Tag Archives: Defence

Finnish Defence Forces to Replace Aging Hornet Fighter Fleet

By on Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

The Ministry of Defence has commissioned a working group to investigate what type of air defence system Finland needs in the future. Replacing the aging Hornet fighter fleet will cost an estimated 6 billion euros. Owing to the hefty price tag, the working group is also looking to see whether it’s possible to upgrade the existing fleet, which has been in service since 1995.

“Technical developments need to be taken into account as do the changing needs of our defence environment, which is what we’re investigating,” says Lauri Puranen, who is responsible for Ministry of Defence acquisitions. “A 30-year old Formula 1 car can’t survive in this world, and we need to find out if a 30-year old fighter jet can,” says Puranen.

The preliminary working group will not take a stand on the type or number of planes that should be purchased. To provide some context, neighbor Norway recently chose a new generation of F-35. In Finland, the new version of the familiar fighter jet family seems to be favored — in spite of their very high price tag. The new fighter jets would be the most expensive defence acquisition in the next decade and take place in about 2030.

According to the Defence Forces, the brand of the current fleet does not affect future decision-making.

“When it’s time to leave the Hornets, we are not tied to them or anyone else for that matter,” says General Jarmo Lindberg, Commander of the Finnish Defence Forces.

After the preliminary report, decision-makers will also have to decide whether Finnish air defence will be carried out solo, by joining forces with neighbor Sweden, or entering into the NATO alliance.

According to Lindberg, Finnish airspace will only be protected by Finns using their own fleet.

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Defence Chief: NATO Has Committed Four to Five Times More Aircraft to the Baltics

The Commander of the Finnish Defence Forces, General Jarmo Lindberg, has taken note that activity levels on the Baltic Sea have increased of late. He says the Baltic Sea is now the scene of more military exercises, as well as more air and sea traffic.

“There has been more of everything,” Lindberg said during his Tuesday morning radio interview. “Russia has been more active and our statistics indicate an increase in volume. The same holds true for NATO,” he said.

The NATO military alliance has enhanced its air patrols of the Baltics manifold, he explained.

“Earlier there were just a few aircraft and now there are four or five times that amount. All of this cumulates into an expanded operating field in the Baltic Sea area.”

Back in April, the news agency Reuters estimated that NATO had tripled its number of fighter planes in the Baltic airspace.

Lindberg on Aranda: No need for investigation

Based on the information available, Lindberg believes there is no need for further study of the disruption targeting the research vessel Aranda.

This weekend it was revealed that the Russian Navy had twice interfered with the work of the Aranda in international waters east of Gotland, Sweden, once in early August and again in early September. Lindberg stressed in his radio interview that the Defence Forces will not assume any kind of role in the matter.

“The Aranda is a civilian ship that was sailing on international waters. We will conduct no analysis of the events.”

Some suspect that Russia was testing its submarines in the area during the incidents and requested the Aranda change course as a precautionary measure. Were the Russians following normal procedure, if this was the case?

“If so, yes,” answered the Commander.

“There are Baltic Sea basins in that area, making it an ideal location for testing submarines. In this scenario, if a submarine had to rise to the surface quickly, then of course they would want to make sure that no ships were on the surface at that time.”

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Saab Grintek Defence to Develop EW System for Gripen NG

By on Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Saab’s local South African company, Saab Grintek Defence (Pty) Ltd., has been chosen to develop and manufacture parts for the Electronic Warfare (EW) System for Gripen E for Sweden. Development work, including prototype manufacturing, for antennas and micro wave modules is on-going at the Saab Grintek Defence facility in Centurion, Gauteng.

Saab has signed an agreement with the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) for next generation Gripen E fighters. Sweden’s requirement is for 60 Gripen Es that now are in development.

“This is important assignments for Saab Grintek Defence and a testimony to the local capabilities and exceptional local knowledge within electronic warfare in South Africa .The work will further strengthen our capabilities and secure and protect jobs at SGD for a long time and we hope for further orders for the Gripen E going forward” says Magnus Lewis-Olsson, CEO Saab Grintek Defence.

