Monthly Archives: July 2012

F-22 Raptors Arrive in Okinawa

One of eight F22A landing at Kadena AFB in Okinawa, Japan following the cross-ocean flight from the USA.

The first contingent of United States Air Force (USAF) F-22 Raptor stealth fighters arrived at Kadena Air Force Base located on Japan’s southernmost island of Okinawa on 28 July. USAF leaders see this deployment as an opportunity to demonstrate that the oxygen problems that have plagued the F-22 have been resolved and to highlight the safety and superior capabilities of the aircraft.

Eight of the Lockheed Martin Raptors landed at Kadena early Saturday evening with an additional four aircraft scheduled to arrive in the near future. The Air Force has been quoted as saying that this deployment represents the first step towards a return to “normal” operations. In flying to Okinawa, the aircraft followed a flight path that ensured the pilots had a landing site within range in case of an emergency and they flew at a lower altitude to lessen the possibility of a repeat of the oxygen problems that have led to the grounding of the aircraft in the past.

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta approved the deployment of the Raptors to Japan and authorized an easing of flight restrictions on 24 July because, he stated, the Air Force had identified the cause of the hypoxia mishaps and initiated corrective measures to resolve the issue.

Recurring incidents of hypoxia, resulting from a disruption in the flow of oxygen, are believed to be attributable to a valve in the pilot’s pressurized vest. The Air Force says that the valve would sometimes cause the pressure vest to inflate and remain inflated creating a situation that limited the pilot’s ability to breath. Corrective measures include increasing the volume of oxygen reaching the pilot, replacement of the affected valves, and removal of a filter designed to detect contaminants in the aircraft’s life-support system.

In contrast to the recent spate of intense Japanese opposition to the deployment of Marine Corps MV-22B Ospreys to Okinawa, deployment of the F-22 Raptors has not ignited any significant protests in Japan.

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Cybercom Chief: US Unprepared for Serious Cyber Attacks

By on Monday, July 30th, 2012

The United States is not adequately prepared for a serious cyber attack, the commander of U.S. Cyber Command told the audience at the Aspen Institute’s annual security forum today.

Army Gen. Keith Alexander, who also serves as the director of the National Security Agency and the chief of the Central Security Service, said that, in terms of preparation for a cyber attack on a critical part of its network infrastructure, the U.S. is at a three on a scale of one to ten.

The problem of defending the nation from a cyber attack is complicated, Alexander said. It’s not just a question of preparing the Department of Defense or federal networks. Private industry also has to be defended.

“Industry has a variety of capabilities,” Alexander said. While networks serving the financial community are well-defended, others sectors need help.

Key to developing a strong cyber security infrastructure is educating its users, Alexander said. “We have a great program, it’s jointly run by [the National Security Agency] and [the Department of Homeland Security] working with over 100 different colleges and universities to set up an information assurance/cyber security portfolio,” he said.

Ensuring people who didn’t grow up in the Internet age are security-aware is one of the major challenges facing those who secure the network, Alexander said.

The number of exploits of mobile technology has almost doubled over the past year, he said, and many people don’t realize that phones are tied into the same digital network infrastructure as computers.

Alexander defined exploits as the means that a hacker uses to penetrate a system, including mobile phones or tablets, to potentially steal files and credentials or jump to another computer.

“The attack surfaces for adversaries to get on the internet now include all those mobile devices,” Alexander said. And mobile security lags behind that of cyber security for landline devices like desktop computers.

Alexander said the Department of Defense, in concert with agencies like the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, works together with industry to secure network devices.

“If we identify a problem, we jointly give that back to industry and say ‘Here’s a problem we found,’” Alexander said.

Using the nuclear model, or concentrating solely on major nation-states, to analyze the cyber threat is wrong, he said. Several nations are capable of serious cyber attacks, he explained, but anyone who finds vulnerabilities in the network infrastructure could cause tremendous problems.

Industry and government must work as a team to combat these threats, Alexander said.

