HAL Tejas: DRDO Conducting Two Week Long Weaponization Tests

India's premier defence agency DRDO is carrying out a two-week second phase weapon testing trials of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) at an Air Force base in the north-western sector.

"The focus of the current phase of testing is safe separation and accuracy of weapon delivery. The results from the tests would validate aerodynamic interference data as well as complex weapon release algorithms in different modes of release," DRDO officials said.

A composite test team comprising specialists from Aeronautical Development Agency, IAF, HAL and other aerospace agencies is based at the trial location to evaluate the performance of the indigenous combat aircraft. DRDO has directly linked the trial location with the base telemetry station at Bangalore via enabling designers and other specialists to monitor the activities in real time. ISRO's GPS Radiosonde is used for gathering accurate upper air data at the trial location.

DRDO is expected to hand over the first squadron of the LCA in December 2010 to the IAF in the initial operational clearance (IOC) configuration. A total of seven LCA squadrons will be inducted in the IAF. The first two squadrons of the IAF will be in the IOC configuration whereas the rest five will be the LCA Mark II, which will be an upgraded version of the aircraft. (india-defence)

Defence Airpower to be Displayed at Avalon

RAAF F-111

March 6, 2009, A wide spectrum of the Australian Defence Force’s air power will be on display during the Australian International Air Show 2009 at Avalon Victoria, Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Mark Binskin announced today.

The biennial event is Australia’s largest and most comprehensive air show and aerospace exhibition. Around 50 ADF aircraft will be on display, including nearly all types of aircraft flown by the Royal Australian Air Force. Royal Australian Navy and Australian Army helicopters will be on show.

“The ADF’s flying and ground displays at Avalon will aim to inspire the next generation of air crew and ground support teams. Defence Force Recruiting will have a significant presence,” Air Marshal Binskin said.

“In addition to displaying the ADF’s cutting edge aviation capabilities, the air show and aerospace exhibition is an important chance for Defence to emphasise its close working relationship with industry, in particular the contractors and commercial partners in project delivery.

“The Australian International Air Show is also a significant international engagement opportunity. A number of foreign Defence Forces are sending senior representatives and high tech assets to Avalon,” Air Marshal Binskin said.

Air show visitors will see the next-generation RAAF fighter, the formidable F/A-18F Super Hornet, which will come into RAAF service next year.

This will be the last time RAAF F-111s and Caribous will appear at the Australian International Air Show, before they are retired from operational service.

Approximately 650 ADF personnel will deploy to Avalon Airfield and Defence bases throughout Victoria in support of the air show.

The air show at Avalon Airport runs from 10 to 15 March, with public access from 13 to 15 March.(mediacentre)

Iran Starts Construction of Drone Manufacturing Plant

March 5, 2009, Tehran -- Iran on Monday started construction of a plant in the northern province of Mazandaran to mass produce Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).

Hamed Saeedi, Managing Director of Farnas Aerospace Company in charge of the project, said during a ceremony Monday night that his company has been dealing with designing and manufacturing UAVs and reconnaissance and pilot training drones for the last 9 years.

"We plan to manufacture UAVs, including unmanned choppers and drones, at this site" he said, referring to plant in Mazandaran province.

Regarding specifications of the UAVs to be produced by the plant, Saeedi noted, "Drones will be of the tactical type, with a short range of 400 to 500 meters flying altitude which cannot be detected by radio waves as they will be stealth aircraft."

He singled out detection and control of contraband trafficking on land and in the sea and assistance in firefighting operations, specially in the woods as among other advantages of the UAVs to be manufactured in the plant.

Iran has recently made good progress in the air industry and has succeeded in gaining the technical know-how for producing stealth aircraft.

Iranian Air force Commander Brigadier General Hassan Shahsafi announced in early February that Iran's home-made radar-evading aircraft will join the country's fleet within the next 8 months.

