Wednesday, September 23, 2009
DTN News: Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown To Offer To Cut Royal Navy Nuclear Submarine Fleet *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) LONDON, UK - September 23, 2009: Prime Minister Gordon Brown will announce Britain is prepared to scale back its nuclear capability as part of global disarmament efforts, Downing Street confirmed Wednesday. BAE Systems is building three Astute Class nuclear-powered attack submarines for the UK Royal Navy. The largest, most powerful and stealthiest nuclear attack submarine ever built for the Royal Navy is preparing to leave the BAE Systems shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness for sea trials. Brown will reveal Thursday at a special session of the UN Security Council plans to cut the number of planned replacement nuclear submarines from four to three, a spokeswoman confirmed. Brown will say it is time for "statesmanship not brinkmanship" on nuclear disarmament if the ambition to create a nuclear-free world is genuine, in a speech to the UN General Assembly on Wednesday. "If we are serious about the ambition of a nuclear-free world we will need statesmanship, not brinkmanship," the prime minister will say. Brown will then outline the move at the special session of the UN Security Council devoted to the issue of nuclear non-proliferation, and presided over by US President Barack Obama. The United States will also hold talks with its five counterparts -- Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia -- that have for years been negotiating with Iran on its nuclear programme. Brown will reaffirm Britain's commitment to maintaining an independent nuclear deterrent, but is prepared to reduce the number of new submarines that can launch nuclear missiles, if other countries also move on the issue. Britain's move comes ahead of next year's review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which aims to limit the spread of nuclear weapons around the world, and follows a decision by Washington and Moscow to negotiate a successor to the landmark 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). Brown's government has already outlined its willingness to cut nuclear arms before talks in 2010, to persuade Iran and North Korea to give up their nuclear ambitions. Britain has the fifth largest nuclear arsenal in the world, according to experts. The move on submarines could cut billions of pounds (dollars) from the defence budget over the next decade, reports said, at the same time as the government looks to cut spending to reduce public debt following a binge of spending to pull Britain out of a deep recession. Britain's Vanguard fleet is set to be replaced by the Trident nuclear weapons system at a cost of some 20 billion pounds (22 billion euros, 32 billion dollars) and is forecast to go into service in the 2020s. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament welcomed the move as a "serious and positive first step" towards the elimination of all nuclear weapons. Opposition Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg also applauded the proposal. "It's just unrealistic for us to believe that we can foot the 100 billion pound like-for-like replacement costs for Trident over the next 25 years," Clegg told the BBC. "I think the strategic context in which that decision is taking place is very different as well - we're not facing the Cold War threat in the same way that we once were."
DTN News: BAE Systems Has Announced A New Contract With The US Navy *Source: DTN News / BAE Systems (NSI News Source Info) LONDON, UK - September 23, 2009: BAE Systems, the defence, security and aerospace company that has locations throughout the northwest, has won a new contract from the US Navy. The company will supply missile launching canisters as part of the $41.1 million (£25 million) deal. It will deliver Mk 13 and Mk 25 canisters, which will provide safe storage, transport and launch capabilities for the Mk 41 Vertical Launching System. Mk 13 canisters fire the Standard Missile-2, Block II and III, while Mk 25 canisters fire Evolved SeaSparrow Missiles. Gary Tatge, program director of navy launching systems for BAE Systems, said the canisters "contribute to systems that provide critical defensive weapon support to sailors, giving them an advantage at sea and keeping them safe". Under another contract with the US Navy and Army, BAE will provide identification friend or foe digital transponders and upgrade kits. The $20 million (£12.2 million) deal will help navy and army personnel identify friendly forces, thereby reducing the risk of friendly fire.
