Monthly Archives: July 2013

First Tranche 3 Typhoon Is On the Move

By on Monday, July 29th, 2013

The first Tranche 3 Typhoon, BS116, has been transferred from final assembly to the paint shop facility where it spent two weeks getting a makeover – check out the video and learn more about the painting process.

Next pit stop

The Tranche 3 jet will progress to the hush house, our sound-proofed engine testing facility, for a series of engine ground runs in the next few weeks. First test flights are expected to take place in September/October 2013.

Tranche 3 capability includes over 350 modified parts designed, engineered and assembled ready to incorporate the most advanced capability enhancements.

Capability enhancements

Enhancements include provision for conformal fuel tanks and extra electrical power and cooling to cater for an E-Scan radar which will enhance performance, reliability and availability whilst delivering lower support costs for Typhoon customers. Extra computing power and high speed data network systems will give the aircraft capacity for even more capability in the future.

About the Tranche 3A contract

Under the Tranche 3A contract signed in 2009, a total of 112 aircraft have been ordered for the four European partner nations of Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, with 40 aircraft bound for the Royal Air Force.

Deliveries of Tranche 3 Typhoons are expected to start later this year.

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German Auditor Criticizes Euro Hawk Drone Project Failings

By on Monday, July 29th, 2013

A German government auditor has criticized the Defense Ministry’s level of financial oversight surrounding a failed drone program. The Euro Hawk project was described as having “many weaknesses.”

According to auditors, the government spent 668 million euros ($822 million) in developing the Euro Hawk drone program, but it was canceled this year after it was unable to be granted permission to fly in EU airspace.

“We discovered the [financial] controlling had not functioned,” auditor Angelika Bauch told a parliamentary committee of inquiry on Wednesday. “There was no proper expert oversight.”

“There are many weaknesses in the running of the project,” she added, saying program leaders lacked a “culture of responsibility.”

The project became a controversial issue for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative government following its cancelation. The opposition has jumped on the issue ahead of Germany’s September 22 elections, demanding Defense Minister Thomas De Maiziere resign.

Defense minister stands firm

De Maiziere has argued that he was unaware of the problems surrounding the project and that his subordinates concealed the cost overruns. He has rejected calls to for him to step down, saying he would stay in office to reform the defense ministry.

Bauch told the committee that ministers and senior defense officials had let the project run itself during its 12 years of existence. However, it was the responsibility of a minister to demand information about programs “at regular levels” and not to simply rely on it being offered, Bauch said.

Bauch said that the defense ministry should have considered canceling the project as early as 2009. De Maiziere took office in 2011.

The defense minister is expected to go before the committee next week.

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The French White Paper on Defence and National Security

By on Monday, July 29th, 2013

The national security strategy will help France to ward off risks and threats, direct or indirect, likely to endanger the life of the nation. This concept, introduced by the 2008 White Paper and enshrined in law in 2009, has been confirmed. It is grounded in recognizing the continuity of the internal and external threats menacing France, its territory, population and security interests. It enables France to assess all the different dimensions of these threats and organize its response to them. Deterrence and military interventions are two cornerstones of our strategy.

The level of threat and the climate of uncertainty characterizing our international environment since 2008 have not diminished. Our analysis must now take three phenomena into consideration: threats related to power, risks related to weakness, threats and risks intensified by globalization.

The White Paper clearly sets forth the strategic priorities resulting from our duty to protect French citizens, on the one hand, and assume our international responsibilities, on the other: protecting the national territory and French nationals abroad; guaranteeing the security of Europe and the North Atlantic space, with our partners and allies; stabilizing Europe’s near environment, with our partners and allies; and contributing to peace and international security in the world, including Africa, Middle East, Indian Ocean, and beyond.

Capitalizing both on France’s full engagement in NATO and the pragmatic revitalization of the European defence policy, the White Paper remodels general strategy and military strategy to build a new armed forces model, with a specific emphasis on cyber defence and intelligence.