"Military Experts are working on the radar-evading aircraft and God willing its test flight will be done in the first half of the next (Iranian) year (beginning on March 20)," Shahsafi told reporters.(fars)

Russia to Beef Up Military Capability in South, Black Sea fleet


March 5, 2009, Moscow -- Russia will enhance the defense capabilities of its troops deployed in the country's "southern region," including the Black Sea Fleet, a deputy defense minister said on Thursday.

Gen. Vladimir Popovkin said after thoroughly analyzing "the outcome of the South Ossetian conflict," the Defense Ministry had proposed an array of measures to strengthen its troops in the country's southern region, as well as the Black Sea Fleet.

He said the Ground Forces would be provided with new multiple rocket launching systems and reconnaissance assets, while supplies of arms and military equipment would be generally increased.

In the Air Force, the modernization of MiG-29 Fulcrum fighters and Su-25 Frogfoot ground attack planes and Mi-28H Night Hunger helicopter gunships is to be completed and new warplanes (including Su-27SM, Su-30MK-2) and combat helicopters (including Ka-52, Mi-28N, Mi-24M, and Mi-8MTB5) will be supplied.

The Air Defense Forces will be provided with new Pantsir-S surface-to-air missile systems.

Popovkin said naval units would be supplied with new Lada Project 677 diesel-electric submarines, modernized versions of the Varshavyanka-class submarine, and Bal-U mobile coastal missile systems.

The Russian Navy dismissed last month media reports claiming that its Black Sea Fleet, based in Ukraine, had been put on alert and was preparing to urgently go to sea.

Russia's Black Sea Fleet currently uses a range of naval facilities in Ukraine's Crimea as part of a 1997 agreement, under which Ukraine agreed to lease the bases to Russia until 2017.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko announced last summer that Ukraine would not extend the lease of the base in the Crimean city of Sevastopol beyond 2017, and urged Russia to start preparations for a withdrawal.

Russian media previously reported that Moscow was also looking at possible naval facilities in Yemen, Syria and Libya, among other countries. Russian military officials are also on record as saying Moscow could build up its presence in the Mediterranean to make up for the possible loss of Sevastopol.(RIA Novosti)

India Cruise Missile Test Successful

March 4, 2009, New Delhi -- A new version of India's BrahMos cruise missile was successfully tested Wednesday at a firing range in the Rajasthan desert, officials said.

India's Defense Research and Development Organization indicated that the launch of a new version of the supersonic missile with a 180-mile range was successful after an earlier test firing failed to hit its target, the Press Trust of India reported.

"The Block II BrahMos missile was successfully launched at (10:30 a.m.) this morning," officials told PTI, adding that BrahMos "took two-and-a half-minutes to strike its target in the Pokhran firing range in Rajasthan."

Officials said the test launch was witnessed by Deputy Army Chief (Planning and Systems) Lt. Gen. M.S. Dadwal among others. In a Jan. 20 test of the Indo-Russian joint venture, the missile deviated from its course and failed to hit the target, the news agency said. (upiasia)

Kockums Prepares Anti-Piracy Vessels

March 4, 2009 -- The Swedish Government has given the Swedish Navy the green light to participate in the EU’s mission to eliminate piracy off the coast of Somalia. The Swedish mission will involve the Swedish Navy corvettes HMS Stockholm and HMS Malmö, accompanied by the support vessel HMS Trossö. Kockums is currently engaged in preparing the vessels for this international operation. For Kockums, this also means organizing a rapid-response capability, in case of a serious breakdown, as well as support and maintenance services. We maintain several technical support flying squads.

Pirate attacks against shipping are a growing problem in many parts of the world. A total of about 230 attacks were reported last year, some 100 of which occurred in the waters off Somalia, where the Swedish Navy has now been tasked by the UN with protecting seaborne food relief en route to the country’s starving population. The Gulf of Aden is especially dangerous to enter or pass through.