DTN News: Airlines News TODAY September 23, 2009 ~ Airbus Expects Orders To Double In Coming Years *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) LONDON, UK - September 23, 2009: Airbus expects global demand for planes to reach 25,000 over the next 25 years, its latest long-term forecast has revealed. In total, the aircraft manufacturer predicts that the value of orders will total £1.9 trillion between 2009 and 2028. The Liverpool Daily Post reports this will be welcome news in Broughton near Chester, where Airbus produces the wings for its planes. With production of some aircraft lasting as long as 30 years, the newspaper explained the importance to manufacturers such as Airbus of long-term forecasts. The plane builder highlighted continued demand for low-cost carriers, increasing numbers of 'mega-cities' and the replacement of older aircraft with modern, efficient airliners as some of reasons for its predictions. It also suggested that aircraft will become bigger as time progresses. Explaining the trend, Airbus chief operating officer for customers said: "We need bigger aircraft. We can't just pave the sky wingtip-to-wingtip with small aeroplanes - congestion will not allow that." (DTN News are currently being issued/published from Cumbria, UK)
DTN News: India's MRCA - My Take Of The Whole MRCA Deal *Source: DTN News / BY : Dr Jaison Jose Manakattu / Mangalore , Karnataka FOR MY TAKE (IDRW.ORG) (NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - September 23, 2009: First of all the budget we have is around $10~12 billion. Aircrafts in contention 1) MiG 35
2) The Eurofighter Typhoon 3) The Dassault Rafale 4) The Saab Gripen NG 5) The F-16 Super Viper 6) The F/A 18 Super Hornet All 6 aircraft’s meet the RFP’s ( guess Rafale not meeting requirements is sorted out now ) . Anyone offering full ToT will surely have the upper hand here. Reliability and service is given top priority because we have to keep them may be for the next 30 yrs or so and this aspect of the fighter would be given more brownie points than flying characters etc. “It’s the biggest fighter aircraft deal since the early 1990s,” said Boeing’s Mark Kronenberg, who runs the company’s Asia/Pacific business. DID has offered ongoing coverage of India’s planned multi-billion dollar jet fighter buy, from its early days as a contest between Dassault, Saab, and MiG for a 126 plane order to the entry of American competitors and even EADS’ Eurofighter.
Equally important will be the AESA. Or else why should everyone offer the AESA as part of the package.Another major factor will be the politics behind it. One factor that could influence could be the time frame of induction. My take about whether it’ll be a single or twin engine fighter who’ll win the competition, I think it wont make any difference as a twin engine fighter has more reliability while a single engine fighter will have much lower operating costs which are both priorities for the IAF. Now let me dissect each of them one by one. 1) THE MIG 35: Since russia and the US are the only two countries that makes every nut and bolt of their fighter jets,the russians are the only ones that can brag about “complete” transfer of technology . Another plus point is that it is so many percentage cheaper than all the other twin engined peers in the competition.Plus we already operate the mig 29 ,our navy is buying them,have MRO facilities, is going to produce RD 33 locally so integration of the MIG 35 into the IAF will be a breeze compared to all the other fighters.We can also customize the aircraft to our needs like the Su 30 MKI.Now the negative points include less reliability , lower tech( the AESA is first gen ), almost total dependency on russia, lack of support and spares which has been a headache for the IAF especially with the Mig 29’s. Also Russia doesn’t offer much of political mileage more than what we have now and ditching them will hurt them,but not so much, as our the major chunk of weaponry, even future ones, is gonna still remain Russian.I guess the russians too believe that they have a huge chance of losing the deal to the west, so there is not going to be a major fallout.Though the Mig 35 has exceptional flying charac, the avionics part is still very much hollow even with the AESA and OLS(the counterpoint that can be given here is that we can customize it to our expected level). The Russian air force has not given a clear indication of inducting it in large numbers and i think they are more inclined towards waiting for the pakfa and this can be a problem as far as support of the aircraft goes in the long term. 2) Eurofighter Typhoon: I’m really appreciative of the aircraft’s capabilities and it is a winner( with the CAESAR ) in all fronts as a weapons platform compared to all other aircraft’s in the competition. But for me this aircraft has the least chance of winning the competition.The EF consortium recently won a 9 billion euro deal for 112 a/c.9 billion euros is around 14 billion US$. and our order is for 126(plus an option of 63 more) .Our budget is 10~12 billion plus we’ll have to shell out money for weapons, support and service for around 30 yrs,ToT, manufacturing facilities for the aircraft and all this is going to be a hell lot of money much above our budget. Yes, 50% of it is gonna come back to us as offsets but then the money we’ve got to pay them in the first place will be exorbitant. Second regarding ToT , I hope they can fulfill that part but the