RSAF's First Gulfstream 550 Airborne Early Warning Aircraft Returns to Singapore

GMT, February 20, 2009 The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) received its first Gulfstream 550 Airborne Early Warning (G550-AEW) aircraft at Tengah Air Base this evening. Chief of Air Force, Major-General Ng Chee Khern, officiated at the homecoming ceremony.

The RSAF has acquired a total of four G550-AEW aircraft to replace its ageing E-2C Hawkeye aircraft which have served the Air Force well for more than 20 years. Equipped with a sophisticated mission suite that includes an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, the G550-AEW aircraft is able to detect, identify and track aerial targets.

The G550-AEW aircraft has a longer detection range than the E2C Hawkeye - more than 200 nautical miles. This will allow the RSAF to see farther and respond more effectively to various operational situations.

The advanced airborne early warning capabilities offered by the G550-AEW aircraft will enhance the robustness of Singapore's networked air defence system.(defro)

RAAF Personel Deploy to the US for Exercise Red Flag 2009

F-111 Advark

February 20, 2009 -- Royal Australian Air Force aircraft and personnel are preparing to deploy to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, to participate in the US-led “Red Flag” exercise series. Red Flag provides the highest level of air combat training, in the most realistic war scenario available to be simulated.

Number 6 Squadron from RAAF Amberley is leading the push, with six F-111 jet aircraft deploying to Nellis Air Force Base, to conduct high-level coalition training at the purpose designed Red Flag facilities.

A pair of C-130H Hercules, from No 37 Squadron at RAAF Base Richmond, will transport equipment and personnel to the United States as well as participate in the exercise.

These Hercules will conduct combat airlift missions in to the exercise area, evading ‘enemy’ fighters and landing on semi-prepared airstrips in day and night situations.

Commander Air Combat Group, Air Commodore Neil Hart, has highlighted the value of Air Force’s participation in the exercise.

“Exercise Red Flag provides a level of operational simulation not available in Australia or the region, and regular participation is a major contributor to Australia’s high standard of air combat capability,” Air Commodore Hart said.

“The opportunity to participate in Red Flag allows Air Force personnel to hone their skills to the highest level, together with our closest ally, and at one of the world’s best air combat training facilities.”

Exercise Red Flag will be conducted from 21 February 2009 until 14 March 2009 over the deserts of Nevada in the US. The activity is a multi-national exercise including US, UK, Canada and Australia.(mediacentre)

Kazakhstan to Equip 10 Battalions with S-300 Air Defense Systems

February 19, 2009, Astana -- Kazakhstan plans to equip 10 battalions with S-300 air defense missile systems bought from Russia, with deliveries to begin in 2009, a senior military official said on Thursday.

"We are considering the acquisition of 10 S-300 battalions from Russia in 2009," said Amanzhol Ospanov, head of the Kazakh Defense Ministry's weapons and materiel department.

The official added that each battalion "would comprise four launchers and support equipment," which could include a mobile command post and a target-designation radar.

Although Ospanov was not specific about a particular version of the S-300, he said that these systems had previously been in service with the Russian Armed Forces and would be delivered to Kazakhstan after being overhauled.

The latest version of the S-300 family is the S-300PMU2 Favorit, which has a range of up to 195 kilometers (about 120 miles) and can intercept aircraft and ballistic missiles at altitudes from 10 meters to 27 kilometers.

It is considered one of the world's most effective all-altitude regional air defense systems, comparable in performance to the U.S. MIM-104 Patriot system.

Ospanov said Kazakhstan has no plans of buying Russia's most advanced S-400 Triumph air defense systems in the near future "because of their high price."

Russia announced last year it was planning to expand military-technical cooperation with members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and set up an integrated air defense network with them.

The CSTO is a post-Soviet security grouping comprising Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

Kazakh Defense Minister Danial Akhmetov said on February 12 that the delivery of S-300 systems "would help the republic's integration into the CSTO and significantly enhance the protection of the country's airspace." (RIA Novosti)

Indian Air Force Targets 42 Squadrons Strength by 2022

IAF Maritime Jaguar

February 19, 2009, New Delhi -- Defence Minister A K Antony today said that by the end of the 13th Plan period, Indian Air Force's combat fleet would be of 42 squadrons, which is more than the strength sanctioned by the Government.

"During the period 2007-2022, the strength at the end of 11th, 12th and 13th Plan periods is expected to increase to 35.5, 35 and 42 squadrons respectively," Antony said in a written reply to a query in Rajya Sabha. Government has sanctioned the IAF to have a total of 39.5 squadrons of fighter aircraft.

