April 18, 2009, Beirut -- United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) Commander Maj Gen Claudio Graziano said Indonesia`s warship KRI Diponegoro-365 was eligible to be part of the Marine Task Force of the UNIFI (MTF-UNIFIL).
"I highly appreciate Indonesia`s participation in the UN peace-keeping mission in Lebanon, especially in becoming part of MTF-UNIFIL," Graziano said during a cocktail party on board the KRI Diponegoro at Beyrouth port in Lebanon on Friday night.
According to him, Indonesia had warships like KRI Diponegoro which had a capability to meet UN standards to carry out international peace-keeping assignments, especially in South Lebanon.
"The participation of KRI Diponegoro in the MTF-UNIFIL indicates Indonesia`s capability and commitment to supporting he UN mission to keep and maintain security in Lebanon," Graziano said.
He expressed hope that the presence of KRI Diponegoro in Lebanon would motivate UNIFIL to reach its target of creating and maintaining peace both at sea and on the land in South Lebanon.
"Lebanese waters are part of a volatile area where arms smuggling often happens but with the presence of the MTF-UNIFIL the level of conflict in these areas is expected to be reduced significantly," he said.
Graziano added that the presence of KRI Diponegoro would support the improvement in military cooperation between Indonesia and Lebanon, especially between the two countries` navies.
The Indonesian warship, equipped among other things with a BO-105 NV-414 helicopter, arrived at Beyrouth port in Lebanon on April 16, 2009 and will head to its operation zone on April 19.
In Lebanon, KRI Diponegoro would soon join the the MTF UNIFIL`s Commander Task Force (CTF)-448 which already comprises warships from France, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Belgium, Spain and Germany.
KRI Diponegoro-365 as Konga XXVIII`s Maritime Task Force would be posted in Zone I together with the Belgium contingent.
National Defense Forces (TNI) Chief General Djoko Santoso said in Jakarta recently that it was for the first time that TNI, especially the Navy, had sent a maritime task force to join a UN peace keeping force.
He said KRI Diponegoro would serve as part of MTF UNIFIL for six months until October 2009, and if the mission was successful, TNI would send another warship.
April 17, 2009, NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, Patuxent River, Md. -- A NAVAIR and Northrop Grumman team designed and built three F-5F Franken-Tiger Adversary aircraft to meet an urgent Fleet requirement.
The F-5F Franken-Tiger was built using parts from a Navy two-seat F-5F Tiger II aircraft and from single-seat, former Swiss Air Force, F-5E aircraft.
“A Fleet requirement came into our office in late September 2005 asking for more F-5 Adversary pilots to staff a new squadron being established at Naval Air Station Key West, Florida.” said Jay Bolles, Adversary Aircraft program manager (PMA-207). “We needed a new two-seat trainer in order to meet this requirement.”
The four remaining Navy F-5F Tiger II’s were too costly to maintain, had very little service life left and needed to be retired, added Bolles. One of the Navy F-5Fs was lost in a mid-air collision on June 13, 2008 so there were only three left to convert.
“Our program office was already working with our industry partner to convert 41 newer, former Swiss Air Force F-5E aircraft and older Navy F-5E Adversary aircraft into new F-5Ns,” said Bolles. “So building the Franken-Tigers was a natural extension.”
This is how the Franken-Tigers were created, he said.
“Very simply, we took the two-seat cockpit section and the tail section of the old Navy F-5Fs and bolted these on to the newer center section of the former Swiss F-5Es,” said Bolles. “The conversion work took approximately two years to complete and was a model of cooperation between NAVAIR and our industry partner, Northrop Grumman. The Block I Avionics upgrade, the LN-260 Inertial Navigation Unit and the cockpit display unit was also included in the baseline configuration, vastly improving navigation and pilot situational awareness. We will deliver 41 F-5Ns and three F-5F Franken-Tigers on time and on budget.”
The first Franken-Tiger made its maiden flight on November 25, 2008 and was delivered to Marine Fighter Squadron, Training 401 (VMFT-401) at Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma, Ariz., on December 9, 2008.