The French White Paper on Defence and National Security (0)

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Australia and Indonesia Sign Memorandum of Sale for C-130H Hercules

Today in Perth, Indonesian Defence Minister Purnomo and I witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Sale between Australia and Indonesia for five C 130H aircraft and associated equipment.

During my visit to Jakarta in April this year, I confirmed that the Australian Government was willing to sell five C-130H aircraft, along with a simulator and spare parts, to Indonesia at a discounted rate.

This offer was in addition to the four C-130H aircraft that Australia is currently in the process of transferring to Indonesia following discussions between our respective leaders in November 2011.

The sale of a further five C-130H transport aircraft will further enhance Indonesia’s capacity to respond to natural disasters and humanitarian crisis.

The Memorandum of Sale was signed by Australia’s Chief of the Defence Force, General Hurley, and Indonesia’s Head of Defence Facilities Agency, Rear Admiral Lubis.

The Memorandum sets out the arrangements for the sale of the five aircraft, simulator and spare parts to Indonesia.

Australia is pleased to continue to assist the development of Indonesia’s airlift capability, which will support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.

The sale of these additional aircraft and associated equipment reflects the strength of the bilateral relationship between Australia and Indonesia, and the close ties between the Australian and Indonesian Defence forces.

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US, allies test unmanned ground systems

The Maneuver Battle Lab revealed a glimpse into the future as the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organization nations collaborated to use one another’s robots in military operations.

The lab conducted an interoperability experiment July 17 at the McKenna Urban Operations Complex to demonstrate how U.S., Turkish and German technical developers could use their respective controllers and integrated software to share and operate other country’s unmanned ground systems to complete tactical tasks.

Jim Parker, associate director of Ground Vehicle Robotics at the Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center in Warren, Mich., said the use of unmanned ground systems is in its infancy as a military capability, but engineers are making tremendous advancements toward interoperable robotics with NATO allies.

“Over the last decade, the majority of their use on the ground has been in support of explosive ordinance missions,” he said. “What we’re looking to do is expand the capability of the robotic platform so they can do more and more to help the Soldiers on the field.”

Tollie Strode, project officer with Unmanned Systems Team for the Maneuver Battle Lab, said after hours of software integration and testing, teams of engineers used the U.S., Turkish and German controllers to maneuver the Talon IV and Turkish Kaplan robots alongside Soldiers through an urban village and wooded environment. Future robots would be able to receive missions and self-navigate in the same terrain while being monitored by operators along scripted paths to detect explosive devices and reduce the risk of injuries among Soldiers.

Strode said the robots might also be used to complete sustainment tasks such as ammunition and water resupply or medical tasks including casualty evacuation. The ability to use another country’s unmanned ground systems presents a wide range of opportunities and benefits in missions ranging from peacekeeping to combat.

“We’re gaining a first step in gaining interoperability with our NATO allies, which is a key thrust going forward as well as providing inoperability standards that allows us to leverage into the commercial industry and give us advance technologies,” Parker said.

Officers and NCOs observed the robots and controllers in action to provide operational feedback about their interoperability. Capt. Stephen Akins, of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 199th Infantry Brigade, recently graduated from Captains Career Course and looks forward to future advancement in the field.

“It’s a great opportunity to see the equipment and see what these new robots can do,” Akins said. “Instead of having a Soldier take a look at something suspicious, you could have an unmanned vehicle take a look … to avoid injury.”

Maj. James Farrer, executive officer of the Maneuver Battle Lab, said the experiment is a positive step in the process of creating technology that is efficient and effective for tomorrow’s warfare strategies.

“We all look to the future, and we all look forward to collaboration and having commonality and coalitions to make interoperability between nations easier,” he said. “I think experimentation, even in its current climate is even more important than before.”