The Swedish force totals 160 personnel. The Navy’s mission is to protect the food transports, not to track or pursue the pirates. Even so, the mission is highly dangerous, and if support vessels are attacked, the UN’s rules of engagement permit the use of armed force. This means that the vessels would be free to use their weapons.

Heavily armed pirates have transformed the Gulf of Aden into the most dangerous stretch of water in the world. When in African or other dangerous waters affected by piracy, many merchant crews electrify ships’ railings, prepare their water cannon for action and double-up their lookouts.

The pirates often use support vessels, which may take the form of a larger fishing vessel. These are used to launch smaller high-speed motorboats, with as many as ten pirates in each boat. They normally attack their targets while underway, from several directions at once, armed with automatic weapons and, quite often, with recoilless antitank weapons. They board the target vessel by shooting rope ladders onto the deck and fastening them to the railings, while providing covering fire.

In such situations, the crew of the target vessel often withdraw to the bridge and lock themselves in, in accordance with the owner’s standing orders. This makes it easy for the pirates to gain the upper hand and climb aboard. In some instances, the pirates have inside help from a member of the crew. (defpro)

Mauritius, India Sign Pact for HAL Dhruv Delivery by March 2009 End

March 1, 2009 -- India has signed a pact with Mauritius for supply of a 'Dhruv' Advanced Light Helicopter built by state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

Mauritius will be the second country after Equador to get the multi-role, multi-mission new generation helicopter. The helicopter is likely to be handed over this month to Mauritius for use by its police, officials said here.

The state-of-the-art helicopter is being supplied under an inter-governmental MoU concluded last week. The chopper, which costs around seven million USD, is being supplied under a 100 million USD line of credit extended by India to Mauritius over three years ago, they said. Equador became the first country to acquire Dhruv helicopters last month when it signed a contract for seven choppers for its Air Force.

The armed version of Dhruv can be fitted with rockets and a 20 mm gun. Dhruv also has a variant which is equipped with 'fire and forget' air-to-air missiles and 70 mm rockets that can be fired in direct and indirect mode. Dhruv won the Equadorian contract, outperforming rival machines from global majors like Eurocopter, mainly due to its lower price tag. Equador already got five helicopters and the remaining two will be handed over in six months.(india-defence)

Boeing Insitu ScanEagle UAS Completes Sea Trials With Singapore Navy

A Boeing Insitu ScanEagle unmanned aircraft system launches from a Republic of Singapore Navy ship, observed by Boeing Field Service Representative Brad Cottell.

March 02, 2009, Singapore -- ScanEagle, a long-endurance, fully autonomous unmanned aircraft system (UAS) developed by The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] and subsidiary Insitu, today successfully completed a ship-based trial with the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN).

The trial included both an RSN LST (Landing Ship, Tank) and a frigate. ScanEagle was launched and recovered from the ships' helicopter decks, flying day missions using an electro-optical camera payload and night missions using an infrared camera payload.

During the flights, the ScanEagle UAS successfully demonstrated sea-based launch and recovery capabilities and the ease with which the physical ground support equipment and control hardware can be integrated onboard. All tactical objectives and operational scenarios set for the flights were achieved.

"ScanEagle performed exceptionally well during the trials and proved it has the potential to be an asset for building the RSN's organic ship-based unmanned aerial vehicle capability," said Andrew Duggan, ScanEagle program manager for Boeing Defence Australia. "The ScanEagle UAS adds another dimension to persistent situational awareness for the ship's crew and generates actionable intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information."

Boeing Defence Australia provided a complete maritime ScanEagle system for the trial, including a ground control station, communication links, launcher and SkyHook recovery system. A Boeing Insitu team deployed to Singapore for the entire trial.

The ScanEagle UAS has operated from a variety of maritime platforms, most notably U.S. Navy ships since 2005, achieving 1,500 launches and recoveries. It has also operated from a UK Royal Navy Type 23 frigate and from commercial vessels.