status of their radar is still unclear. Yes the tranche 3 will have an AESA but will it be available for our evaluations is still unknown. They have reportedly tested it back in 2007 but its present status is unclear. On the political front the Europeans have proposed a package which is still unknown. Also on offer is partnership in the euro fighter project for further development but i guess we can arm twist anyone into being part of future development of the platform. Also the fatigue life of the eurofighter is pretty low. around 6000 hrs.This means lower service life which is really bad news especially for the IAF. Also most of the partner nations in EF will spend more resources on purchasing the F 35 when its available. This is highlighted by the Brits cutting back on their commitment towards buying their share of EF’s. Also the new tender called for additional AJT’s for the IAF as they are unhappy with the Hawks, can put a black mark on the companies involved in the EF consortium. Plus point is that if EJ200 engine gets selected for the LCA, EF and LCA will have the same engine. Also the EADS is also helping the LCA to meet is IOC target.Also if the deal happens , the technology being transfered will be top class.. But i think so much is not enough to turn the tide towards the EF with their major drawback being, as i told you.. THE PRICE.. 3) Dassault Rafale: An excellent aircraft, as good as the typhoon, a winner in all fronts except the price tag.The rafale isn’t cheap, might be as costly as the Typhoon. But has a few plus points. The whole aircraft is almost entirely french (may be not as entirely as their American and Russian counterparts) so ToT wont be a problem for the French. Snecma is helping us make the 90 kN Kaveri which we might also be able to use in the rafale if bought. The rafale is going to be the primary aircraft for the french which is only going to complemented by their stealth UCAV which is under development unlike the Typhoon. The Rafale is also the big brother of the mirage 2000 which we operate and was the original choice for the MRCA. The Indian pilots rave about the mirage and the rafale will only be better. With the French promising us the source codes i guess we can equip it with the any weapon system of our choice. The AESA they offer is the only one that is under production other than the american onesThe fact that there is a naval variant too makes the deal very attractive.The french also claim very low operating costs. Plus they’ll be so aggressive in this deal coz they still haven’t won anywhere.They are still hanging on the balance in Brazil . They’ve always been bulldozed by the Americans . Now the negative point is the price. I don’t believe even in my wildest dreams that they can stick to our budget limit unless they give us substantial discounts , also taking into account the the followup order we might place.The typhoon consortium wont be able to do this because its a consortium!! while the rafale can be discounted coz its entirely a french plane and there is no need to convince a bunch of governments about selling a fighter cheaper than what they themselves get. Also the french cant give us anything substantially new politically as they’ve agreed to all our demands (security council seat , nuke deal) long back. The french also has the dirty habit of selling arms to anyone if they get money , even to our neighbor in the west regardless of our concerns. 4) Saab Gripen NG: The first true multirole aircraft that went into production , this one is a truly capable aircraft. It was built from bottom up to be network centric and will truly fit Lock and key into IAF’s network centric doctrine. Plus points include the swash plate AESA( under development , so can be its biggest drawback if it isn’t ready in the stipulated time) , the very low price tag with no aircraft on offer( leaving aside the f 16 sv) so much bang for the buck.Also the data link on the Gripen ,the man-machine interface etc are world class. Its 10 mins refueling and rearming time shows its mission availability and its short take off and landing characteristics will be very attractive to the IAF.The airframe life is 8000 hrs (for the C/D), compared to 6000 hrs for the typhoon. This coupled with very low operating costs(remember it has a single engine) makes it a mouth watering deal. They are also offering more than 50% offset and offering partnership to develop the MCA. The development of the LCA mk ii will be significantly faster with Swedish support. Also like the rafale, the gripen will be the main strike aircraft for the swedes for the next 2-3 decades.So no worries on the support front.The swedes are also offering to integrate any weapon of our choice russian, EU , American and Indian and will let us customize the aircraft any way we want. And if the F 414 gets selected for LCA , it’ll have a common engine with the gripen hence better inventory management. The Gripen will ,as the swedes claim, be the perfect junior partner for the Su 30 MKI (so will the LCA). Also there is a possibility that the Kaveri engine would be fitted into the gripen which if happens would be absolutely great ,both for us and the swedes. Now coming to its negative points, it brings absolutely no political mileage . India can offer the swedes more politically(if they buy the LCA ) than they can offer us. Also their call of “independence” if they buy the platform shouldn’t be taken seriously as they have a significant part of critical aircraft components( engine , radar ) sourced from outside.In my opinion the swedes should’ve selected the Eurojet engine instead of the F 414 for the Gripen NG which would’ve gone a long way lending their independence tag much needed credibility. The LCA mk ii when developed will be strikingly similar in capability and the IAF wouldn’t want two similar aircraft’s in the same class. Also the gripen will be in a tight situation if they lose the Brazilian and Indian deal and would. But that would also make them fight tooth and nail for the deal but how worthwhile is their fight, only time will tell. 5) F-16 super Viper: First things first.. It is American. that means a combination of high technology + the burden of sanctions. The aircraft we are buying should be around for the next 30 years. 