The second Franken-Tiger was delivered to Fighter Composite Squadron 111 (VFC-111) at NAS Key West, Fla., in December 19, 2008 and the third is scheduled to be delivered to VFC-13 at NAS Fallon, Nev., in January 2010.
April 17, 2009, Tehran -- Commander of the Iranian Army Ground Force General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan announced Tehran's readiness to manufacture defensive tools and equipment in joint cooperation with friendly countries.
Speaking at a gathering of foreign military attaches in Tehran today, General Pourdastan referred to the production of home-made military equipment, including Zolfaqar tanks, Sayyad personnel carrier, different kinds of drones and other modern weapons, and voiced Iran's preparedness to cooperate with friendly countries in this regard.
He pointed to Iran's significant achievements in building new and modern weapons, and said, "Although the region is faced with several crises due to the foreigners' presence, the Islamic Iran is at the zenith of strength."
The General described Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan as countries hit with crises due to the deployment and presence of foreign troops, and cautioned that occupiers may not suffice to their military presence in such countries and would launch attacks on other nations if they don't face resistance.
General Pourdastan noted that Iran would not initiate war with any country, but meantime stressed, "We consider defending our country necessary and the units of the Army's Ground Force as part of the (Islamic Republic) armed forces are always ready (to combat enemies)."
To conclude his remarks, the commander urged the foreign military attaches to convey Iran's message of friendship to their governments, nations and armies.
April 17, 2009 -- As part of the Government’s recovery plan, STX France and DCNS have been given the contract to build the French Navy’s third Projection and Command Vessel (BPC) for the French Navy. Work on the third BPC was launched today in Saint-Nazaire by Hervé Morin, the Defence Minister and Patrick Devedjian, Minister in charge of implementing the recovery plan.
In line with the recovery plan initiated by the Government in order to face up to the challenges of the world economic crisis, the order of the third Projection and Command Vessel called for the creation of a tailor-made industrial organizational structure in order to achieve the budgetary objective fixed by the state. It therefore not only meets the operational objectives of every new ship ordered by the government but also the specific economic objectives of the recovery plan.
With this in mind, it taps into the respective skills of STX France and DCNS. STX France, the prime contractor for the project, will build the platform and fit-out the ship and DCNS, its co-contractor, will produce its combat system.
Due to the extremely tight economic constraints that characterize this project, the ship will be built solely on the Saint-Nazaire site. In fact, the sharing of the construction of the platform between two production sites would have generated additional costs - in particular for transport, interfacing and tests - which would have made it impossible to meet the budgetary target fixed by the Government.
STX France, in charge of the overall coordination of the project for the industrial part, will build the whole of the propelled platform including the fitting out of equipment onboard. This represents 75% of the vessel value. Once trials are completed, BPC 3 will move to Toulon under its own power.
DCNS will manufacture and integrate the combat system, which includes communications, navigation and combat management systems. The tasks involved in its production demand high value added skill levels, in order to enable the BPC to conduct its operational missions, and represent a quarter of the overall cost of the ship.
199 metres in length, with a displacement of 21,000 tons and a speed of 19 knots, the BPCs are distinguished by their large carrying capacity: 450 troops, 16 heavy-lift helicopters, 2 hovercraft, 4 LCMs (landing craft) or a third of a mechanized regiment (1,000 tons), which they are able to deploy worldwide. They are equipped with electric pod propulsion and their high level of automation enables the size of their crew to be reduced to 160. They also boast an on-board hospital for large-scale humanitarian missions. Their particularly advanced communications system, 3D surveillance radar and combat management system (Senit 9) make them ideal platforms for commanding a naval task force.
The first two BPCs, MISTRAL and TONNERE, built by DCNS and Chantiers de l’Atlantique, were delivered in 2006 and 2007.
April 16, 2009, BARROW, UK -- BAE Systems workers today celebrated delivery of the 500th M777 howitzer to the US military.
Weighing in at less than 4200kg, the revolutionary M777 is the world's first artillery weapon to make widespread use of titanium and aluminum alloys, resulting in a howitzer which is half the weight of conventional 155mm systems.