Boeing Defence Australia began operating ScanEagle in December 2006. Since then, it has surpassed 16,000 flight hours supporting Australian Land Forces overseas as well as delivering in-country operator and field maintainer training.(boeing)

Cochin Shipyard Begins Vikrant Class Aircraft Carrier Construction

Joining an elite club of nations capable of building large warships, India began the construction of its first indigenous aircraft carrier at the Cochin Shipyard here and will go in for 2 to 3 more carriers in the heavier class.

Pressing a remote to lower the keel -- the ship's backbone -- into the construction dock of the shipyard, Defence Minister A K Antony said, "The Navy's carrier will showcase India's technological prowess and warships' building capabilities to the world. It will be the largest ever warship to be built in India." The 40,000-tonne carrier will operate nearly 30 aircraft including the Russian MiG-29Ks fighters, Kamov-31 helicopters and the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA).

"This is a crucial milestone and an occasion to cherish in the shipbuilding traditions and maritime history of the nation. The culmination of this prestigious project, sometime in 2014, will transform India into an aircraft-building nation," Antony said.

He said that India will certainly produce more indigenous aircraft carrier, but in the heavier class category to meet the future challenges and needs of maritime security. "We hope to operate two to three aircraft carriers simultaneously in the not too distant future," Antony said. (india-defence)

Russia Says Self-Sufficient for Early Warning Missile Data

February 27, 2009, Moscow -- Russia no longer depends on Ukraine to provide it with strategic missile tracking data following the launch of its new radar facility in the country's south, the commander of Russia's Space Forces said on Friday.

Russia's Voronezh-DM radar site in the southern town of Armavir went into service on Thursday.

Maj. Gen. Oleg Ostapenko said the Armavir radar would monitor missile routes and probable directions for a missile attack in the south and southeast of Russia in place of the early warning facilities in Mukachevo in western Ukraine and Sevastopol, the Crimea.

Russia terminated a 1997 agreement with Ukraine on the use of both Ukrainian radars in February 2008 on the grounds that they had become obsolete.

With an effective range of 4,000 kilometers (2,500 miles) the Voronezh-class radar has capabilities similar to its predecessors, the Dnepr and Daryal, which are currently deployed outside Russia, but uses less energy and is more environmentally friendly.

Gen. Ostapenko said Russia would build more radar stations to replace the existing ones, adding that the Armavir facility was the second, after the Lekhtusi complex, in the Leningrad Region, which had been put into operation in March 2006.

Washington wants to place 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a radar station in the neighboring Czech Republic, purportedly to counter a missile threat from Iran and other "rogue" states. Russia has fiercely opposed the plans, saying the European shield would destroy the strategic balance of forces and threaten Russia's national. (RIA Novosti)

Patria Nemo Navy mortar system selected for UAE

February 27, 2009, Abu Dhabi -- United Arab Emirates Naval Forces will acquire 12 new patrol boats and retrofit the twelve existing boats in their fleet. Patria has been selected to supply mortar systems to a part of these 25 meter vessels that are originally of Swedish design. These systems will create a new, mobile fire support system with high firepower and good mobility for the coastal protection.

“We are very pleased that the UAE Armed Forces has chosen Patria Nemo Navy especially after having ordered Patria AMV vehicles earlier. This order confirms Patria’s position as the global market leader in turreted mortar systems. We also see the Arabian Peninsula as one of our focus areas in the future”, states Mr Seppo Seppälä, President of Patria Land & Armament Oy.

Patria Nemo is the latest member in Patria’s mortar system family. It is a 120 mm remote controlled mortar turret, providing both direct and indirect fire support. As a modern and compact system, Patria Nemo can easily be mounted onto various tracked and wheeled chassis. Due to its low weight of only 1500 kg, Patria Nemo is now also adaptable to lightweight, high-speed vessels and can be effectively used for harbour patrolling and protection, coastal guarding and infantry landing operations.(defpro)

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