“There are great folks in industry who have some great insights,” he said. “That’s the only way that we can prevent those several states from mounting a real attack on this nation’s cyber.”

In addition, deterrence theory worked for nuclear weapons in part because the decision time was much slower than it is for cyber threats.

“A piece of information can circumnavigate the globe in about 133-134 milliseconds,” he said. “Your decision space in cyber [is] half that—60 seconds.”

“My concern is…you’ve seen disruptions like in Estonia in 2007, in Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, you could go on,” he said. “We’ve seen them here in the United States… What I’m concerned about is the shift to destructive [attacks]. Those are the things that will hurt our nation.”

Disruptive attacks, like distributed denial-of-service attacks, are aimed at interrupting the flow communication or finance, but aren’t designed to cause long-term damage.

In contrast, destructive attacks are designed to destroy parts of the network infrastructure, like routers or servers, which would have to be replaced in order to resume normal operations, Alexander said. In some cases this could take weeks or months.

Congress is considering bills that would give the Department of Homeland Security a greater role in setting performance requirements for network industries. Alexander said this legislation is important to assist in setting network infrastructure standards.

Both parties have something to bring to the table, he said. Industry knows things that government doesn’t, and government knows things that industry doesn’t.

“If we were to be completely candid here, the reality is that industry is getting hacked [and] government is getting hacked,” he said. “What we need to do is come together and form best practices.”

Government-civil partnerships open up the possibility that the U.S. can accomplish things in cyber space that no other nation has the capability to accomplish, Alexander said.

“When we put together this ability for our nation to work as a team in cyber space, what that allows us to do now is do things that other countries aren’t capable of doing in defending the nation,” Alexander said.

Because attributing the source of a cyber attack is difficult, the focus is currently on defense rather than offense, Alexander said.

“Today, the offense clearly has the advantage,” he said. “Get cyber legislation in there, bring industry and government together, and now we have the capability to say ‘You don’t want to attack us. We can stop it and there are other things that we can do to really make this hurt.’”

“The key is having a defensible capability that can survive that first onslaught,” Alexander said.

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‘Super-JAS’ Costlier Than Expected: Report

By on Monday, July 30th, 2012

The Swedish Armed Forces will have to cut back on billions of kronor by next year if they want to afford putting the new super jet JAS Gripen into production, according to a report by national broadcaster Sveriges Radio (SR).

The military in March supported an earlier proposition voted through in the Riksdag that Sweden should develop up to ten of the E/F model JAS.

But according to SR, the army and the government in May received a cost prediction from the Saab Defence Group, a figure reportedly way above what was expected.

In January, SR reported that the expected price tag on the development of the new super jet would reach the vicinity of 32-33 billion kronor ($4.7-4.8 billion), but this figure has allegedly since risen significantly, according to the broadcaster.

This puts new strain on an already stretched Swedish Armed Forces, which had already come to the conclusion that economies have to be made and that policy decisions about future cut-backs or more government hand-outs must be taken.

Several sources have revealed to SR that the military on Monday will be informing the government that billions of kronor must be cut back from the development of other weapons systems planned for 2013 and 2014 to be able to afford developing the new super jet.

At the same time, the army has long warned that several other weapons systems are in crucial need of updating.

Lieutenant General Jan Salestrand of the Swedish Armed Forces was unwilling to disclose any particulars but told SR that it is a complicated situation.

“An upgrade is necessary if we want to have an air force system in the 2020s and toward 2030 to equal the development in the rest of the world. At the same time, from the military’s point of view, it cannot be done at any price,” he told the broadcaster.

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EADS Delivers 14th HC-144A Ocean Sentry to US Coast Guard

By on Monday, July 30th, 2012

The U.S. Coast Guard took delivery this week of its 14th HC-144A Ocean Sentry maritime patrol aircraft from prime contractor EADS North America. The Ocean Sentry is based on the Airbus Military CN235 tactical airlifter, more than 250 of which are currently in operation by 27 countries.