Recently, Saab Grintek Defence has also agreed to a contract with Rheinmetall Waffe Munition in Germany to provide Naval Laser Warning Systems as sensors to Rheinmetall’s MASS Softkill System in a frigate upgrade programme in Asia Pacific.

Saab Grintek Technologies (SGT) is a telecommunications company offering a comprehensive range of end-to-end Services and Solutions to Operators, OEM’s, Enterprise and Government. Various defence forces across the globe are using South African electronic warfare and avionics technology being designed and produced at the company’s facilities in South Africa.

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Russia to boost nuclear, space defence forces against US

By on Friday, September 12th, 2014

Russia will respond to the United States’ “prompt global strike” programme designed to take out targets within an hour by upgrading its nuclear and space defence forces, its deputy prime minister said Wednesday.

“Our response to the prompt global strike strategy is upgrading our strategic nuclear forces and resources — the strategic rocket forces and the naval ones — and also developing air and space defence resources according to the plans we have finalized,” Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who oversees defence, was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.

He spoke after President Vladimir Putin held a government meeting on Russia’s defence spending at which he accused Western countries of provoking the Ukraine crisis in order to “revive NATO.”

Using Cold War rhetoric, Putin complained of “new threats appearing” including the buildup of NATO forces in eastern Europe, the development of the US missile shield in Europe and Alaska and the development of the ‘Prompt Global Strike’ program.

“The theory of the so-called global disarming strike is also being worked on,” Putin said.

The Pentagon’s Prompt Global Strike program is developing conventional weapons that could take out targets anywhere on the planet within an hour’s notice.

Deputy Defence Minister Yury Borisov said earlier Wednesday that Russia could be forced to develop technology in order to counteract new weapons, but stressed this would be a defensive move.

“We may be forced to do this, but we will develop systems in order to counteract these new types of weapons, because the main credo of our country is defensive and we do not plan to change that,” he was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti news agency.

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China defence ministry tells US to stop ‘close-in’ surveillance

China’s military on Thursday told the United States to end air and naval surveillance near its borders, saying it was damaging relations between the Pacific powers and could lead to “undesirable accidents”.

The US should “take concrete measures to decrease close-in reconnaissance activities against China towards a complete stop”, defence ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said at a monthly briefing.

Yang’s comments came with Beijing and Washington at odds over an incident last week in the skies 220 kilometres (135 miles) off China’s Hainan island.

The US said that an armed Chinese fighter jet flew dangerously close to a US military aircraft, while China countered in a ministry statement carried on state media that the allegations were “totally groundless”.

“The location of the incident is 220 kilometres from China’s Hainan island,” Yang said Thursday. “It is not 220 kilometres from Hawaii in the United States and certainly not 220 kilometres from Florida. So the rights and wrongs of this case are very clear.”

The encounter has raised comparisons to an incident in April 2001, when a Chinese fighter jet collided with a US Navy EP-3 spy plane around 110 kilometres off Hainan.

One Chinese pilot died and the US plane had to make an emergency landing on Hainan where China detained the 24-member crew for more than a week until Beijing and Washington cut a deal for their release.

In the ensuing years China’s military spending and capabilities have increased while the US military, long a presence in the region, has strengthened its defence alliance with Tokyo, which is at odds with Beijing over disputed islands in the East China Sea.

Yang said US ships and aircraft had long been engaged in “frequent, wide-range, close-in reconnaissance activities against China”.

Such missions “not only damage China’s security interests but also damage strategic trust and the bilateral relationship between China and the United States”.

They could also “possibly lead to undesirable accidents”, he said.

The two militaries have been stepping up exchanges and visits in an effort to build trust and try to work out guidelines to avoid miscalculations as they increasingly encounter each other at air and sea.

– ‘Act of hostility’ –

Regarding just such a scheduled meeting under way this week in Washington, Yang offered no details, citing the ongoing nature of the talks.

