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Canada, Sikorsky Agree New Deal on CH-148 Helicopter Deliveries

Today, the Government of Canada announced that it has completed all required amendments to both the acquisition and long-term in-service support contracts with Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation for the acquisition and maintenance of 28 CH-148 Cyclone helicopters for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). These contract amendments are further to the Principles of Agreement announced in January 2014.

The amended acquisition will ensure the delivery of helicopters with operational capability to begin retirement of the Sea Kings in 2015, and a program to enhance those capabilities culminating in a fully capable CH-148 maritime helicopter beginning in 2018.

In its final configuration, the CH-148 Cyclone will be one of the most capable maritime helicopters in the world, and at the forefront of modern technology. It will be capable of a full range of search and rescue and utility missions in challenging environments. The CH-148 Cyclone will also be fully interoperable in a modern battle space, and will be able to concurrently conduct a full spectrum of anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare in hostile, high-threat environments.

The Government of Canada engaged the services of an independent third party—Hitachi Consulting—to review and assess the viability of the Maritime Helicopter Project. The third-party expert confirmed the viability of the project under a new governance structure and phased delivery of the maritime helicopters. With the contract now completed, Hitachi Consulting will continue to oversee aspects of the implementation plan, ensuring that delivery times remain as promised for the RCAF.

As previously announced, payment will be issued to Sikorsky only upon capability delivery.

QUICK FACTS

  • The total budget of $1.9 billion for the acquisition of the 28 CH-148 Cyclone helicopters has not changed.
  • The budget for in-service support (including the amendments to the contract) totals $5.7 billion.
  • The project is being implemented under a new governance model, including integrated teams from Sikorsky and Canada, supported by Hitachi Consulting.
  • The amendment to the in-service support contract extends the term by an additional 10 years at rates based on those competed in 2004, thus generating significant value for taxpayers. This amendment ensures maintenance of the Cyclone helicopters until 2038.

QUOTES
“I am pleased that this contract has now been completed and that we can fulfill our Government’s commitment to begin to retire the Sea Kings in 2015, and deliver a new and leading maritime helicopter to the Royal Canadian Air Force, while respecting taxpayer dollars.”
The Hon. Diane Finley, Minister of Public Works and Government Services

“Our Government is working tirelessly to provide our men and women in uniform with the equipment they need to get the job done, and these amendments are a testament to that fact. The CH-148 Cyclone will be a highly capable aircraft, making it a leading maritime helicopter.”
The Hon Rob Nicholson, Minister of National Defence

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Irkut, Russian Air Force Agree on Su-30SM Tests

By on Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

On June 28, 2013 in the State flight test center named after V. Chkalov (Aktyubinsk city, Astrakhan region) the Russian Ministry of Defence and Irkut Corporation signed the preliminary conclusion concerning special joint flight tests of the multirole two-seat Su-30SM fighter.

“Su-30SM will improve combat capabilities of the Russian Air Force”, said Deputy Chief of the Air Force, the Hero of Russia Colonel Sergei Kobylash. “Su-30SM capabilities of simultaneous detection and defeat multiple targets and maneuverability are unique. Modern aircraft will be supplied to the Air Force not by units, but squadrons”, he mentioned.

President of Irkut Corporation Oleg Demchenko, in turn, stressed that Irkut working in close cooperation with the Sukhoi Company makes all efforts for timely implementation of the State defence order for the Su-30SM fighter supply.

Su-30SM multirole super-maneuverable fighter is the further development of the Su-30MK combat aircraft family. Engineers of the Sukhoi Aviation Holding Company (JSC) designed the fighter in accordance with the requirements of the Russian Air Force in terms of radar system, radio and recognition system, ejection seats and a number of support systems. The weaponry configuration was changed as well.

The first contract on 30 Su-30SM multirole fighters delivery was signed between the Russian Ministry of Defence and Irkut Corporation in March 2012.

Su-30SM fighter manufactured at the Irkutsk aviation plant, a subsidiary of Irkut Corporation, made the first flight on September 21, 2012.

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China, South Korea agree to push North Korea denuclearization

By on Friday, June 28th, 2013

China and South Korea will keep pushing to end North Korea’s nuclear program, their leaders declared Thursday at a high-profile summit between Pyongyang’s closest ally and its key rival.