The latest aircraft will join a fleet of Ocean Sentries performing in a range of different roles from Coast Guard Air Stations in Cape Cod, Mass., Mobile, Ala., and Miami. The Coast Guard utilizes the Ocean Sentry’s ten-hour endurance and advanced sensors for missions including search and rescue, drug and migrant interdiction, cargo and personnel transport, intelligence/surveillance/reconnaissance, and disaster relief.

“We’re very proud to support the Coast Guard as it executes an increasingly demanding variety of air and sea-borne missions with a limited number of assets. The Ocean Sentry is essential to the service’s ability to rapidly and affordably project capability where it’s most needed,” said Sean O’Keefe, EADS North America Chairman and CEO.

The Coast Guard plans for a fleet of 36 Ocean Sentries. The latest aircraft delivery is the last of three HC-144As delivered under a base contract awarded to EADS North America in August 2010. The Coast Guard exercised options for three additional aircraft within the last year, calling for delivery of the 15th HC-144A in 2013, and aircraft 16 and 17 in 2014. The service can exercise options for up to three additional Ocean Sentries during the next two years.

Since it began service in 2008, the HC-144A has gained notoriety in high-profile missions ranging from responding to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and 2010 Haiti earthquake to interdicting narcotics smugglers in “drug sub” semi-submersibles.

EADS North America delivers the turboprop HC-144A with a search radar, electro-optical and infrared cameras, an Automatic Identification System for data collection from vessels at sea, and a communications suite. The aircraft’s rear cargo ramp enables easy loading and unloading of the Coast Guard’s palletized mission system. During airlift, cargo, and MEDEVAC missions, the mission system can be removed and the cabin easily reconfigured. The rear ramp also can be opened in flight to deploy search-and-rescue equipment.

EADS North America is the U.S.-based operation of EADS, a global leader in aerospace, defense, and related services. EADS contributes more than $12 billion to the U.S. economy annually and supports over 220,000 American jobs through its network of suppliers. EADS North America, headquartered in Herndon, Va., offers a broad array of advanced solutions to meet U.S. military and commercial requirements, including fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, homeland security systems, public safety communications, defense electronics and avionics, and threat detection systems.

Airbus Military is the only military and civic/humanitarian transport aircraft manufacturer to develop, produce, sell and support a comprehensive family of airlifters ranging from three to 45 tonnes of payload. An Airbus daughter company, Airbus Military is responsible for the A400M programme, as well as the Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) A330 and for further military derivatives based on Airbus civil aircraft.

EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defense and related services. In 2010, the Group — comprising Airbus, Astrium, Cassidian and Eurocopter — generated revenues of EUR 45.8 billion and employed a workforce of nearly 122,000.

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Reserve A-10 pilots debut new technology at RIMPAC

By on Monday, July 30th, 2012

In its first operational test with maritime operations, nine 47th Fighter Squadron A-10 Thunderbolt II pilots are debuting new helmet and survival radio technologies during the Rim of the Pacific exercise here June 29 through Aug. 3.

One of the new technologies is the Scorpion system, which is integrated into the pilot’s current helmet, said Lt. Col. Tom McNurlin of the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command Test Center in Tucson, Ariz.

According to McNurlin, the new helmet system takes all the information in the aircraft and positions it on the ground so that each pilot can look at a heads-up display and know exactly where the targets are positioned on the ground without ever losing visual contact of these targets.

“This system is three times as accurate (as what is currently fielded), full color and supports 512 lines of sight,” he added. “It is a huge safety improvement and situational improvement.”

McNurlin and two other pilots from the test center and one from the 53rd Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., are overseeing the operations during RIMPAC, which is the first time the technology has been tested during a large-scale maritime operation.

The 47th Fighter Squadron was tasked with the testing of the system due to the fact that they were going to be involved in RIMPAC, and the system needed to be tested in a fully operational environment.

“This system has greatly enhanced situational awareness and the ability to target more dynamically and quickly,” said Lt. Col. Robin Sandifer, a pilot with the 47th Fighter Squadron, who has tested the system. “It is any effective way to positively identify a target on the ground or in the air.”