BAE Systems Global Combat Systems' facility at Barrow-in- Furness is responsible for the prime contract management of the M777 programme, including direct customer liaison and acceptance of the weapon system in the US, control of the UK and US supply chain, engineering design authority and manufacturing and assembly of the complex titanium structures and associated recoil components. Final integration and test of the weapon system is undertaken at its Hattiesburg plant in Mississippi.
US Army officer Colonel James Matties congratulated workers on building a "superb" gun and told them it was doing a "magnificent job" in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The total number of orders for the gun currently stands at 737 in a programme worth over £1bn since it began in the mid-90s.
"This is a landmark day for a transatlantic programme which has hit every milestone along the way," said BAE Systems' Artillery Programmes Director Ian McMillan. "M777 follows two other Anglo-U.S. weapon success stories - the 105mm Light Gun and the 81mm mortar are both British BAE Systems designs which have been adopted by the U.S."
Canada has a potential requirement for an additional 25 howitzers. Australia has also registered official interest in a purchase and other nations are assessing the weapon system.
Most of the 500 M777s have been delivered to the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps. Canada also has 12 M777 howitzers in service with the Royal Horse Artillery. Both nations' services operate M777s in Afghanistan, providing fire support to coalition forces. The gun is known by local insurgents as the 'Desert Dragon'.
Its ability to be airlifted to remote positions by helicopter gives the system enormous operational flexibility and makes it ideal for a challenging environment like Afghanistan.
BAE Systems also provides support, training, maintenance and spares for the guns currently in service. The M777 effort is managed by the Light Weight 155mm Joint Program office at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey.
April 15, 2009, Wellington -- Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral David Ledson says the upcoming delivery of the four new Inshore Patrol Vessels (IPVs) is an important and significant step for the Navy, the New Zealand Defence Force, and the whole country.
The Minister of Defence announced earlier today that the four ships, ROTOITI, HAWERA, PUKAKI and TAUPO are soon to be delivered, beginning with ROTOITI, which will be officially handed over to the Navy on Friday 17th April in Whangarei, before sailing to Devonport Naval Base on Friday 24th April.
The ship will be affiliated to the port of Napier and the Hawke's Bay region, reflecting the special relationship with the Navy that stretches back to the 1931 earthquake.
"The delivery of these ships reflects a lot of hard work by the New Zealand Defence Force, in particular the Navy, and the Ministry of Defence," Rear Admiral Ledson said.
"The IPVs will be very capable ships and they will provide increased opportunities for our Sailors, both in the Regular Force and Naval Volunteer Reserve Forces, to have new and exciting challenges and experiences. Importantly, too, they will enable the Navy to make a wider contribution both to New Zealand in our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and further a field, particularly in the South Pacific." Rear Admiral Ledson said.
"Along with the new Offshore Patrol Vessels and the Air Force's P3 Orion Maritime Surveillance Aircraft, they will provide a 'step up' in the Defence Force's ability to work in close partnership with government agencies such as Department of Conservation, Ministry of Fisheries, Police, Customs and the Ministry of Foreign affairs and Trade to address New Zealand's security challenges."
"We're grateful to the contractor, BAE, for their contribution to the significant effort that has gone in to securing the delivery of these impressive new ships. Today is a very exciting day for the Navy," Rear Admiral Ledson said.
April 16, 2009, Limpopo, South Africa -- Two Gripen D aircraft participated in the SA Air Force’s recent Airpower Demonstration in Limpopo Province, South Africa.
The dual-seat state-of-the-art fighters were deployed in a typical peace enforcement scenario to provide a Combat Air Patrol over a ground-to-air reconnaissance mission and over a subsequent strike against insurgent forces.
In a real mission, they would also provide a vital communications and mission control link to the reconnaissance aircraft and ground attack fighters.
According to Lt-Gen Carlo Gagiano, Chief of the SAAF, significant progress had been made with the integration of Gripen alongside other new aircraft including the Hawk lead-in fighter trainer, Agusta A109 and Agusta-Westland SuperLynx helicopters.