He said that the air force will reach the peak of strength with the induction of Su-30 MKIs, Jaguars, Medium Multi-role Combat Aircraft (M-MRCA), Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) and the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA). Antony said at the beginning of the 11th Plan period, the force had only 32 squadrons.

Defence Minister added that the the IAF was in the process of carrying out upgrades in its existing fleet of Mirage 2000, MiG 21, MiG 27, MiG 29 and Jaguar fighter aircraft and adding force multipliers such as the Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems (AWACS) and mid-air refueling aircraft.(india-defence)

Sukhoi Confirms Su-35 Deliveries to Russian Air Force in 2011

SU35 Flanker

February 19, 2009, Moscow -- Russia's Sukhoi aircraft maker confirmed on Thursday that the advanced Su-35 Flanker multi-role fighter would enter service with the Russian Air Force in 2011.

"The current progress of the Su-35 testing program confirms the earlier announced timeframe for the deliveries of the aircraft to Russian and foreign customers in 2011," the company said in a statement.

The first two Su-35 prototypes have successfully conducted 87 flights since July 2008, demonstrating the aircraft's superior technical and combat characteristics.

Sukhoi is planning to add a Russia's Su-35 fighter to the testing program in 2009, and boost the current number of test flights to 150-160.

The Su-35 fighter, powered by two 117S engines with thrust vectoring, combines high maneuverability and the capability to effectively engage several air targets simultaneously using both guided and unguided missiles and weapon systems.

The aircraft features the new Irbis-E radar with a phased antenna array, which allows the pilot to detect and track up to 30 air targets, while simultaneously engaging up to eight targets.

It is equipped with a 30-mm cannon with 150 rounds and can carry up to eight tons of combat payload on 12 external mounts.

The company earlier said it planned to produce the new aircraft, billed as "4++ generation using fifth-generation technology," over a period of 10 years up to 2020.

The company is expecting to export at least 160 Su-35 fighters in the future to a number of countries, including India, Malaysia and Algeria. (RIA Novosti)

Eurofighter Nations Delay Meteor Missile until 2015

Eurofighter Firing MBDA Meteor

February 18, 2009 -- The four partner nations in Eurofighter have agreed to delay until 2015 the introduction of the Meteor, the advanced rocket-ramjet beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) designed by MBDA. The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is managing the development of Meteor, and is the only country to have committed to production so far.

However, the MoD told the UK National Audit Office that it was falling into line with Germany, Italy and Spain. After reviewing the “likely environment” (meaning the threat), the MoD said that the Raytheon AIM-120C AMRAAM missiles currently carried by the Typhoon would “provide sufficient capability out to 2015.

The Meteor was scheduled to enter UK service in August 2012, after an eight-year development period. That date has been redefined as the “platform-ready In-service date,” but subsequent integration onto the Typhoon will take three more years.

France and Sweden are also partners in the project, intending to buy Meteors for the Rafale and Gripen, respectively. An informed source suggested to AIN that the timetable of those two countries for integrating the new missile would be driven by the export prospects of the two fighters.

The initial airborne test-firings of the Meteor took place on the Gripen, after negotiations to use a Typhoon failed. The next round of test-firings will be from a British Tornado F.3 fighter this year. (ainonline)

Boeing SLAM ER Scores Direct Hit in Land-Based Moving Target Test

SLAM ER (Photo: Boeing)

February 18, 2009, St. Louis -- The Boeing [NYSE: BA] Standoff Land Attack Missile Expanded Response (SLAM ER) weapon system scored a direct hit against a remote-controlled, land-based moving target Jan. 15 in a flight test conducted at the U.S. Naval Air Warfare Center in China Lake, Calif.

"SLAM ER has demonstrated its effectiveness against stationary targets, moving surface-ship targets and, now, land-based moving targets," said Jan Browne, director of Stand-off Strike Weapons for Boeing. "This advanced capability provides an added level of security for our warfighters."

The test concluded a successful, four-part series of developmental/operational flight tests funded by the U.S. Navy Rapid Technology Transfer program. Previous test flights included engagement with remote-controlled mobile targets in 2006 and an operational test launch earlier in January.

For the Jan. 15 test, an aircraft equipped with the Navy Littoral Surveillance Radar System sent real-time targeting data to a Boeing F/A-18F aircraft, which relayed the data to the SLAM ER after the weapon launched from a second F/A-18F aircraft. The SLAM ER acquired and impacted a simulated mobile target traveling at approximately 12 miles per hour in a cluttered desert environment.

