Iraq Requests Helicopter Sustainment Support

The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Iraq for aviation sustainment support, on-the-job maintenance training and maintenance advice and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $500 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on July 28, 2014.

The Government of Iraq has requested a possible sale to establish five years of contractor logistics support for its Bell 407, OH-58, and Huey II aircraft in support of the Iraq Aviation Command. This support will include maintenance support, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical documentation, site surveys, life support costs, Quality Assurance Teams, U.S. Government and contractor technical, logistics, and engineering support services, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is $500 million.

This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a strategic partner. This proposed sale directly supports the Government of Iraq and serves the interests of the people of Iraq and the United States.

The Government of Iraq needs this logistics support, contractor maintenance, training, and technical services to maintain the operational capabilities of its aircraft.

The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The principal contractor will be Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. of Fort Worth, Texas. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

Implementation of this proposed sale will require approximately five U.S. Government (USG) and 25 contractor representatives to travel to or reside in Iraq for a period of five years to establish maintenance support, on-the-job maintenance training and maintenance advice.

There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.

This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.

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Rapid Equipping Force, PEO Soldier test targeting device

The U.S. Army’s Rapid Equipping Force, in partnership with PEO Soldier, along with PEO Soldier’s Project Management Office PM Soldier Sensors and Lasers, conducted a test in the mountains overlooking White Sands Missile Range, in mid-July.

This test was to evaluate the capabilities of a developmental Hand Held Precision Targeting Device, or HHPTD, a special targeting system that allows Soldiers to engage targets with precision munitions and provide digital connectivity to related units. This Rapid Equipping Force capability is intended to serve as an interim capability for Soldiers while the Joint Effects Targeting System is being developed.

The mountainous terrain and wide ranging temperatures at White Sands Missile Range, or WSMR, make it an ideal testing location for systems such as the HHPTD which require changes in elevation or blocking terrain to accurately gauge the technology’s capabilities.

“This terrain provides an outstanding environment to test the HHPTD under conditions and atmospheres very much like where we intend to deploy the system,” said Captain Dave Rolen, an acquisition officer with Special Operations Command. “We can see the proper ranges, and the proper elevations, and elevation changes from a high point of view down to a low point of view, or up to the side of the canyons and mountains up here.”

The evaluation and usage of the HHPTD in an operational relevant environment like WSMR, and its eventual deployment through the Rapid Equipping Force, will provide capabilities to Soldiers downrange, while informing the larger Joint Effects Targeting System program of record. This is a potentially joint U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Marine Corps program to develop and field a one-man portable precision targeting system.

The goal is to reduce friendly fire and collateral damage by improving the ability of the Soldiers to differentiate between enemy combatants and non-combatants operating in very close proximity to one another.

To best evaluate the Soldier capabilities of a targeting system, Soldiers at WSMR tested a variety of technologies in varying terrain and temperatures, while recording observations and data in order to help set specific, detailed development goals and objectives for the program. Meeting specified requirements is important, but including Soldiers early in the evaluation process ensures acquisition professionals meet Soldiers’ needs to develop suitable equipment.

These “Soldier touch-points” are critical to developing equipment that Soldiers trust and will use in combat.

“Testing at WSMR gives us a better idea of how a system will work when deployed to theater,” said one Soldier involved with the test. “I was able to really get a feel for how the technologies would be employed downrange.”

It is for this reason that WSMR, an Army Test and Evaluation installation, continues to offer Army organizations like PEO Soldier, an ideal location to test and develop equipment. A regular presence allows for technology demonstrations and evaluations in a wide range of environments, from ordinary field conditions to extreme climates.

The similarity between WSMR and the current theater of combat operations enables a more realistic testing environment, resulting in better material solutions being developed for the Soldier.

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Royal Australian Air Force Scores Direct Hit with JSOW C

By on Friday, August 1st, 2014

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) successfully tested a Raytheon Company (RTN) Joint Standoff Weapon C (JSOW C) against a hardened wall target at the RAAF Woomera Test Range. Launched from an F/A-18F Super Hornet at an operationally representative stand-off range and altitude of 25,000 feet, the JSOW C scored a direct hit.

The RAAF test marked the third successful employment of JSOW C this year against one of the most challenging target sets. Previously, two JSOW C air-to-ground weapons also destroyed simulated cave targets in U.S. Navy flight tests at the China Lake flight test range.

“All of these successful shots demonstrate that JSOW C’s tandem warhead with selectable fuse settings is fully capable of defeating targets fortified by the latest in defensive hardening technology,” said Mike Jarrett, vice president of Air Warfare Systems. “JSOW’s tactical stand-off range and extreme accuracy within five feet of the target enable U.S. and allied warfighters to deliver decisive battlefield effects from outside the threat rings of most surface-to-air missiles, denying sanctuary to our adversaries.”