“We have agreed that under any circumstances, North Korea’s nuclear (weapons) are unacceptable and confirmed that the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula is of common interest for the two countries,” South Korean President Park Geun-Hye told reporters as she sat beside Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Park made the remarks after a summit meeting in Beijing, where Xi greeted her as “an old friend of China” and granted her full military honors before the pair witnessed the signing of trade and other agreements.

“We on both sides consistently agree to continue to realise the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and firmly protect peace and stability on the peninsula,” Xi said, though he avoided singling out North Korea by name.

China has previously supported North Korea’s denuclearization and is the chair of a multinational forum — the six-party talks — aimed at achieving it, but has also tended to prioritize regional stability, for decades acting as the sole major ally and economic lifeline to the unpredictable North.

South Korea, which does not have nuclear weapons, and ally the United States, have made it clear they will never accept the idea of North Korea as a nuclear state, and insist Pyongyang must show a tangible commitment to abandoning its nuclear weapons if it wants substantive talks.

Both have pressured China to use more of its leverage to rein in Pyongyang.

Xi, for his part, described the situation on the divided peninsula as “currently changing in a positive direction”, apparently referring to recent offers by Pyongyang to pursue dialogue, including hinting at a return to long-stalled six-nation nuclear talks aimed at shuttering its nuclear program.

“We hope all sides can seize this opportunity to work to return to the six party talks as soon as possible,” he said.

The forum — which groups North Korea, China, South Korea, Japan, Russia and the United States — is aimed at achieving Pyongyang’s abandonment of its nuclear weapons program in return for aid and security guarantees.

The North appears in recent months to have moderated its stance after a series of bellicose statements and gestures against the South and the US early this year, including threats of nuclear war.

In February the North carried out its third underground nuclear test in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions, sending tensions soaring and raising fears of possible conflict.

While a planned meeting with South Korea earlier this month fell through, Pyongyang has offered direct talks with Washington, and has sent two envoys to Beijing since late May to express a willingness for dialogue.

Yang Moo-Jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, was cautious about how close the views of Xi and Park on North Korea actually are.

“President Xi reaffirmed China’s established stance apparently in consideration of North Korea, while President Park strongly clarified South Korea’s position that North Korea’s nuclear weapons are unacceptable,” Yang told AFP.

“Different wording from the two leaders may spark confusion and doubt as it is not clear whether President Xi accepted what President Park raised at their talks.”

China’s relationship with North Korea — famously described by Mao Zedong as being as close as “lips and teeth” — was forged in the 1950-53 Korean War which China entered to prevent the North’s total defeat.

But it has weakened significantly over the years, as China’s economic transformation has distanced it from the ideological rigidity of the dynastic Kim regime across the border.

China’s relations with South Korea got off to a late start with diplomatic relations only established in 1992, but have improved steadily ever since, especially in the economic sphere.

In line with UN sanctions, Beijing has moved to restrict Pyongyang’s financial operations in China which the international community says are the major conduit for funding its nuclear weapons program.

North Korea was not the only topic on Thursday, with the two sides signing eight agreements in various fields including energy, trade, technology and oceanic cooperation.

China is now South Korea’s biggest trade partner and Park has been accompanied on her trip by a sizable business delegation from her country’s dynamic economy. The two countries have been negotiating a free-trade pact.

During her stay, Park, who has taught herself some Chinese and expressed an interest in Chinese philosophy, will meet other key officials and also visit the ancient city of Xi’an, according to reports.

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India, Russia Agree On Technical Specs of New PAK FA Fighter

By on Thursday, April 11th, 2013

The contract to develop a sketch and technical project of the Russian-Indian perspective multi-functional 5th-generation fighter (PMI/FGFA) was completed. The fighter design was fully developed.

Both parties have agreed upon on the amount and division of work during the research and development (R&D) stage. A contract for the R&D is being prepared. It is to be signed this year.

The agreement on the joint development and production of the 5th-generation fighter aircraft was signed on October 18, 2007 in Moscow at the 7th Session of the joint Russian-Indian Intergovernmental Commission on Military and Technical Cooperation. It is the largest joint project of the Russian-Indian military and technical cooperation.

In December 2010, Rosoboronexport, Sukhoi Company and the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited signed a contract to develop a sketch and technical project of the fighter. In the course of the first stage of the project the Russian side has trained Indian professionals, provided them with the original data and the software to create a single working environment.