The test was designed to validate the radar system's ability to provide targeting information to the SLAM ER weapon, as well as SLAM ER's ability to acquire and impact the target with varied target speeds and background environments. This capability is now awaiting customer approval to become operational.

SLAM ER is a highly adaptable day/night, adverse-weather, over-the-horizon precision strike missile capable of hitting stationary or moving targets on land or at sea. (Boeing)

Jervis Bay Mine Field Swept Clean by RAN

HMAS Diamantina (Photo:

The expert skills of the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) elite mine warfare and clearance diving units is being tested in waters in and around Jervis Bay and Broken Bay on the New South Wales Coast as part of Exercise Mulgogger.

Exercise Mulgogger will be conducted by four Huon Class Mine Hunters, HMA Ships Diamantina, Norman, and Yarra as well as Mine Sweeper Auxiliary vessels Bandicoot and Wallaroo.

The two-week exercise is designed to challenge and enhance the RAN’s mine clearance and countermeasure capabilities. In the exercise scenario, mock enemy mines will be laid by a fictitious enemy to prevent safe passage of shipping, thereby seriously disrupting Australia’s Sea Lines of Communication. RAN units will neutralise the mine threat through a series of realistic mine hunting, minesweeping and clearance diving exercises.

“Training exercises such as Exercise Mulgogger are a great opportunity for our people to maintain core mine countermeasure skills and ensure our forces are prepared to protect Australia and its interests,” Commander Australian Mine Warfare and Clearance Diving Task Group, Commander Dean Schopen, said.

“Mulgogger also allows our mine warfare and clearance diving branch to display their expertise as a highly capable combined and integrated force.”

Exercise Mulgogger is an integral part of the RAN’s wider annual Fleet Concentration Period (FCP-09), an extensive six-week training activity that aims to reconstitute the mariner and war fighting skills of all RAN Fleet units. FCP-09 is part of ongoing Australian Defence Force (ADF) efforts to improve ADF capability, to protect Australia and its interests. (mediacentre)

Northrop Grumman Continues Legacy of Building Aerial Targets for the U.S. Navy With BQM-74E Contract Award

BQM-74E Aerial Targets

February 18, 2009, San Diego -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has been awarded a $49 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract for the procurement of 160 BQM-74E Aerial Targets and associated technical data for the U.S. Navy.

The BQM-74E is a high fidelity subsonic, subscale, jet-powered aerial target capable of being launched from land-based, shipboard, or airborne platforms. It is a highly maneuverable and flexible platform used to replicate enemy cruise missiles and aircraft for fleet training, and to test and evaluate anti-ship and anti-aircraft defensive weapons systems. It is routinely employed from remote fixed land sites and during deployed open ocean operations. Work is expected to be completed by May 2011.

Since 1968, the MQM/BQM-74 series of aerial targets has been the workhorse of the Navy's subsonic aerial target inventory, providing over 80 percent of all U.S. Navy target presentations. (GLOBE NEWSWIRE)

World Iran Develops Spy Drone Capable of Reaching Israel

Iran's UAV

February 18, 2009, Tehran -- Iranian scientists have developed an unmanned aerial vehicle capable of reaching Israel, an Iranian news agency said on Wednesday, citing a senior military official.

Deputy Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi made the announcement on Tuesday and described the development as "an important achievement," the Fars news agency reported.

"However, we cannot disclose the details of this project at present," the official said.

The reported range of 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) would make it possible for the Iranian drone to reach Israel.

Iran launched a domestic arms development program after a U.S. weapons embargo was imposed during its 1980-88 war with Iraq. Since 1992, Iran has reportedly produced its own Saeqeh and Azarakhsh jet fighters, stealth-capable Ghadir submarine, missile boats, torpedoes, tanks and armored carrier vehicles.

Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar said on January 27 that Iran had achieved self-sufficiency in manufacturing combat missiles of various modifications.

He added that Iran would continue to build up its defense capability to ensure regional stability and security.

"Our greater defense power is no threat to other countries," he said. "Iran only needs a system to deter and repulse possible external aggression against it."