JSOW C is designed to provide fleet forces with robust and flexible capability against high value land targets, at launch ranges up to 70 nautical miles.

JSOW is a family of combat proven, low-cost air-to-ground weapons that employ an integrated GPS-inertial navigation system, with highly capable guidance algorithms; and is the only U.S. standoff weapon in production to fit internally in the Joint Strike Fighter. More than 5,000 JSOWs have been produced since 1997, with more than 400 employed in combat. JSOW C prosecutes fixed land targets, and uses an imaging infrared seeker for increased accuracy in the terminal phase. A JSOW C-1 variant adds the two-way Strike Common Weapon Datalink enabling additional target sets with moving maritime target capability.

Raytheon Company, with 2013 sales of $24 billion and 63,000 employees worldwide, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, security and civil markets throughout the world. Raytheon is headquartered in Waltham, Mass.

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North Korea Test-Fires More Projectiles

North Korea has fired four more short-range projectiles into the sea, the latest in a series of missile and artillery tests.

The South Korean Defense Ministry says the North fired two Wednesday morning and two more later in the day from an area northeast of Pyongyang. The type of projectile used is not yet known.

It is not clear if the weapons landed on the ground in North Korea or made it to the water off its east coast.

The recent increase in weapons tests, many of which defy a United Nations ban on missile tests by Pyongyang, has helped raise tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

An official with South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said in a telephone interview with VOA’s Korean service Wednesday that Pyongyang’s ballistic missile launches will be discussed by the U.N. Security Council next week.

Lee Ho-ryong, at the Korea Institute of Defense Analyses, says North Korean tests are part of a long-term plan by Pyongyang.

“It is part of [North Korea's] efforts to find a strategically advantageous position in the future,” he said. “That being said, the United Nations will need to consider the option of sanctions in a serious manner.”

On Tuesday, Admiral Samuel Locklear, who heads the U.S. military’s Pacific Command, told reporters that North Korea’s weapons activities are a major cause for concern.

“The proliferation activities of North Korea, their desire for nuclear missiles and nuclear capabilities, as we’ve said over and over again, are highly threatening to the global security environment,” he said.

Locklear made the remarks two days after a senior North Korean military official threatened to launch a nuclear strike against the United States, accusing Washington of increasing tensions on the Korean peninsula.

The U.S., South Korea and other nations have been pushing North Korea to halt its nuclear and ballistic weapons programs, which are in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

On Monday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to increase U.S. sanctions on North Korea to prevent Pyongyang’s development and proliferation of weapons technology. The bill still needs to be passed by the Senate and signed by the president before becoming law.

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Strategic Agility Is the Future of the Air Force

As the Air Force prepares for new challenges and opportunities of the coming decades, it faces sobering 21st-century realities: global centers of power have become more distributed and the terrorism threat more dispersed. Most importantly, the emerging environment is demonstrating a trend that could prove to be the defining one of current times: the accelerating pace of change.

Thus, the Air Force’s ability to continue to adapt and respond faster than the potential adversaries is the greatest challenge it faces during the next 30 years.

To meet the challenge, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James and Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Mark A. Welsh III have developed a strategic framework that will guide Air Force planning and resourcing over the next several decades. The framework has three main elements: a long-term future look that provides the vectors and imperatives necessary to guide planning activities, a 20-year resource-informed plan, and a 10-year balanced budget, based on fiscal projections.

The first document of the trilogy, “America’s Air Force: A Call to the Future,” is the cornerstone guidance for a unified path to the future. The document emphasizes the need for strategy-driven resource decisions. But more important is the courage to make bold change, because Airmen must think and do things differently to thrive in the 21st century.

In an era defined by rapid change, the institution that can keep pace in its processes, thinking, and actions will be the one best poised for success in deterring conflict, and winning should a fight be required. This is what “A Call to the Future” refers to as strategic agility.

Agility combines the attributes of flexibility and adaptability to leverage speed. The rate at which the Air Force develops capabilities needs to increase to match the pace of change and the opportunities to incorporate new technologies and improve existing systems.

James explained further that, “In addition to strategic agility, our nation demands an Air Force capable of harnessing diverse ideas and perspectives. Diversity, total force integration, and building internal and external partnerships provide the nation with the Air Force it expects, deserves, and needs.”

The most important responsibility of a military service is to provide decision makers with viable solutions for the challenges of tomorrow and, true to Air Force heritage, it will meet that challenge. The Air Force will continue to deliver enduring, responsive airpower for national security through both the strength of Airmen and the responsive and effective application of global vigilance, global reach, and global power for America.