The Indian working group of experts has been working in Russia since January 2012 and a group of Russian specialists in India. Both parties exchange the necessary information.

The PMI/FGFA fighter developed by the parties will have some differences from the Russian prototype due to specific requirements of the Indian Air Force.

Sukhoi Company is currently involved in other Russian-Indian joint programs, such as modernization of the Indian Air Force Su-30MKI fighters and adaptation of the Russian-Indian air-to-ground BrahMos cruise missile to the Su-30MKI.

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India, France Agree On $6 Billion Missile Deal

By on Friday, February 15th, 2013

India and France on Thursday concluded negotiations on the Short Range Surface to Air Missile nearly worth of $6 billion during the talks between French President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who also said talks on $10-billion deal for Rafale fighter aircraft are “progressing well”.

After comprehensive talks, the leaders said views were exchanged on a number of bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of common interest including defence ties, civil nuclear cooperation, counter-terrorism and situation in Mali.

Observing that India is Hollande’s first Asian destination for a bilateral trip, Singh said this demonstrates the importance of this relationship between the two countries.

“President Hollande and I exchanged views on a number of bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of common interest. We reviewed progress on the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project and reiterated our commitment to its early implementation as soon as the commercial and technical negotiations, which have made good progress, are completed,” Dr Singh said at a joint press event after the talks.

Expressing satisfaction with the progress in defence cooperation, Dr Singh said, “Discussions on the MMRCA contract are progressing well. We have also concluded negotiations on the Short Range Surface to Air Missile, which, once approved by the government, will be co-developed and co-produced in India,” while noting that the defence ties were poised to reach a qualitatively new level.

The Rs 30,000 crore worth of SR-SAM project is a co- development joint venture between India and France and would be developed by MBDA of France and DRDO from the Indian side. The surface to air missile defence system would be deployed by the IAF and the Navy.

Hollande, also accompanied by a large contingent of French business leaders, including Dassault chief executive Eric Trappier, whose company is hoping to seal the deal to sell 126 Rafale warplanes to India in the world’s biggest defence contract currently under negotiation.

On his part, Hollande said he has come to take the Indo-French strategic partnership to “yet another level” while noting that the defence cooperation reflects India’s trust for French technology and France’s trust for use of technology by India. “India is a country of peace”, the French President added.

The two sides also inked four pacts, including one in the field of railways.

In the security and counter terrorism fields, India and France are determined to support each other when facing this scourge, a joint statement said.

“The two sides recognised that terrorism poses the main threat to Afghanistan’s security and stability, as well as the need for joint concerted efforts and cooperation by countries of the region to effectively counter it, including dismantling terrorist sanctuaries and safe havens, beyond Afghanistan’s border, disrupting financial and tactical support being provided to terrorist groups,” it said.

Both sides agreed that Pakistan must abide by its commitment to expeditiously bring all the perpetrators of Mumbai terror attacks [ Images ] to justice, the statement said.

Both leaders also reiterated their strong support for ongoing efforts aimed at defeating terrorism in Mali, preserving Mali’s territorial integrity, re-establishing a fully sovereign democratic government in Mali, and to contributing strongly to Mali’s national reconstruction and sustainable economic development.

The leaders also agreed to encourage closer people-to-people contact, through inter alia, easing mobility and human exchanges and promoting education, science and cultural cooperation as well as expanding trade and investment.

They also decided to promote an ambitious and balanced Free Trade Agreement between India and the EU based on reciprocity and mutual benefit which will boost bilateral economic relationship and to establish an annual bilateral dialogue between the two Finance Ministries on economic and financial issues.

Apart from fostering comprehensive sustainable urban development cooperation, including infrastructure, transport, water, waste management as well as urban planning, the two sides decided to facilitate and support investments from French companies into India and Indian companies into France which contribute to growth and employment in both countries.

Long-term space cooperation and cultural exchanges are among the four documents inked between India and France.

Under the space cooperation programme, ISRO and CNES have jointly identified the means to pursue further cooperation including possibilities through Missions, Payloads and Applications, exchange of young scientists and professionals in France and in India and conducting thematic workshops.

“France has been a longstanding partner in our space programme. Later this month, ISRO will launch the integrated SARAL satellite carrying the ALTIKA and ARGOS payloads from the French National Space Agency,” Singh said.