Both Israel and the United States have refused to rule out the possibility of military action against Tehran over its failure to obey international nuclear non-proliferation demands.(RIA Novosti)

Lockheed Martin Completes Italian C-130J

February 17th, 2009, Marietta, Ga. -- February 17, 2009 – The Italian Ministry of Defense has confirmed that Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] has met the industrial benefit requirement associated with Italy's acquisition of 22 C-130J aircraft five years ahead of schedule. As a result of Lockheed Martin’s completion of this commitment, more than 70 partnerships within Italy's industrial community were implemented. These projects are projected to provide in excess of $2 billion in long-term economic impact to the Italian economy.

"The work resulting from this industrial return requirement represents yet another positive milestone in Lockheed Martin’s longstanding relationship with Italy and the Aeronautica Militare. Lockheed Martin is proud of the partnerships it has created with the Italian industrial community and looks forward to opportunities to further develop and enhance these relationships," said Ross Reynolds, Lockheed Martin vice president for C-130 programs.

A majority of the projects associated with the Lockheed Martin-Italy industrial return requirement have involved a wide range of Italian companies, including small and medium-sized enterprises. Initiatives included technology transfers, establishment of licenses or direct investment by Lockheed Martin within Italian industry.

"Over the past 40 years, Lockheed Martin has completed more than $40 billion in industrial benefits in more than 37 nations, and we're extremely proud that we have achieved this mutually beneficial accomplishment with Italy," said Larry McQuien, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics’ vice president for Business Ventures.

Lockheed Martin's C-130 program has a 35-year history with Italy and the Aeronautica Militare. In 1997, the Aeronautica Militare became one of the first customers to purchase and fly the C-130J and its crews have flown over 75,000 flight hours with their fleet ─ contributing significantly to the worldwide total of more than a half-million C-130J flight hours. The strong aeronautical relationship between Italy and Lockheed Martin is continuing in the F 35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter program. (

Danes Buy Lasso Anti-RPG Mesh

Ferbruary 17, 2009 -- An armor system that resembles a garden wire fence is to be used by Danish forces to protect their M113 armored personnel carriers in Afghanistan from rocket-propelled grenades.

This is the first order for RUAG's Lasso, which went on sale in September.

A spokesman for the Swiss company said the mesh of 4mm thick, deformation-resistant special steel weighs less than half as much as conventional solutions like slat/bar armor. The basic mesh is supplied by Switzerland's Geobrugg, a company better known for stopping avalanches and rock falls with its protection nets.

"The aim of the mesh is to hinder the ignition of the RPG before it impacts the vehicle to the extent that it no longer poses a threat," said the statement.

RUAG said the system also offers better protection than slat/bar armor and little affects a crew's field of vision.

The spokesman said several other potential deals are also in the pipeline.

Many militaries operating in Iraq and Afghanistan have added armor to vehicles against RPGs and roadside bombs, but the extra weight has reduced maneuverability, increased fuel consumption and cut the payload. (

Mexico Buys Orbiter Mini UAV in Multimillion-Dollar Deal

February 17, 2009, Newtown, Conn. -- The Mexican government has just signed a $22 million deal with Israeli company Aeronautics Defense Systems, Ltd.

The contract will supply the Orbiter Mini UAV spy aircraft and surveillance blimp to the Mexican Federal Police.

The small unmanned aircraft developed by Aeronautics Defense Systems, known as the Orbiter, has been used by the Israeli government for surveillance work in the Gaza Strip.

The Skystar 300 blimp will also be delivered under the contract. The Skystar 300 is capable of 24-hour monitoring with onboard cameras.

The new equipment will no doubt assist the Federal Police in fighting drug trafficking and drug-related violence in the region. (defpro)

Iran to Expand Fleet of Home-Made Fighter Jets


February 17, 2009, Tehran -- Iran will produce more modern military planes after its success in building 'Saeqeh' (Thunderbolt) and 'Azarakhsh' (Lightening) fighter jets, Iranian Deputy Defense Minister General Ahmad Vahidi said on Tuesday.

"We have built some fighter jets, including Azarakhsh and Saeqeh, in our country that could fly and it is natural that we won't stop and will take the necessary steps for their development," Vahidi told FNA on the sidelines of the 8th international Iran Airspace Conference in the central province of Isfahan.

Saeqeh, a joint product of the Iranian Air Force and the Defense Ministry, went on display as part of the Iranian air force's fleet during the military parades on the Army Day earlier this year.

He announced that Iran has produced spy planes with the flying range of 1,000 km, but declined to present any further details of "this important achievement".

