised to find that the Chinese PL-ASR is nearly identical to the A-Darter in exterior structure, tail engine and even the diameter of the missile body.
The company strongly suspects that China reverse-engineered its A-Darter AAM after acquiring its technological materials.
This fits a pattern that China has followed in acquiring military technologies from many sources. When seeking a new technology, China contacts a foreign manufacturer and requests substantial technical information about its product, supposedly with the intent to buy. Instead, Chinese engineers study the materials and imitate the relevant concepts and designs.
Something similar occurred in the course of China's development of a combat helicopter. In 1996 China and South Africa signed a memorandum to jointly develop a combat helicopter, when China was in the process of building its ZW-10 helicopter.
After being given a focused inspection of the Rooivalk combat helicopter's subsystems, China wanted to purchase one helicopter from Denel, but the South African company considered the purchase of a single aircraft the equivalent of giving away its technologies. As a result, Denel decided not to sell China the helicopter and the cooperation came to an end.
Another item that appears to have been copied from South Africa is the optical-electronic pod on China's ZW-9 combat helicopter, which bears a strong resemblance to the Leo-II serial O/E pods produced by the Zeiss Co.
Technical experts from the Zeiss Co. told in an interview that about seven to eight years ago Zeiss exported two sets of an earlier variant of the Leo-II O/E pods to China, intended for use on helicopters. According to the source, the Chinese side explained that they needed a large number of this type of O/E pods for civilian helicopters, and therefore would like to purchase two sets initially for testing purposes. The source said the Chinese took no further action after receiving the test pods.
Currently, both the ZW-10 and the night version, the ZW-9, are equipped with O/E detectors very similar to those on the Leo-II.
China's interest is not only in the O/E pod technologies used for helicopters. Chinese manufacturers have also engaged in active discussions with South Africa in hopes of acquiring TV video cameras and second-generation thermal imaging cameras used in Denel's Seeker II unmanned air vehicle surveillance system.
The top military technology that China aspires to acquire from South Africa is without doubt the unmanned air vehicle. China's New Era Group Corp. had several rounds of negotiations with Denel on the possibility of producing in China two types of Denel UAVs, which were on display at the 2006 Zhuhai Air Show, called the Golden Eagle and the Seeker II.
China hopes to obtain the technologies to assemble these two UAVs domestically. However, according to a source from the Denel Group, negotiations on the UAV deals have come to a halt and the company has decided that unless substantial progress is made on these negotiations, the company no longer wants to spend time dealing with the Chinese.
Denel had a similar experience in trying to negotiate a deal with Chinese company Norinco for its Mokopa anti-tank missiles. The Chinese company expressed an interest in importing Denel's technologies, but once again the negotiations ended with no result.
G6-52 SP GUN HOWITZER; While the renowned 155mm G6 Self-Propelled Gun Howitzer continues to outgun competitive artillery systems, the new G6-52 has re-set the leading edge in artillery development with advances in all the capabilities critical to effective artillery. The G6-52 is an advanced development of the proven G6-45 system.The highly mobile G6 SP Gun Howitzer has been upgraded with: *Increased firing range, outperforming competitive equipment; *An increased rate of fire to 8 rounds per minute with all compatible charges; *Superior mobility and a reduced manpower requirement.Since 2007 Norinco has attempted to contact the Denel Group again, saying it wants to import the company's G5 155mm howitzer ammunition handling system. But Denel is not eager to enter into an agreement with China on this project; Chinese-made 155mm howitzers already have appeared in quite a number of countries in Northern Africa, including Algeria, Sudan and Egypt.
The source from Denel did disclose that the company has successfully completed a deal with China for its 35mm multirole machine gun. This technology, in fact, was exported to China 10 years ago. China seems to have upgraded this 35mm gun to an air-defense machine gun.
China's New Era Group Corp. also has been negotiating with Denel for the transfer of African Eagle UAV technologies.
The Chinese introductory brochure of the cooperation program claims that the African Eagle UAV is capable of taking a payload of 500 kilograms, which could be six Mokopa anti-tank missiles or two Umbani MK 81 precision-guided bombs. The theoretical combat radius of the African Eagle is 750 kilometers.
China also hopes to obtain the South African Angel high-altitude and high-speed UAV attacker system. This attacker UAV is capable of carrying precision-guided weapons and attacking targets 1,400 kilometers away. The UAV is also capable of carrying A-Darter AAMs to launch unmanned aerial attacks.
The Angel attacker and reconnaissance UAV is equipped with aperture radar and is capable of conducting tactical reconnaissance missions. It also can be fitted with Mokopa active laser-guided anti-tank missiles to attack armored combat groups. Mokopa is a long-range, precision-guided, anti-armour missile that utilizes the semi-active laser guidance concept. Its high-performance, large-calibre tandem warhead will destroy any foreseen armour threat. System Features; *Multi-purpose, precision-guided missile may be used against a variety of targets and launched from various platforms. *Semi-active laser guidance upgradeable to fire-and-forget. *Excellent price/performance ratios. *Advanced tandem warhead capability (1 350 mm penetration). *Modular airframe facilitates future upgrades (warheads and seekers).
Nonetheless, the source from Denel disclosed that no substantial progress has been made on this project, indicating it may end up as one more failed deal. It remains to be seen whether China's latest explorations with the company will yield technological information it can convert to its own purposes, however.