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US and South Korea Agree to Extend Missile Range

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South Korean Hyunmu 3 cruise missile

After years of negotiation, South Korea and the United States have reached an agreement in support of extending the reach of the South’s ballistic missiles.  Under this agreement, Seoul will be allowed to deploy ballistic missiles with a range of 800 kilometers bringing all of North Korea within striking range of the South’s missile arsenal.

Under a 1979 agreement between the two allies, revised later in 2001, South Korean ballistic missiles were limited to a range not to exceed 300 kilometers and a maximum weapon’s payload of 500 kilograms.  Successive American administrations had sought to restrict Seoul’s ballistic missile capabilities in keeping with limitations outlined in the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), a voluntary international accord designed to limit a burgeoning proliferation of advanced missile technology.

The restrictive provisions of the 2001 agreement placed South Korea in an inferior position compared to North Korean missile capabilities, a situation that has caused Seoul considerable unease as Pyongyang continued an unrelenting policy of modernizing the capabilities of the North’s military force.

North Korea’s ruling regime has successfully developed a ballistic missile arsenal capable of reaching any location in the South and all US military facilities in Japan and Guam.  In contrast, some key military sites in the North were previously out of range of South Korea’s ballistic missiles limiting the South’s ability to deliver a decisive retaliatory strike should hostilities once again erupt between the two Korean Peninsula rivals.

Pyongyang attempted a long-range rocket launch in April that proved to be a highly-publicized failure when the rocket exploded shortly after launch.  This attempt was undertaken in total disregard of widespread international opposition and was quickly condemned by the United Nations’ Security Council.  The United States and her Pacific allies considered this launch to be nothing more than a thinly-disguised ballistic missile test despite Pyongyang’s claims that this endeavor was an attempt to place a satellite into Earth orbit.

Hyunmoo 2 short range ballistic missile was developed by South Korea to comply with the MTCR restrictions. More advanced versions are likely to surpass those limits. The missile is likely to have an accuracy of about 30 meter (CEP) and is equipped with a cluster munition warhead. Photo released by ADD.

The revised US-South Korean agreement authorizes Seoul to develop ballistic missiles with a range of 800 kilometers while continuing to limit warhead capacity to 500 kilograms.  The South would be able to deploy missiles of 550-kilometer range with an increased payload of one ton.  The new arrangement also authorizes the South to deploy unmanned drones limited to carrying a payload of 2,500 kilograms should they have a maximum range in excess of 300 kilometers.  Drones with a range of 300 kilometers or less could be deployed without regard to payload restrictions.

South Korea is also authorized to deploy cruise missiles of unlimited range provided they are restricted to a payload not to exceed 500 kilograms.  Some media sources have previously reported that Seoul has already deployed cruise missiles capable of flying more than 1,000 kilometers, claims the Seoul government has repeatedly refused to comment on.

The more lenient attitude with cruise missiles is tacit acknowledgement that cruise missiles, in general, fly at lower altitudes and much slower speeds than ballistic missiles are capable of and are, therefore, easier to intercept and defend against.  Despite their altitude and speed limitations, cruise missiles are generally considered to be more accurate than other missiles.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters accompanying President Obama on a campaign trip to California that the provisions of this agreement “are a prudent, proportional, and specific response” to the challenges and dangers posed by North Korea’s advanced military capabilities.

Pyongyang has yet to deliver a media response to the new agreement, but is expected to unleash a flood of criticism and threats.  Undoubtedly, Pyongyang will characterize this agreement as proof Washington and Seoul are preparing to go to war against the North.

Technically, the North and South are still at war since the Korean Conflict of 1950-1953 ended in a ceasefire and not a peace treaty.

Extending the range of the South’s ballistic missiles will likely ignite protests from Russia and China as well and is likely to be an irritant to Japan in light of the continuing territorial dispute between Tokyo and Seoul.

It seems only prudent to equip South Korean forces with weapons at least equal to those the North possesses.  If for no other reason, this agreement may give Pyongyang pause in the future when provocative activities against the South are being considered.

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Japan and US Agree To US Marine Realignment In Pacific

After sixteen long years of debate and aggravating delays, the United States and Japan have reached an agreement to reduce the presence of US Marines on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa. Okinawa, some 400 miles south of the Japanese main islands has been a key strategic forward base for the United States in the Pacific since it was captured by US forces at the end of World War Two in 1945.