Tehran launched an arms development program during the 1980-88 Iraqi imposed war on Iran, to compensate for a US weapons embargo. Since 1992, Iran has produced its own tanks, armored personnel carriers, missiles and fighter planes.


Yet, Iranian officials have always stressed that the country's military and arms programs serve defensive purposes and should not be perceived as a threat to any other country.

General Vahidi described antagonistic assessments and concerns expressed by a number of western countries specially about Iran's progress in the field of aerospace as their usual hostility towards the Islamic Republic and added, "They show enmity while they should welcome Iran's production of science, they want to deter Iran from acquiring technologies in the field of science."

"Even Iranian expatriates want dignity for their homeland and when they witness (our) domestic successes, they will undoubtedly have a motive for returning home," the Iranian General reiterated. (FARS)

Royal Navy Helos Get New Defenses

British Royal Navy Merlin Mk1 helicopters

February 16, 2009, London -- A handful of British Royal Navy Merlin Mk1 helicopters are flying with new defenses purchased through an urgent operational requirement to help the aircraft function in front-line operations.

The defensive suite "represents a step-change in Merlin's operational capabilities that can now comprise new roles and theatre environments," Lockheed Martin officials said in a Feb. 16 statement.

The Merlin Mk1 is primarily an anti-submarine helicopter, but with the mission system dropped out the rotorcraft can quickly be deployed for casualty evacuation, force protection, search and rescue, and other roles.

Lockheed, BAE Systems, QinetiQ and others combined to integrate, test and fit the new gear to the aircraft in a 7 million pound ($10.1 million) contract awarded by the Ministry of Defence in January 2008.

A spokesman for the U.K. arm of Lockheed declined to say how many helicopters were involved in the upgrade program.

The upgrade is part of the MoD's wider Merlin capability enhancement effort under a separate urgent operational requirement.

Some Merlins are to get full-motion cameras that can send imagery to the ground and a Westcam MX15 optical pod.

Trials on the sensor system are to start soon, said Royal Navy officers at a recent celebration to mark the arrival of the first Type 45 destroyer to its home base in Portsmouth, southern England. (

Northrop Grumman Completes Builder's Sea Trials for USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77)

February 16, 2009, Newport News, Va. -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NSYE:NOC) has completed builder's sea trials of the nation's newest and most advanced nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77).

Builder's sea trials provide an opportunity to test systems, components and compartments at sea for the first time. The trials also include high-speed runs and a demonstration of the carrier's other capabilities.

"The road to get CVN 77 to this point has been a long journey that started in January 2001 with the detailed design and construction contract," said Scott Stabler, Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding's vice president overseeing the project. "Since then, we've worked millions of man hours, installed more than eight and a half million feet of cable, updated more than 70 percent of the design, and brought 90,000 tons of steel to life. Seeing CVN 77 in action, doing what she was built to do, brings a great sense of pride and accomplishment. She's a credit to the shipbuilders from every part of the shipyard that made this possible."

"Builder's trials is a very exciting time for the crew of USS George H.W. Bush as it is the first time we take her to sea," said Capt. Kevin E. O'Flaherty, the aircraft carrier's commanding officer. "The success of sea trials wouldn't be possible without the hard work of the ship's crew working along side the shipbuilders to test and train on this complex and capable ship. I'm very impressed by the dedication of all."

USS George H. W. Bush sailors, shipbuilders from Northrop Grumman's Shipbuilding sector in Newport News, and the Navy's Supervisor of Shipbuilding and NAVSEA personnel worked side-by-side testing systems to ensure the warship can operate in defense of freedom around the world for the next 50 years. Also taking part in the sea trials were Adm. Kirkland H. Donald, director of Naval Nuclear Propulsion; Vice Adm. Kevin M. McCoy, commander, Naval Sea Systems Command; and Rear Admiral Michael McMahon, the Navy's program executive officer for aircraft carriers.

Following builder's trials, the ship will undergo acceptance trials, conducted by representatives of the U.S. Navy Board of Inspection and Survey, to test and evaluate the ship's systems and performance. Upon completion of acceptance trials, the ship will return to Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, Va.

Named after America's 41st president, USS George H. W. Bush is the 10th and final Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. Its keel was laid Sept. 6, 2003; it was christened Oct. 7, 2006 and commissioned Jan. 10, 2009. At 1,092 feet in length, USS George H. W. Bush is nearly as long as the Empire State Building is tall. Upon delivery to the Navy in the spring, it will weigh 97,000 tons and carry more than 80 combat aircraft. Its top speed will exceed 30 knots, and powered with two nuclear reactors, it will operate for more than 20 years without refueling. (GLOBE NEWSWIRE)

Indian Navy to Commission INS Carnicobar, INS Chetlat

INS Carnicobar

February 17, 2009, Chennai -- Today the Indian Navy will commission two ships, INS Carnicobar and INS Chetlat. These would be the first two in a series of ten Water Jet fast attack ships being built at Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers, Kolkata.

