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Pakistan wants to buy Chinese stealth aircraft: Minister

By on Monday, November 24th, 2014

The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has expressed interest in procuring fourth generation stealth fighter aircraft FC-31 from China.

Minister for Defence Production Rana Tanveer Hussain told Dawn.com on Friday the matter was being discussed with Chinese authorities.

It is for the first time that a senior government functionary has confirmed talks with China over purchase of the longer-range stealth aircraft — an issue that has been a subject of speculation in defence circles since the 10th edition of the Zhuhai Air Show (China) held earlier this month, when the aircraft was unveiled.

The Jane’s Defence Weekly had quoted an unnamed Pakistani official as saying that the PAF was holding talks with China for the purchase of 30 to 40 of the Shenyang FC-31 fighter planes and that discussions had gone beyond initial inquiries.

The FC-31 is being developed by China primarily for the export market. Chinese officials claim that several countries have expressed interest in the aircraft believed to be comparable to US F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

A prototype of the aircraft, designated as J-31, has been flown by the Chinese aircraft research and development firm Shenyang Aviation Company for a couple of years now.

What particularly interests the PAF is that FC-31 prototype (J-31) and JF-17 use the same Russian Klimov RD-93 engines.

Pakistan is increasingly relying on China as a reliable source for its defence procurements.

Mr Hussain said that Pakistan was also interested in Chinese attack helicopter Z-10.

China and Pakistan had earlier co-produced JF-17 Thunder. Pakistan has been eagerly trying to market this fighter aircraft.

“We have nearly confirmed orders from seven countries for JF-17,” Mr Hussain said.

Pakistan, which is at present producing Block-2 of JF-17 at the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, Kamra, is eying orders from countries in the Middle East and Africa.

“The PAF has a requirement of 250 aircraft, but now we have decided that we’ll sell some of the JF-17 Block-2 to international buyers besides fulfilling our local demand,” the minister said.

The minister sounded upbeat about the upcoming four-day defence exhibition IDEAS 2014 beginning in Karachi on Dec 1.

Some 175 companies, including 34 local firms, are participating in the international event this year.

Mr Hussain said a few MoUs and agreements on joint ventures were expected to be signed during the exhibition, but no orders were expected at the event.

“The basic spirit behind the exhibition is to increase interaction with defence industry (officials) of other countries and provide exposure to our own industry,” he said.

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Japan wants its own early-warning planes: report

By on Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Japan’s defence ministry wants to develop its own early-warning aircraft, replacing US-made planes as the Chinese and Russian air forces grow more assertive, a report said Sunday.

The ministry has asked for an initial 80 million yen ($642,000) from the finance ministry for the next fiscal year starting April to produce a mock aircraft, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported.

It said that military planners want to complete the development program for planes featuring advanced surveillance radar by the mid-2020s, to replace Japan’s US-made E-2C Hawkeye planes, which are based on a 1960s design.

Japan says it scrambled fighter jets more than 800 times in the last fiscal year to shadow intruding aircraft, mostly from China and Russia. That was the highest number of deployments since the final year of the Cold War in 1989.

Fears of a military clash have heightened since China last November declared an “air defence identification zone” over the East China Sea, which overlaps a similar Japanese zone and covers territory disputed by the two countries.

Sunday’s report comes after Japan lifted a self-imposed ban on weapons exports, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe looks to expand the country’s diplomatic and military reach after a long period of economic stagnation.

Defence ministry officials could not be reached to comment on the report.

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Xi wants China to be ‘cyber power’

Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for his country to become a “cyber power,” state media reported Thursday after he chaired a meeting of a special group focused on Internet security.

“Efforts should be made to build our country into a cyber power,” he said, according to Xinhua, which cited a statement it said was released after the group’s first meeting earlier in the day.

“We should be fully aware of the importance and urgency of Internet security and informatization,” he said.

Xi heads the “leading group,” Xinhua said, with Premier Li Keqiang and Liu Yunshan — who along with Xi and Li is a member of the Communist Party’s powerful politburo standing committee — the deputy heads.

At the meeting, Xi emphasised that Internet security is a key strategic and security issue for China, Xinhua reported.