“We hope to have air to ground weapons integrated on Gripen in time to demonstrate them at our next Airpower demonstration later this year,” Lt-Gen Gagiano told observers.
Gripen pilot instructor and technical training on-going
The SAAF’s 2 Squadron at AFB Makhado in Limpopo, received its first five Gripens in 2008, while two more aircraft joined the unit at the beginning of April 2009. Gripen Pilot Instructor and Technical training began on the type during the second half of 2008 with support from Saab.
Every year the SAAF stages two Airpower demonstrations at its Roodewal bombing range which is located just north of Polokwane, the country’s northern-most city and capital of Limpopo.
April 16, 2009, New Delhi -- The French Rafale fighter has been knocked off a $ 10 billion contract to provide 126 combat aircraft for the Indian Air Force. The French fighter, which was one of the six contenders for the race, was officially rejected by the Defence Ministry for failing to meet qualitative requirements for the contract.
The news comes as a bit of a shock as the Indian Air Force has been maintaining that all six contenders – the American F 18 and F 16, the Eurofighter Typhoon, Russian MiG 35, Swedish Gripen NG and the French fighter – had met the technical requirements.
However, a senior defence ministry official made is clear on Thursday that RafalE has been rejected at the technical evaluation stage for failing to meet minimum performance requirements that had been detailed in the tender document. The flight trials for the remaining five fighters are now expected to commence within three months, a senior MoD official said.
"They did not meet the requirements and will not proceed to the next stage. We hope to begin trials within three months with the others that have qualified," a top Defence Ministry official said.
While the French fighter was always considered an underdog in the competition, which has been described as the largest international defence contract in the world, it was been aggressively pushed by the French government. Former President Jacques Chirac and his successor Nichols Sarkozy have been talking about the fighter in all their interactions with India.
April 14, 2009, Sao Jose dos Campos -- Embraer signed a contract, today, to modernize 12 Brazilian Navy jets - nine AF-1s (single-seat) and three AF-1As (two-seat). The ceremony took place during the seventh edition of the Latin America Aero and Defence (LAAD) trade fair, which is being held at Riocentro, April 14-17, in the city of Rio de Janeiro, and it was attended by the Minister of Defense, Nelson Jobim, the Head of the Brazilian Navy, Admiral Julio Soares de Moura Neto, the Aeronautics Commander, General Juniti Saito, and Embraer President & CEO Frederico Fleury Curado. This is the first largescale program between the Company and the Navy, and its sole objective is to technologically upgrade the 12 aircraft.
"Embraer is honored by the confidence of the Brazilian Navy, and receives it as a new distinguished defense customer among over 20 armed forces which currently operate its aircraft around the world." said Frederico Fleury Curado, Embraer President & CEO. "By choosing Embraer, the Navy is making an important contribution to consolidating the technological and industrial capacity of Brazil for modernizing military aircraft."
The 12 airplanes that will be modernized are known, worldwide, as the A-4 Skyhawk. This upgrading will fully restore the operating capacity of the Navy's 1st Intercept and Attack Plane Squadron, for their joint mission with the naval and navy air force groups in the Nation's defense. The program includes restoring the aircraft and their current systems, as well as implementing new avionics, radar, power production, and autonomous oxygen generating systems.
This contract demonstrates Embraer's commitment to offer its customers modern products, with advanced technology and quality services. The Company has recently worked on upgrading the Brazilian Air Force's F-5 and A-1 (AMX) fighter jets. With this program, Embraer, in conjunction with the Brazilian Navy and Air Force, as well as the Ministry of Defense, fulfills its role in assuring gains in technological capability and in generating highly qualified jobs in Brazil.
April 15, 2009, Moscow -- There are no obstacles to the delivery of Russian S-300 surface-to-air missile systems to Tehran, Iran's deputy foreign minister said on Wednesday.
"There are no problems with this [S-300] contract," Mehdi Safari said at the end of his visit to Moscow.
He offered no specifics about the contract's implementation, but dismissed concerns voiced by a number of countries over possible S-300 deliveries to Iran.