The ships are being commissioned at Chennai by the Hon'ble Governor of Tamil Nadu, Shri Surjit Singh Barnala and are the first ever water jet propelled ships of the Indian Navy. The commissioning marks another step in the direction of indigenisation of the Navy's ship building efforts.

These fast attack crafts are named after pristine islands located in the Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep respectively and will be based at Chennai thereby strengthening coastal security of the region. These fast attack crafts are most suited for interception of fast moving surface crafts apart from performing anti smuggling, fisheries protection, as well as search and rescue operations where time is of paramount importance.

INS Chetlat

These are the two ships of a new generation of ten Water Jet Fast Attack Crafts, designed and built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers, Kolkata. They are an improvement upon the earlier version of the Fast Attack Crafts, with a more efficient hull form developed indigenously. The Fast Attack Crafts can achieve speeds in excess of 35 knots.

The Water Jets of these ships are coupled with latest generation MTU 16V 4000 M90 engines with a combined propulsion power of 8160KW. The modified Aluminium superstructure of the vessels, reduces their Radar Cross Sections (RCS) and also provides improved habitability. A Reverse Osmosis (RO) Plants allow for fresh water generation increasing vessel endurance while the Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) complies with the latest International Maritime Organisation (IMO) regulations on sea pollution. The armament includes the 30mm CRN-91 Gun along with sensors manufactured by Ordnance Factory, Medak. The ships are equipped with IGLA missiles, SLRs, HMGs and LMG/MMG in their armament fit. These features are an up-dation over ships of the previous class and the current version of design is comparable with similar ships, built across the world. (

Medvedev Says Russia Ready to Supply Helicopters to Bolivia


February 16, 2009, Moscow -- Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday that Moscow was planning to supply a large number of helicopters to Bolivia.

"We are hoping to start the implementation of a first large contract on the delivery of helicopters to Bolivia in the near future," Medvedev said at a news conference after talks with Bolivian President Evo Morales in Moscow.

Medvedev added that in the future Russia would be willing to expand the list of armaments supplied to the Latin American country.

"We are ready to continue talks [on arms exports to Bolivia] in the future," the Russian president said.

Some sources earlier reported that Bolivia expressed interest in buying a number of Russian-made Mi-17 multipurpose helicopters to combat terrorism and drug trafficking.

During the talks in Moscow, Russia and Bolivia signed a bilateral agreement on military-technical cooperation.

Mikhail Dmitriyev, head of the Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, said on Monday that Moscow could offer La Paz a loan for the purchase of Russian-made weaponry, without specifying the amount.

"We are working on this issue, and if the deal is approved it will cover not only helicopters, but all military equipment supplied to Bolivia in the future," Dmitriyev said. (RIA Novosti)

Sailing for Exercise Noble Manta

February 16, 2009 -- NATO has laid on a major Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) exercise called Noble Manta. With 5 allied diesel-electric submarines, and one British Nuclear submarine ‘playing’ against us. Our Task Force has been added to with another 3 German and Italian ships joining us. Now 8 ships in total we will not be short of small, quiet, nimble and dangerous adversaries, against which to prove our ASW skills in the sea areas to the East of Sicily. In addition there will be a number of Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) and helicopters, from a variety of nations also contributing to the battle against the submarines.

This will be one of the largest ASW exercises to which many of us on St Albans have been exposed. St Albans was originally designed for Anti-Submarine Warfare and with the addition of our “new” Sonar we are all looking forward to this opportunity to train in what many consider to be our primary role. This exercise will be a great chance to test our new and reputedly super-effective Low Frequency sonar, and to see just what this brings to the party. If it is as good as it is said to be, there is every chance the submarines will be doing everything they can to avoid being detected by us.

All in all it would be fair to say that we are all pretty excited about what the next two weeks will hold – and dead keen to get stuck in…(

Russia's State Arms Exporter Has $20 Bln in Foreign Orders


February 16, 2009, Moscow -- Russian state-controlled arms exporter Rosoboronexport has a foreign orders portfolio of $20 billion, company official Nikolai Dimidyuk said on Monday.