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KAI Publishes Small KF-X Concept

25 Juli 2013

KFX-E stealthy fighter concept based on its T-50 series (image : KAI)

Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has published a drawing of a moderately stealthy fighter concept based on its T-50 series of supersonic trainers and light-attack aircraft. The concept aircraft is far smaller and less ambitious than the all-new, twin-engine KF-X designs promoted by the Agency for Defense Development, the leading proponent of building an indigenous South Korea fighter.

Some South Korean industry officials doubt that the country has the technical resources to build the KF-X, especially if major civil aerospace programs go ahead at the same time; a 90-seat turboprop airliner is also proposed. But a KF-X derived from a current type would demand less engineering and may benefit from stronger pricing by avoiding competition with the Lockheed Martin F-35, although Saab is already in the market for advanced but moderately sized fighters with its Gripen E/F.

The T-50 and its FA-50 light fighter derivative are themselves based on the F-16 and were developed with help from Lockheed Martin, but the stealthy concept, called KF-X-E, departs from the F-16 planform used for the earlier aircraft. Some wing and fuselage edges are parallel, and the trailing edges of the main and tail planes are swept forward. The fuselage sides have chines. Nose volume of the KF-X-E appears to be small, limiting the size of the radar antenna, but the airframe seems to have more volume overall than the T-50, offering more space for internal fuel and thereby minimizing the need for external tanks and their radar reflections.

Retention of the single tail on the KF-X-E is emblematic of the limited ambition of the designers, who appear to have aimed at achieving a level of stealth above that of the Eurofighter Typhoon and Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet but well below that of the Lockheed Martin F-22 and F-35. The latter two, like other stealth aircraft, have canted twin tail fins.

Similarly, the air inlets of the KF-X-E have boundary-layer diverters; recent stealth aircraft handle the boundary layer with aerodynamic shaping and no diverters. The KF-X-E may be too small for internal weapons stowage. No engine details are known, but South Korea may want to replace the T-50’s General Electric F404, whose future application appears limited to the T-50 series, with another probably more powerful type. Candidates would include the GE F414 and Eurojet EJ200.

The winner of the separate F-X Phase 3 competition for 60 fighters—Lockheed Martin, Boeing or Eurofighter—is expected to support KF-X development. Each manufacturer has proposed a design. Lockheed Martin’s could conceivably be similar to but a little larger than the KF-X-E by introducing stealth features into the design of the F-16. The result would still be a fighter well-differentiated from the F-35.

A key issue in developing the KF-X-E might be obtaining permission from Lockheed Martin, which presumably has intellectual property in the T-50 design or at least contractual rights to ensure that it does not become an F-16 competitor. Another obstacle is that the South Korean air force prefers twin-engine aircraft for the medium-fighter category that the KF-X would fill.

KAI did not respond to a request for further information about the KF-X-E.

(Aviation Week)

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Australia and Indonesia Sign Memorandum of Sale for Five C-130H Hercules

26 Juli 2013

RAAF C-130 Hercules (photo : thebaseleg)

Today in Perth, Indonesian Defence Minister Purnomo and I witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Sale between Australia and Indonesia for five C 130H aircraft and associated equipment.

During my visit to Jakarta in April this year, I confirmed that the Australian Government was willing to sell five C-130H aircraft, along with a simulator and spare parts, to Indonesia at a discounted rate.

This offer was in addition to the four C-130H aircraft that Australia is currently in the process of transferring to Indonesia following discussions between our respective leaders in November 2011.

The sale of a further five C-130H transport aircraft will further enhance Indonesia’s capacity to respond to natural disasters and humanitarian crisis.

The Memorandum of Sale was signed by Australia’s Chief of the Defence Force, General Hurley, and Indonesia’s Head of Defence Facilities Agency, Rear Admiral Lubis.

The Memorandum sets out the arrangements for the sale of the five aircraft, simulator and spare parts to Indonesia.

Australia is pleased to continue to assist the development of Indonesia’s airlift capability, which will support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.

The sale of these additional aircraft and associated equipment reflects the strength of the bilateral relationship between Australia and Indonesia, and the close ties between the Australian and Indonesian Defence forces.

(Aus DoD)

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