Xi’s call comes as the question of large-scale cyber espionage has become a key point of contention for China and the United States, the world’s two biggest economies and which both possess large militaries.

In a report released in February last year, security firm Mandiant said China was devoting thousands of people to a military-linked unit that has pilfered intellectual property and government secrets.

In November, the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission said in its annual report to Congress that China has not curbed rampant spying on American interests.

The report accused China of “directing and executing a large-scale cyber espionage campaign,” penetrating the US government and private industry. China has vehemently denied accusations of cyber espionage.

Beijing has also cited leaks by former American intelligence contractor Edward Snowden — revealing mass US electronic surveillance programmes — as evidence that the United States is guilty of double standards when it comes to online espionage.

US President Barack Obama said last year that he and Xi had “very blunt conversations” about cyber-hacking when they met for a summit in June in California.

Xi insisted at a joint press appearance during the meeting that China itself was a victim of cyber theft.

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Airbus wants money for Germany’s scrapped Eurofighter order: report

By on Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Airbus is demanding 900 million euros ($1.2 billion) in compensation from Germany for cancelling an order for a batch of 37 Eurofighter jets, according to a newspaper report Monday.

The amount had emerged in a closed-door parliamentary budget meeting last week in which the scrapped fighter-jet order was also reported to lawmakers, said the Handelsblatt business daily.

Industry sources however put the Airbus compensation demand at about 800 million euros, said the newspaper.

None of the details has been confirmed by the companies involved or the German defence ministry, but industry sources said last week the down-scaling had long been on the cards and was not unexpected.

The Eurofighter consortium, Europe’s largest defence program, is a joint project of the Airbus Group, BAE Systems and Italian defence group Finmeccanica. It is in fierce competition with other fighter-jet makers such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Dassault Aviation.

National news agency DPA last week quoted unnamed government sources as saying the German defence ministry would reduce its total order for Eurofighter jets from 180 to 143.

The reduction had already been decided in late 2011 by the then defence minister Thomas de Maziere, the DPA report said.

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The IDF Wants More Hermes 900 Drones

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The Israel Air Force has placed a second order with Elbit Systems' for the Hermes 900 Medium-Altitude Long Endurance Unmanned Aerial System

Hermes 900 Medium-Altitude Long Endurance Unmanned Aerial System. The first Hermes-900 is currently undergoing final evaluation prior to official induction with the IDF Hermes unit. Photo: Elbit Systems.

Elbit Systems Closes 2013 with a domestic $315 million order for  Avionics, Drones, Electronic Warfare, Electro-Optic Systems, Avionics and Land Systems

The Israel Ministry of Defense has placed a second order for a number Hermes 900 Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). The announcement by Elbit Systems did not specify the quantity of UAVs to be delivered under this contract but said the drones will be delivered over a period of three years. This order follows a first order for these drones, part of procurement order a $50 million, announced in May 2010. That order, placed six months after the aircraft’s maiden flight included the delivery of Hermes 450 and Hermes 900 over a period of three years. The current order is worth $90 million, and includes only Hermes 900 drones, and support systems and services, to be delivered over a period of eight years.

The Hermes-900 is positioned between a tactical and strategic UAV, as it extends the performance of the Hermes 450 tactical UAS in almost every aspect – including operating ceiling, mission endurance, payload carrying capacity rand range.

Like its predecessors, it has a universal command & control ground station (UGCS), which enables advanced mission management, automatic taxiing, autonomous flight and automatic takeoff and landing systems common to all the UAVs in the Hermes family. The new system also uses a built-in satellite communication channel for missions beyond line of sight.

New Orders Worth $315 Million for Israel’s Army, Air Force

Keshet 120mm self-propelled mortar utilizes the M-106 (M-113) chassis configured with the Cardom mortar system from Elbit Systems (formerly Soltam).

Keshet 120mm self-propelled mortar utilizes the M-106 (M-113) chassis configured with the Cardom mortar system from Elbit Systems (formerly Soltam).