Russia exports weapons to over 80 countries. Among the key buyers of Russian-made weaponry are China, India, Algeria, Venezuela, Iran, Malaysia and Serbia.

Dimidyuk, Rosoboronexport's special programs director, said the majority of the current orders were from India and China, while the amount of orders from Arab states was insignificant.

He added however that the company had recently concluded an arms contract with an Arab country. He also said that a contract for the delivery of spare parts had been agreed on with a European state, although he declined to name the countries concerned.

"We have recently signed a contract on the delivery of BMP-3M [infantry fighting vehicles] with an Arab country and a contract on the supply of spare weapons parts to a European country," the official said.

Russia exported $8 billion worth of armaments and military hardware in 2008 and is planning to increase arms exports by 6% to $8.5 billion in 2009.

The most popular types of weaponry bought from Russia are Sukhoi and MiG fighters, warships, air defense systems, helicopters, battle tanks, armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles.

Russia also maintains traditionally strong positions in the sales of small arms, and anti-tank and surface-to-air missile systems.

Dimidyuk said Russia would extensively promote Russian-made weaponry at the Idex 2009 show in Abu Dhabi, the capital of United Arab Emirates, on February 22-26.

"We will conduct aggressive marketing policies at the upcoming arms show in Abu Dhabi, and display a large amount of weaponry for ground forces, air defense, navy and air forces," the official said. (RIA Novosti)

HAL To Build Advanced LCA Tejas Mark 2

LCA Tejas

February 15, 2009, Bangalore -- India will build a more powerful version of its indigenously developed light combat aircraft for sale to the air force as the country seeks to reduce dependence on imports from Russian and European planemakers.

Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd., the state company that builds the aircraft named Tejas, will begin work on the 'LCA Mark 2' soon, Chairman Ashok K. Baweja said in Bangalore yesterday. India's air force will take delivery of the first version of the Tejas for its fleet next year, Baweja said.

Hindustan Aeronautics will modify the plane's fuselage and equip it with a more powerful engine to make the jet more appealing to the Indian Air Force, which has traditionally relied on Russian MiGs and Sukhoi fighter jets. India imports 70 percent of its arms requirements and needs to boost local production, Defense Minister A.K. Antony said Feb. 11.

The state company will produce 40 units of the light combat plane before production of the Mark 2 starts, Baweja said. The country is also developing a twin-engine medium combat aircraft and an unmanned combat aerial vehicle, M. Natarajan, scientific adviser to India's defense minister, said in Bangalore today. "We are confident of implementing them in two decades," he added. (

PHALCON AWACS Delivery to IAF Delayed Till March

February 14, 2009 -- IAF will now have to wait till March end for Israeli airborne early warning system, whose induction has already been delayed by 16 months, ddi Indian Government news reported on Friday.

"The Israeli PHALCON airborne early warning and control system (AWACS), which will provide the IAF an eye in the skies to perform surveillance and reconnaissance roles, will arrive in India only by March end," a senior IAF officer said in New Delhi on Friday.

The AWACS mounted on Russian-made IL-76 heavy lift transport aircraft was originally scheduled to be delivered by the Israel Aerospace Industries by November 2007, but could not meet the deadline.

AWACS, a major force multiplier for the Air Force, can provide advance information even as an enemy fighter jet takes off from enemy territory, giving enough time for the IAF to scramble its own fighter jets to counter the enemy aircraft.

It is also an important link in the IAF's plans to go network centric by establishing an advanced Integrated Air Command and Control System (IACCS) through the Air Force Net (AFNET) communication network.

"With IAF rapidly progressing with its network centricity plans, AWACS will be an important element...the air the IACCS," the officer said.

The AWACS will link the IAF's ground and air-based weapon platforms and communication system, which would be vital for IAF's network-centric operations.

With IAF aiming to become a network-centric force by 2010-11, it has been trying to inter-link its land, air and space assets and platforms to provide real-time information for increasing its situational awareness during conflicts.

Under the AFNET project, the IAF has already linked about 70 percent of its land-based assets and platforms to the IACCS, the officer said.

India had in March 2004 signed an USD 1.1 billion deal with Israel for three AWACS fitted on IL-76 platforms that would help IAF detect incoming hostile cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles much before ground-based radars track the rogue flying machines.