"After all, these are purely defensive weapons, and any country has the right to buy them. I believe this could only worry those states that have plans to attack others," he said.
A Russian arms export official said last month Iran had not yet received any S-300 air defense systems.
Iranian media, citing senior security officials, have repeatedly reported that Russia has started delivering elements of the advanced version of the S-300 missile to Tehran under a 2007 contract.
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.
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. The S-300 system is significantly superior to the Tor-M1.
April 14, 2009 WASHINGTON -- USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) successfully completed acceptance sea trials April 7-9 off the Virginia Capes and is in final preparation for delivery. Acceptance sea trials are the final test of the ship's readiness to begin fleet service.
Navy representatives from the U.S. Navy Board of Inspection and Survey tested and evaluated the ship's systems and performance. Acceptance trials will formally conclude April 10.
George H.W. Bush is the nation's 10th, and final, Nimitz-class carrier. The ship is designed to carry all current and future aircraft in its embarked air wing until the completion of her service life in approximately 2059.
George H. W. Bush incorporates numerous design improvements to reduce operating cost, enhance operational effectiveness and protect the environment. These include newly designed propellers, a new underwater hull-coating system, advanced waste disposal systems, a new JP-5 (jet propellant) distribution system, and modernized aircraft launch and recovery equipment. Improved medical and dental facilities have been included in the ship to enhance quality of life. George H.W. Bush also has a new composite mast that reduces topside weight and maintenance.
George H.W. Bush incorporates a modernized island, bulbous bow design and three-wire arresting gear configuration, first introduced on USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76).
The ship's keel was laid Sept. 6, 2003, at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding-Newport News. Ms. Dorothy Bush Koch, daughter of former President George H.W. Bush, served as the ship's sponsor during its christening on Oct. 7, 2006. The ship was commissioned Jan. 10, 2009, at Norfolk Naval Base. USS George H.W. Bush is commanded by Capt. DeWolfe H. Miller III, USN. Upon delivery to the Navy, the ship will conduct post delivery maintenance before commencing training for operational deployment in 2010.
The culmination of the first phase of the Royal Navy’s Taurus 09 deployment was to be a huge multinational exercise on and around the coast of Turkey by the name of EGEMEN. Including Dutch and Belgian troops operating from the ships Johan de Witt and Rotterdam under the command of 40 Commando, Royal Marines, Turkish reconnaissance operators based on HMS Argyll, helicopters from the Commando Helicopter Force, RAF Chinooks and, of course, 40 Commando itself. The exercise was designed to test the task-group’s ability to influence a land-based objective.
Split across the Amphibious Task Group, with headquarters and Alpha Company onboard HMS Ocean, Charlie Company on RFA Mounts Bay and Delta Company with much of Logistics Company on RFA Lyme Bay, the whole exercise was controlled from HMS Bulwark. (RoyalNavy)
April 13, 2009, RIDLEY TOWNSHIP, Pa., -- Boeing [NYSE: BA] today announced that a fourth U.S. Army unit has fielded the CH-47F Chinook helicopter. Company B, 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion (GSAB), 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, is based at Fort Bragg, N.C.
"Fielding the new CH-47F Chinook continues the proud heritage of the unit's aviation history," said Capt. John Gunter, Commander, B Company, 3rd GSAB, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade. "The capability of this aircraft will maximize our performance in missions around the world, today and well into the future."
The 82nd Airborne "Flippers" have a long and distinguished history of using the Chinook to conduct both military and humanitarian support missions around the world. The division has received numerous accolades for its service from Vietnam to Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Fielding the CH-47F is another significant milestone to add to the 82nd's lineage.
"The advanced features of the new aircraft significantly increase the unit's mission capability," said Tommy Filler, director, Boeing CH-47F Program. "Our quality commitment and daily focus on the production line is 'Soldiers First.' The successful performance of the CH-47F helicopter in theater is a direct result of that commitment."
The CH-47F, built at Boeing's Rotorcraft Systems facility in Ridley Township, Pa., features a newly designed, modernized airframe, a Rockwell Collins Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS) cockpit and a BAE Digital Advanced Flight Control System (DAFCS).