Prior to coming to the exercise, McNurlin and his team visited the 47th FS at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., to familiarize the pilots and life support with the system, said Tech. Sgt. Arnold Davis, a technician with the 47th FS life support. The team spent a week working with the unit to learn the nuances of this helmet compared to the current one.

The changes seemed straight forward when it came to modifying the existing equipment, said Davis. The designers of the Scorpion system allowed their modifications to go with what is already installed on the helmet.

“We may just have to remove one of our brackets and add one of theirs,” he said. “It’s a pretty easy transition from the regular helmet to the Scorpion helmet.”

In addition to Scorpion, another technology was also tested during RIMPAC: the Lightweight Airborne Recovery System, known as LARS. According to McNurlin, the system is an advanced radio communication system that interfaces with the fielded Air Force search and rescue radios and is compatible with the current survival radio A-10 pilots carry.

“We hit a button, it interrogates the radio, responds to us and we know exactly where they are,” McNurlin explained on how the system works in aiding in search and rescue of downed pilots.

Both the Scorpion and LARS interface through the Suite 7B Operational Flight Program, which is the software that pulls it all together. The total system began development in 2010 and is scheduled to begin fielding in October of this year.

The installation of this system has been a requirement for the aircraft for some time, and this requirement will finally become a reality when the systems are installed across the Air Force’s fleet of A-10s within 12 to 18 months, said McNurlin. Once started, each installation will take approximately three weeks and will take place at the Aircraft Maintenance and Regeneration Group at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.

As for the testing at RIMPAC, it has been a great opportunity and success for the test center, said McNurlin. “The fusion between the test and the operational world has gone well.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to integrate into a large force exercise with this system to identify any issues before we go to the field.”

“I think it is an incredible new capability,” added Sandifer.

Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC exercise from June 29 to Aug. 3, in and around the Hawaiian Islands. The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2012 is the 23rd exercise in the series that began in 1971.

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Rapid Equipping Force displays new technology at Pentagon

By on Monday, July 30th, 2012

When Soldiers in the field have an immediate need for a new technology or piece of equipment, they don’t have time to wait for it: They need it now.

This is where the Army Rapid Equipping Force, or REF, steps in. Personnel from REF displayed their wares in the Pentagon courtyard, July 26, in an effort to educate the Army on the kinds of services they can provide.

“Our main focus is to make sure that [Soldiers] get the equipment they need quickly,” said Jose Olivero, the REF chief of operations.

While regular equipping can take up to several years, REF is able to disperse needed technology in a relatively short time, sometimes in a matter of days or weeks. Olivero attributes this speed to both fewer jurisdictions to cross and fewer amounts of equipment sent out in comparison to the regular Army.

Olivero said REF leadership is empowered to expend funds and equip specific units as needed.

“For us, equipping means limited quantities for a specific unit for a specific purpose, whereas Big Army fields Army-wide, so they can’t afford to take the risk,” Olivero said.

The purpose of the event held at the Pentagon was to illustrate the types of equipment and technology that are being prototyped and shipped out to wherever Soldiers require them.

Among the machines exhibited were the Integrated-Blast Effect Sensor Suite, or I-BESS, which monitors blasts from explosions in an effort to link a specific explosion with a head trauma; the Eye-TRAC Assessment, which shows cognitive impairment; the Project Expeditionary Lab, a mobile lab for Soldiers in the field who need to develop technology while in theater; and the SandFlea, a robot with the capability of jumping 30 meters into the air whose primary function is to detect improvised explosive devices, or IEDs.

“[The SandFlea] is designed to protect the Soldiers,” said REF contractor Ryan Vangel, who was the spokesman for the SandFlea at the event. Vangel said Soldiers are asking for the ability to look on top of a roof or over walls, without having to go into a building.

Vangel explained that the SandFlea allows Soldiers to spot danger without putting themselves at risk.