30 years is a long time. It was in the last 7-8 years that the Americans have become close to us and they offering us high technology was unthinkable before that.So the next 30 years can also spring in a few surprises. Any thing can happen in this time period from US being our close ally to them slapping us with sanctions. Counter argument can be that there is no guarantee that the Russians wont turn against us and help the Chinese or whatever. But history wise the Americans are more notorious in ditching their partners than the the Russians( for eg take the case of Pakistan) . The Americans deal with the motto “There are no permanent friends, only permanent interests”. I’m no anti american and i believe they were a very responsible superpower(if you forget Iraq , kosovo and Afghanistan ). Now back to F 16 SV. It has a combat ready AESA which is much more advanced than what anyone offers except maybe the AN/APG 79, the platform is combat proven( though not in fights among equals), is agile, comes with advanced sensors and EW suite and as Lockheed martin claims, with some generous sprinkling of 5th gen tech from the F 35 and 22. They are shutting down their production in the US and would want someone to take over its remains and maybe act as a production and support hub for the rest of the world. They are also dangling the F 35 carrot which the navy is somewhat keen to have … Negative points include 4th gen aircraft beefed up to meet our requirements , Indians not very impressed with its capabilities from what they’ve seen from various exercises they’ve participated.The fact that it is gonna be discontinued in the immediate future to make way for the F 35. The typical Indian mindset of i dont want the same car as my neighbor even if it is the latest version. The fact that we’ve to pay 7% royalty to the UAE gov since most of the stuff inside the SV was funded by UAE. And all the reasons stated above when i started writing bout the SV. It was worth buying it if had some 5th gen stuff in it.But i guess the Americans are equating 5th gen=AESA. It would come cheaper than most of the other competitors but i myself is not very inclined towards it ( may be my Indian attitude “Since The whole world has it , i want something new” ). 6) The F/A 18 Super Hornet: Well the Super Bug is a very rugged Aircraft. Any thing capable of carrier landing and take off (including the rafale) would be a very capable one.The SH is also capable of huge payloads and has a very good range compared to all the other aircraft.It is a true multirole/swing role aircraft in every sense.Its RCS is said to be the lowest among the competition, only beaten by the Fifth gen ones. Another strong point is the reliability and the maintenance aspect of the aircraft which is unbeatable in the competition which the IAF is sure to notice. It naturally had to be so as it was made to be Carrier based.The airframe service life is >8600 hrs Also notable is the AESA that comes with it. It is the best that is offered among all the radars and i’m not going in detail bout its specs because it has been dissected and discussed in this same thread. It also has one of the best avionics package and though they dont claim anything to be 5th gen in it , i think it is a much better package than the F 16’s offer. And it would be cheaper than the twin engined euro canards by a mile ( but wont beat the MIG 35) coz of the numbers on order by the USN. Plus it comes with the F 414 on offer to the LCA . Now coming to the not so good aspects of the SH , it is American so everything what i’ve written about the SV would apply here too. The SH isn’t very agile ( it is agile but not as much as the flankers or the eurocanards ). But i don’t think the IAF this time around is concentrating on the close combat aspect of the fighters so this might be forgiven.The SH may also be replaced (or complemented )by the naval variant of the F 35 but the USN might keep it till 2030 at least). Then the problem of ToT. If the americans would’ve given full ToT on this bird i bet there wouldn’t have been any competition coz no one could have matched what the super bug offered. But sadly it isn’t so , throwing the whole competition open. Finally I guess the the competition is between the Rafale , SH and the Gripen ;Yeah, more like the Brazilian tender.What ever differences we have strategically with the Brazilian requirements I’m sure the IAF would be keenly watching it while carrying our evaluation . MY TAKE : Articles are written by Readers of IDRW.org and not by IDRW Team ,Views Expressed are the views of the Readers and not of IDRW.ORG or IDRW TEAM , for more information on MY Take