The CAAS greatly improves aircrew situational awareness, and DAFCS provides dramatically improved flight-control capabilities through the entire flight envelope, significantly improved performance, and safety in the harshest of environments.
CAAS also incorporates an advanced digital map display and a data transfer system that allows storing of preflight and mission data. Improved survivability features include the Common Missile Warning and Improved Countermeasure Dispenser systems.
Powered by two 4,733-horsepower Honeywell engines, the new CH-47F can reach speeds greater than 175 mph and transport more than 21,000 pounds. The CH-47F, with the Robertson Aviation Extended Range Fuel System, has a mission radius of more than 400 nautical miles. (Boeing)
U.S. Navy Tech Rep, Captain Kris Biggs describes the set-up and mission of the Navy’s Combat Systems Engineering and Development Site to Minister Fitzgibbon. Also pictured is Lockheed Martin’s Dan Keebler.
April 12, 2009, Philadelphia -- The Minister for Defence, the Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon MP, yesterday visited Lockheed Martin’s Aegis Production Test Center in Philadelphia as part of his visit to the United States.
The Aegis system is the key capability element in the Australian Defence Force’s Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) Program. The lead ship in the program, HMAS Hobart, is due for delivery in 2014.
The visit provided an opportunity for Mr Fitzgibbon to inspect the phased array radar and related Aegis equipment destined for installation in HMAS Hobart. These radar arrays were recently installed at the Production Test Center, marking the full Aegis system’s transition from its production phase to testing.
Tests on the first Aegis combat system will begin in May, with completion expected in November 2009.
Lockheed Martin is contracted to the US Navy for the supply of the Australian Aegis systems. Mr Fitzgibbon also met with Mr Fred Moosally, President of Lockheed Martin’s Maritime Systems and Sensors, and discussed progress on the delivery and testing of the Aegis system. The visit was hosted by Rear Admiral Terry Benedict, the US Navy’s Program Executive Officer, Integrated Warfare Systems.
“Australia will be acquiring the most advanced technology and capability possible with this version of the Aegis System,” Mr Fitzgibbon said. “The Hobart class system will be the first non-US Navy application of this version.
“This visit has given me the opportunity to see at first hand the high degree of success achieved to date in delivering the Hobart class AWD and its leading edge Aegis capability.”
Mr Fitzgibbon’s visit to Philadelphia follows a meeting with Mr Bob Stevens, Lockheed Martin CEO, in which they discussed progress on the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program.
The Minister advised Mr Stevens that no final decision on the JSF would be made until the delivery of the Defence White Paper, however, Australia remained a committed partner.
On Thursday, Mr Fitzgibbon and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Stephen Smith MP, jointly led the Australian delegation to the annual Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations, held in Washington, DC. (mediacentre)
April 12, 2009, Vlissingen, Netherlands -- Indonesian ambassador to The Netherlands J.E Habibie on Saturday saw off the Naval warship "Frans Kaisiepo 368" for its journey to Indonesia after completion of its construction here during the past two years.
This is the forth of Indonesian naval ships built in the Netherland following KRI Diponegoro 365, KRI Hasanuddin 366, and KRI Sultan Iskandar Muda 367, the envoy said, adding it would take 46 days of sailing through the waters of Spain, Italy, Egypt, Jidda (Saudi Arabia), India, Indonesia`s Sabang, Jakarta, and Surabaya.
"The four naval ship presence are expected to strengthen control over Indonesian territorial waters," Habibie said.
According to Habibie, Indonesia is still lacking of naval ships in order to control the integrity, security and defense, and the Indonesian territorial sovereignty.
Sharing opinion with Habibie, the task force commandor, col. Widodo said that the country actually needs about 270 units of naval ships so as to cover all of the country`s territorial waters.
Currently, Indonesia has about 150 naval ships which have been used to guard and control the country`s 81,000 km coastal area or the longest coastal area in the world.
The cost of naval ship`s construction is about 1,700.000 euro. (ANTARA)