The Israel Ministry of Defense has recently awarded Elbit Systems several contracts for the delivery and support of various systems totaling about US$315 million. Among these contracts are the delivery of battle management system (BMS) and avionics for helicopters, and virtual training systems for fighter aircraft. The company continues to support aircraft operations at the IAF Flight Academy. The total value of these programs is approximately $75 million, covering deliveries over a six-year period. Two weeks ago the company was also awarded an avionic upgrading program for the IAF C-130 fleet. The Israel Air Force F-16 and F-15s and the Navy’s combat surface vessels will also receive Electronic Warfare (EW) systems upgrades worth $90 million, as part of a comprehensive modernization plan spanning over four years.

The land forces will also receive new systems, including long-range target acquisition systems and high precision mobile mortar systems. That target acquisition systems have recently being fielded by the Ground Forces Command and these additional systems being ordered will be delivered over a period of three years. Additional Cardom 120mm self-propelled mortar systems will be delivered over a period of six years, equip additional mortar companies being fielded under the IDF infantry and mechanized battalion modernization plan, The new mortar is integrated into ‘Keshet’ Self Propelled mortar system based on an enhanced configuration of the standard M-106. The fielding of Keshet SP mortars is implemented under a comprehensive modernization of the combat and support elements of the IDF brigades and battalions, enabling self-reliance of the tactical echelon, enabling tactical units to be self supported in combat.

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Serbia wants to sell military equipment to Pakistan

By on Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Serbia wants to conclude an agreement with Pakistan that would enable the export of its military equipment to the Asian country, Defence Minister Aleksandar Vucic said Monday.

“What we can offer and what they are interested in are armored vehicles, large caliber ammunition, assault rifles and night-vision equipment,” Vucic said after the meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Syed Naveed Qamar.

The Pakistani minister said the details of a potential accord would be known after a Serbian delegation visits his country, planned in the coming months.

For several years, Serbia has been trying to increase its military industry’s exports, notably of ammunition, rifles, explosives and small planes.

According to the latest official data, these exports have increased in value to $247 million (190.5 million euros) from $75 million some five years ago.

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Manila Wants Better Armed Frigates

MM Granatiere (F 585) is one of four ‘Soldati’ Class (Lupo) frigates operated by the Italian Navy, these vessels were originally built for the Iraqi Navy in the 1980s.

Manila is seeking to add a third frigate to the Philippine Navy. According to Peter Paul Galvez, defense spokesman, Manila is planning to acquire new frigates that will be armed with more advanced weaponry than the current vessels provided by the US, including surface-to-air capability. Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said earlier the military wants to acquire additional naval crafts from Italy. The only class of frigate available from Italian navy surplus that has air-defense capability is the Lupo Class patrol frigate ‘Soldati’.

This 2,500 ton vessel is armed with eight Otomat Mk 2 anti-ship missiles, a launcher of Sea Sparrow or Aspid surface to air missiles, two Mk 32 torpedo tubes, two Oto Melara twin 40mm L70 DARDO compact guns (also designed for air defense) and a 127/54 gun turret. It is equipped with a comprehensive array of radars for air defense, surface search, fire control and navigation, sonar, electronic support measures, decoy launchers and acoustic countermeasures. The Philippines are also interested in acquiring a larger vessel, possibly an Italian Navy “Maestrale” class destroyer. This vessel is employed in anti-submarine warfare role, it has a displacement of 3,300 gross register tons and a speed of 33 knots.

The Philippine navy currently operates an ex US Coast Guard Hamilton class 3,250 ton cutter, which went through extensive upgrades and modification for their new mission. One of the vessels, Gregorio del Pilar was converted into a frigate. The vessel is equipped with 76 and 25mm guns, but has no missiles or air defense capability and its sensors are designed primarily for navigation, search and rescue. The second vessel of this class, BRP Ramon Alcaraz is scheduled to enter service in December 2012. In addition, the Philippines Navy still maintains a single Cannon Class escort ship, BRP Rajan Jumabon, after retiring two of its sister ships after long service.

“We are not totally relying on the United States (for) our equipment acquisitions.” Gazmin said, “We are also looking at the possibility of getting some of our equipment from Europe, specifically from Italy, depending on our budget.” he added.

The Philipine Navy also operate 11 corvettes are also in service, but these are less suitable for the long range missions currently required to secure the nation’s interests in the South China Sea.

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