Joint statements were issued in Washington and Tokyo on 26 April hopefully bringing a resolution to an issue that has often been a political “hot potato” for the leadership of both nations and has, at times, posed a serious threat to the long-standing US-Japanese defense alliance. Japan remains a key partner in America’s strategic vision to guarantee stability in the Asia-Pacific region and in so doing, encourages the political and economic development of the entire region.

Okinawa has long served as home to a sizeable US military force conditioned and trained to act as a quick reaction force capable of responding to any credible military threat in the region. For many years the US focus was on blunting Cold War Soviet Union aspirations of encroachment in the Pacific. These forces also represent a key deterrent to prevent a repeat of North Korea’s 1950 invasion of the South.

Okinawa is presently host to more than half of the 47,000 US forces stationed in Japan, a fact that has been the source of intense opposition from Okinawan residents.

The present air-ground-logistics capabilities of the III Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF), coupled with the USAF air assets at Kadena Air Force Base, are considered to be a critical counterbalance to offset China’s military growth and aggressive pursuit of natural resources in the region. The US military forces in Okinawa and Japan proper have also developed into a humanitarian response force capable of providing rapid assistance to nations in the region that are overwhelmed by natural disasters.

A 2006 relocation proposal, revised in 2009, called for the movement of approximately 8,700 Marines and more than 9,000 dependents from Okinawa to facilities on the island of Guam some 1,500 miles to the southeast. This plan carried a price tag of some $21.1 billion in construction costs to execute. This plan has garnered increasingly antagonistic opposition from members of the US Congress. Key members of the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier this year suspended funding for the relocation until they received detailed briefings from the Pentagon to satisfy their demand that all viable options had been explored fully.

Under the new proposal, Japan will accept responsibility for $3.1 billion of the $8.6 billion cost for relocation. The plan fits nicely with an agreement concluded with Australia authorizing the rotation of 2,500 Marines through Darwin. The first contingent of Marines have already deployed to Australia.

As outlined, 4,700 Marines would be permanently moved to Guam with an additional 2,700 being moved to Hawaii and other locations in the Pacific on a “rotating” basis. That will still leave approximately 10,000 Marines in Okinawa and eventually another 2,500 in northwest Australia. A significant number of these Marines are expected to be deployed away from their home bases for extended periods of time further reducing the burden on local hosts.

This realignment will place integrated Marine air-ground task-organized forces at strategic locations forming an arc throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Okinawa will continue to be the nerve center of Marine forces. The two nations have agreed that Okinawa will continue to host aviation operations, the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (31st MEU), and the III MEF’s command structure.

As part of this force realignment, the Marine Corps also plans to rotate units through the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, and other sites for training and the US Navy is expected to deploy ships in and out of Singapore. The US and the Philippines are rumored to be negotiating a separate joint basing scheme that was not addressed by Pentagon officials.

Once completed, the realignment will feature a chain of bases stretching some 7,700 miles from California to Japan with the ability to provide force projection as far as the Indian Ocean. A key part of the relocation effort is a return to the Unit Deployment Program (UDP) where individual units are deployed to the Pacific for six-month rotations after which they return to their home base. The UDP operation was greatly curtailed during the Iraq/Afghan conflicts.

Another significant feature of this new proposal is a tentative agreement for both nations to establish working groups to discuss cooperative arrangements for building the first ever joint training facilities in Guam or possibly Tinian in the Northern Mariana Islands. This idea is a major advance for Japan given its pacifist constitution and political environment.

This realignment of forces was developed as a practical means of lessening the level of uncertainty and tension among Asia-Pacific nations that threatens economic growth and political development in the region. The plan also helps to strengthen the US-Japan defense alliance and opens the door for further integration of US and Japanese forces.

Also, the force realignment will serve to better protect US forces from attack by hostile elements equipped with sophisticated weaponry and cyber warfare capabilities. A dispersion of forces makes them more difficult to locate, target, and disrupt.

US Department of Defense representatives consider it essential that a force-in-readiness numbering some 19,000 Marines be maintained in the Asia-Pacific region to meet whatever contingencies may arise. These forces will be organized into integrated air-ground task forces that can be structured to meet specific needs. Both nations agree that this continued Marine presence is critical to the maintenance of stability in the Pacific.

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