As Welsh stated earlier in 2014, “The five core missions of the Air Force are not going to change. These missions are what the combatant commanders and the nation expect us to provide, but the way we think about how they are provided has to change. The Air Force must have the strategic agility required to successfully respond to the complex challenges that will confront our nation.”

America’s Air Force: A Call to the Future (24 downloads)

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North Korea may be closer to full ICBM test: US think-tank

Fresh satellite images suggest North Korea might be wrapping up engine trials on an intercontinental ballistic missile, fueling speculation of a full-scale flight test to come, a US think-tank said Wednesday.

Development of a working ICBM would be a game-changing step, bringing the continental United States into range and adding a whole new threat level to the North’s regular nuclear-strike warnings.

“The rocket engine test program may wind down by the end of this year,” The US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University said on its closely followed 38 North website.

“If the engine tests are concluded, the next stage in development of the KN-08 road-mobile ICBM may be full-scale flight tests of the missile,” it added.

It stressed, however, that it was unclear just how successful the tests had been.

Regular satellite analysis has shown a major construction program underway at North Korea’s Sohae Satellite Launching Station since mid-2013, focused on upgrading facilities to handle larger, longer-range rockets with heavier payloads.

Although there is no doubt that North Korea has an extremely active ballistic missile development program, expert opinion is split on just how much progress it has made.

Images taken this month showed the gantry height on the main launch pad had increased to more than 50 meters, while a wider access road and rail spur capable of transporting larger rockets to the pad were either finished or nearing completion.

“These modifications could be completed by 2015,” the 38 North website said.

The images also showed evidence of new engine tests, including the presence of first stage rocket motors and distressed vegetation along the edges of the flame path.

The KN08 was first unveiled at a military parade in April 2012, but many analysts dismissed the models on show as mock-ups.

In December the same year, Pyongyang demonstrated its rocket capabilities by sending a satellite in orbit on a multi-stage launch vehicle.

But it has yet to conduct a test that would show it had mastered the re-entry technology required for an effective ICBM.

Over the past month or so, North Korea has conducted a series of short and medium range missile tests, which were largely seen as a muscle-flexing exercise in response to South Korea-US joint military drills.

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North Korea defies UN censure to fire missile into sea

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un guided the military’s latest rocket-firing drill, state media said Sunday, confirming the missile launch which was conducted in defiance of UN censure.

Saturday’s launch was the first since the UN Security Council on July 17 officially condemned Pyongyang for its recent series of ballistic missile tests, in violation of UN resolutions.

The North’s state news agency KCNA described the missile launch by the army as a “rocket-firing drill” to simulate a strike on military bases in South Korea where 28,500 US troops are stationed.

“(Kim) examined a firing plan mapped out in consideration of the present location of the US imperialist aggressor forces’ bases… and under the simulated conditions of the battle to strike and destroy them before guiding the drill,” it said.

The launch was intended to mark the July 27 anniversary of the ceasefire agreement at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, KCNA said.

It did not say where the drill took place.

Seoul’s army said earlier the North had fired a short-range missile into the sea Saturday night — the latest in a recent series of launches that heightened tension on the peninsula.

The North often fires missiles and rockets as a show of force or to express anger at perceived provocations, but the frequency of the recent tests — six in the past month — is unusual.

“The North fired… a short-range ballistic missile into the East Sea (Sea of Japan) at 9:40 pm (12:40 GMT),” a spokesman for Seoul’s defence ministry told AFP.

- Close to border -

The missile, with an estimated range of 500 kilometers (300 miles), was fired in the northeastern direction from Jangsan Cape in the North’s western coast — only 12 miles away from the tense sea border with the South, he said.

Pyongyang’s recent missile launches were carried out at locations increasingly close to the border with the South — a move analysts say is aimed at stepping up threats against Seoul.

The flashpoint maritime border on the Yellow Sea was a scene of several bloody naval clashes and the North’s shelling of a border island in 2010 that left four South Koreans including two civilians dead.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Tokyo had lodged a “strong protest” to the North against the latest launch.

“We need to let North Korea know that development of nuclear and missiles cannot go together with economic development,” Abe told reporters during his trip to Mexico.

UN resolutions bar North Korea from conducting any launches using ballistic missile technology.

The UN’s latest criticism on the North met with an angry response from the North, which called it “absolutely intolerable” and defended the missile launches as a response to “madcap war manoeuvres” by the US.

The launch came as Pyongyang has been playing hawk and dove in recent weeks, mixing its tests with peace gestures that have been largely dismissed by Seoul.

The two Koreas are currently trying to sort out logistics for the North’s participation in the Asian Games, which begin in September in the South Korean city of Incheon.

“Our military sees the launch by North Korea, conducted while expressing its will to participate in the upcoming Incheon Asian Games, as part of its traditional dual strategy of engagement and pressure,” Seoul’s military spokesman said.

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