IAF's Agra air base has geared up to receive the first AWACS and has got its infrastructure improved by extending the runway, establishing an avionics lab, and integrating ground systems for future operations. (defpro)

Air Defense Unit Added to Iran's Armed Forces


Februari 15, 2009, Tehran -- Iran formed an air defense unit as a part of its air force restructuring to boost the country's defense capabilities, a senior commander said.

Referring to a project for partitioning Iranian Air force, Commander of Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base Brigadier General Ahmad Mighani told reporters on Saturday that Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei had ordered that the air force be split into an air force and an air defense unit.

"Now, we are separating these two sections and, thus, the Islamic Republic's Army will split into 4 independent forces, including ground force, air force, navy and air defense Unit," the senior commander reiterated.

"Formation of an independent air defense unit aims to boost combat capability and expand air defense combat capability," Mighani said, adding that the restructuring would accomplish next year.

"All air defense related systems of the country, including radars, data collecting systems, long-, mid- and short-range missile launchers and defense systems will come under full control of the air defense unit," the commander noted.

He further noted the moves by the Iranian air force to modernize equipment and develop home-made technologies, and pointed to the development of Iran's National Radar as among efforts made by his forces to optimize the country's radar systems.

Reminding rapid changes in the manufacture of Hawk missile systems in the last two years, the commander stated, "We have had good innovations in weapons, defense equipment and renovation of old equipment this year, including optimization of electronic warfare systems, communication capabilities, civil defense and data collection systems."

Meantime, Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General is slated to visit Moscow to discuss bilateral military-technical cooperation with Russia. But there has been significant media speculation concerning possible negotiations between Moscow and Tehran on the delivery of S-300 air defense systems to the Islamic Republic, although Russia has consistently dismissed these rumors.

The advanced version of the S-300 missile system, called S-300PMU1 (SA-20 Gargoyle), has a range of over 150 kilometers (over 100 miles) and can intercept ballistic missiles and aircraft at low and high altitudes, making the system an effective tool for warding off possible air strikes.

Media reports on possible S-300 delivery to Iran have alarmed the US and Israel, which have consistently refused to rule out the possibility of military action against Tehran. The systems could greatly improve Iranian defenses against any air strike on its strategically important sites, including nuclear facilities.

Iran recently took delivery of 29 Russian-made Tor-M1 air defense missile systems under a $700-million contract signed in late 2005. Russia has also trained Iranian Tor-M1 specialists, including radar operators and crew commanders. (FARS)

South Korea to complete missile defence by 2012

February 15, 2009, Seoul -- South Korea plans to complete its own missile defence system against North Korea in three years, officials said on Sunday.

Officials at Seoul's defence ministry said that South Korea was pushing to establish its own air defence unit, exclusively to detect and intercept North Korean ballistic missiles, by 2012.

The unit, to cost a total of 300 billion won (USD 214 million), will complete an air and missile defence project which has been pushed for since 2006, they said.

Seoul plans to buy new radars which can detect objects up to 1,000 kilometres away for the new system, which will put the North's missiles under close watch around the clock, they added.

The two Koreas are still technically at war since the 1950-1953 Korean conflict ended in a fragile armistice.

North Korea has short-range Scuds and Rodongs with a range of 1,300 kilometres, while actively developing longer-range Taepodong missiles that could reach the United States.

Scuds and Rodongs put all of South Korea within range. In recent weeks, Pyongyang has apparently started assembling its longest-range Taepondong-2 missile and it could be ready for launch late this month, according to media reports in Seoul and Washington. (

Fifth and Last Royal Norwegian Navy Nansen Class Frigate Launched

February 14, 2009 -- On February 11, Navantia has launched the fifth frigate for the Royal Norwegian Navy, the F-314 frigate “Thor Heyerdahl”, named after this famous XX century Norwegian explorer, at Fene-Ferrol shipyard.

The launching has taken place as an internal work milestone, after the cancellation of the official ceremony, scheduled for 9th. February, due to the worst weather conditions.

The Godmother has been Miss Elisabeth Heyerdahl Lampe, great grandaughter of the explorer, and has been attended by NDLO General Director, General Trond Karlsen, as most relevant participant from the Royal Norwegian Navy. As an internal event, Navantia has been represented by the Fene-Ferrol shipyard, Angel Recamán Rivas.
The keel of this frigate was laid last March and the ship is expected to be delivered in September 2010, finalising the programme for the construction of 5 F-310 class frigates.

The contract was signed in June 2000, after an international tender, in which Navantia competed with the most important european shipyards, and was until the contract with Australia, the biggest exportation contract in the history of naval construction in Spain. (

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