China’s Global Times newspaper, which is linked to the ruling Communist Party, on Monday warned that Beijing could treat US surveillance flights as an “act of hostility”.

On Thursday it said that if the US does not end them, China could carry out similar activities near US territory.

Such an “option has become increasingly possible as China’s military technologies are advancing”, it said in an editorial.

Yang, when asked directly about such a possibility, gave an ambiguous answer.

“As to what missions PLA ships and aircraft will take in the future, that will be decided based on various factors,” he said, using the abbreviation for the People’s Liberation Army, China’s military.

China lacks the kind of forward bases in the Western Hemisphere that Washington has in the Asia-Pacific, such as in Hawaii, Guam, Japan and South Korea, making any such reconnaissance operations against the US far more difficult.

Separately, Taiwan said on Tuesday that its air force scrambled fighter jets the day before to track two Chinese Y-8 maritime patrol aircraft it claimed intruded into the island’s air defence zone and followed them until they departed.

Asked about the incident, Yang would only say that Chinese planes “conducted routine flights in related air space” on Monday.

“No abnormal situation occurred,” he added.

Yang also defended the professionalism of China’s air force against accusations of aggressiveness and recklessness, saying its pilots have “given due regard” to matters of safety.

“Our aircraft are very precious and the lives of our pilots are even more precious compared with countries which ask their pilots to fly around on other countries’ doorsteps,” he said, an apparent reference to the US.

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Swedish Defence Raises Military Readiness

By on Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

The Swedish Armed Forces have raised the level of readiness at Headquarters and placed two Gripen fighter jets on the island of Gotland.

A statement on their web page reads: “In view of the serious developments in Ukraine, the Armed Forces act, among other things, by raising preparedness at Headquarters and intensifying intelligence efforts.” Lieutenant General Jan Salestrand, Chief of Defence Staff, said they are following the developments very closely.

“We’re making a statement and are upholding our territorial integrity by raising out incident preparedness,” Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt told news agency TT on Friday night. “But that shouldn’t be interpreted as the existence of an imminent threat.”

According to the prime minister, Russian aggressions are escalating. “This is a type of behaviour that we saw during the Cold War and it’s now coming back,” Reinfeldt said.

The defence has also placed two Jas Gripen fighter planes on Gotland, where they are in a better position to quickly reach the Baltic Sea.

Starting Monday, the Swedish Armed Forces are taking part in the international naval exercise Northern Coast in Finland.

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UK and France Strengthen Defence Co-Operation

By on Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Defence co-operation between the UK and France has been strengthened following agreements signed at the Farnborough Air Show today, 15 July.

Philip Hammond and Jean-Yves Le Drian agreed to bolster co-operation relating to the acquisition and support of military equipment for both the UK and French armed forces.

The agreement follows on from the communique that was signed by Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande at RAF Brize Norton in January, which set out plans for closer ties between the 2 countries.

As part of the deal signed today, the UK and France agreed a £120 million feasibility phase with 6 industry partners for the joint development of unmanned combat air vehicle concepts and technologies.

They also signed a memorandum of understanding on the SCALP / Storm Shadow missile program with MBDA that continues our co-operation on this important cruise missile capability.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said:

“The UK and France are committed to delivering effective military capabilities underpinned by cutting-edge technology, developed by strong and capable defence industries.

“This relationship is essential to how we will operate in the future, by ensuring we can deal with the global defence and security challenges we and our allies may face.”

France’s Minister of Defence Jean-Yves Le Drian said:

“The arrangement related to the future combat air system is a historical opportunity for France and the United Kingdom to shape and sustain in the long-term a strong innovative and sovereign combat aircraft industry.

“With continuation of development of cruise missile SCALP / Storm Shadow, after signature of the FASGW(H)/ANL contract previously this year, the 2 nations demonstrated their commitment to sustain the cross-frontier complex weapons industry through interdependence for missile sub-systems and secure significant efficiencies on future program.

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