Many of the prototypes on display only have a few copies currently available. For example, according to REF public affairs officer Ali Sanders, only two samples of the Small Tactical Multi-Payload Aerostat System, or STMPAS — a large balloon-like machine used for surveillance — exist in the world at this time. That small-scale manufacturing is what gives the REF its flexibility, Sanders said.

“We do things on a test basis,” she said. “If it’s something that the Army appreciates and they want to use more often, they’ll field it out for all the Army.”

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China, Indonesia Begin Missile Talks

28 Juli 2012

Phase 1 ison semi-knocked down production while Phase 2 is on completely-knocked downproduction.  A proposal for a Phase 3 onresearch and development is already on the table although the focus iscurrently on the first two phases. (photo : ifeng)
China andIndonesia have started talks on the ambitious local production of C-705anti-ship missiles as part ofIndonesia’s efforts to achieve independence in weapons production.
The defensecooperation reflects strengthening ties between both countries amid heighteningtension in the South China Sea involving China and a number of Indonesia’sASEAN neighbors.
DefenseMinistry chief spokesman Brig. Gen. Hartind Asrin said that the initial talkswere conducted during the first China-Indonesia defense industry cooperationmeeting held in Jakarta on Wednesday.
Theministry’s defense potential director general Pos M. Hutabarat hosted theChinese delegation which was led by Liu Yunfeng, a deputy director general atthe Chinese State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry forNational Defense (SASTIND).
“The meetingdiscussed various efforts to improve cooperation between the defense industriesof both countries,” Hartind said on Thursday. “We’ve already prepared an areafor the [missile] production site that faces the open sea for trials.”
Hartind saidthe C-705 had a range of 120 kilometers.
He said thatthe Indonesian Navy had successfully test-fired the C-705 missiles in the SundaStrait.
“China hasalso offered to donate weapons systems that Indonesia might need,” he added.
A sourcesaid that Indonesia was expected to reply to Phase 1 of the missile proposal atthe end of August and Phase 2 one month later. A contract is expected to besigned in 2013.
Phase 1 ison semi-knocked down production while Phase 2 is on completely-knocked downproduction.
A proposalfor a Phase 3 on research and development is already on the table although thefocus is currently on the first two phases.
Aside fromthe missile production, a number of Indonesian Army Special Force Command(Kopassus) members recently conducted the second “Sharp Knife” joint exercisewith Chinese Special Forces operatives earlier this month in Jinan, Shandong,China.
China hasalso offered to train 10 pilots from the Indonesian Air Force to train using aSukhoi simulator in China.
Commentingon the defense cooperation, defense expert Andi Widjajanto said the industrial cooperation was solely to gain access tomore advanced technology.
“However, itwill take a long time for us to be independent in the defense industry, perhapsafter 2024. This is the reason Indonesia builds partnerships with manycountries that possess modern military technologies,” he said. “This is alsowhy we require partner countries to transfer their technologies to us in anyagreement we sign with them.”
Andi addedthat there were two goals in terms of the partnership: to access advancedrocket technology, and to collaborate in upholding maritime security, whichbegan when President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono signed an agreement in Marchduring a state visit to Beijing.
“I don’tbelieve it has anything to do with conflicts in the South China Sea,” hestressed.
Meanwhile,chairman of the House of Representatives’ Commission I on defense issues,Mahfudz Shiddiq, said such global partnerships in the defense industry weredesigned to develop Indonesia’s own industry.
“We haveallocated Rp 150 trillion [US$15.8 billion] to modernize our weapons-defensesystem from 2010 to 2014. It would be wasteful paying such a huge amount toforeign defense industries without any attempt to improve our own,” he said.
“Therefore,we require partner countries to transfer their military technologies in thehope that they will gradually improve our own technologies.”
He addedthat the partnership with China was due to its advanced military technologiesin fields such as rocketry. “This is not political, even though others mightlink the partnership to political issues, for example the South China Seadisputes,” Machfudz said.
Indonesiaalready cooperates on weapons production with several other countries includingSouth Korea to build jet fighters and submarines, the Netherlands to buildfrigates and Spain to build medium transport aircraft.

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