Indonesia Plans 20 Percent Defense Spending Hike

Indonesia's Corvette Sigma class KRI Sultan Iskandar Muda. (Photo: koarmatim)

July 11, 2009, Jakarta -- Indonesia will increase its defense budget by 20 percent next year to compensate for years of low spending, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said July 10.

Speaking two days after apparently winning re-election for a second five-year term, Yudhoyono said new defense spending was possible thanks to economic growth forecast at around six percent next year.

"Starting in 2010, we'll significantly increase our defense budget from 33.6 trillion rupiah ($3.3 billion) in 2009 into 40.6 trillion by adding about seven trillion, or 20 percent," he was quoted as saying by Antara news agency.

"We'll increase that each year ... so we can be closer to the needed minimum force" with a budget of 100-120 trillion rupiah.
At 33.6 trillion rupiah, the defense budget is just 0.67 percent of Indonesia's total budget.

Years of low defense spending in the mainly Muslim country of 234 million people have been blamed for equipment shortfalls and fatal accidents involving military aircraft.
A military helicopter crash in June killed two personnel, and a Hercules transport aircraft crash in May killed more than 100 people. Twenty-four military personnel were killed in April when their training aircraft crashed into a hangar at an air base in West Java.


Keel to be Laid for Third Littoral Combat Ship

Official U.S. Navy file photo of USS Freedom (LCS 1), the first ship in the Navy's new Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) class. LCS is a fast, agile, focused-mission ship designed to defeat threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft. The keel for the third ship in the class will be laid July 11. (Photo: courtesy Lockheed-Martin/Released)

July 10, 2009, Washington -- The keel for the future littoral combat ship, USS Fort Worth (LCS 3), will be laid July 11 during a ceremony at Marinette Marine Shipyard in Marinette, Wisc.

Keel-laying has traditionally been the first step in ship construction, when shipbuilders laid down the lengthwise timber that would become the ship's backbone.

During the scheduled event, a shipyard welder will attach the future ship's plaque to the keel, and U.S. Rep. Kay Granger will confirm that the keel was laid "straight and true."

"Starting construction on the third ship is an exciting milestone to reach," said Capt. Jim Murdoch, LCS program manager within the Navy's Program Executive Office, Ships.

"Reaching the Navy's goal of a 55-ship class depends on getting LCS into serial production, which will lead to high quality ships being delivered to the fleet on cost and on schedule."

LCS is a new breed of U.S. Navy warship, capable of open-ocean operation but optimized for littoral or coastal missions. Operational experience and analyses indicate that potential adversaries will employ asymmetric means to deny U.S. and allied forces access into critical coastal regions, such as strategic chokepoints and vital economic sea lanes. LCS is specifically designed to defeat such "anti-access" threats, which include fast surface craft, quiet diesel submarines and various types of mines.

Fort Worth is expected to be delivered to the Navy in 2012, when she will join sister ships USS Freedom (LCS 1) and USS Independence (LCS 2). Freedom was commissioned by the Navy in November 2008. Independence is currently undergoing builder's sea trials in the Gulf of Mexico and is scheduled to be delivered to the Navy later this year. A contract was awarded to General Dynamics-Bath Iron Works in May for the construction of LCS 4, the future USS Coronado.

The future USS Fort Worth, named in honor of the Texas city, will be 378 feet in length, have a waterline beam of 57 feet, displace approximately 3,000 tons and will make speed in excess of 40 knots.

PEO Ships is responsible for the development and acquisition of U.S. Navy surface ships and is currently managing the design and construction of a wide range of ship classes and small boats and craft. These platforms range from major warships such as frontline surface combatants and amphibious assault ships to air-cushioned landing craft, oceanographic research ships and special warfare craft. PEO Ships has delivered 31 major warships and hundreds of small boats and craft from more than 30 shipyards and boat builders across the United States.


President Yudhoyono hands 40 armored vehicles to TNI

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono handed over 40 APS armored vehicles to the National Defense Forces (TNI) here on Friday (7/10). (Photo: detikFoto)

July 10, 2009, Bandung -- President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono handed over 40 APS armored vehicles to the National Defense Forces (TNI) here on Friday.

The president handed the armored vehicles to the TNI in the presence of Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono in a ceremony at CN 235 hangar of PT Dirgantara Indonesia in Bandung.

President Yudhoyono and his entourage left for Bandung by car from his private residence at Puri Cikeas Indah in Bogor at 6.30 on Friday and arrived in Bandung two hours later.

Soon after arrival at the PT Dirgantara Indonesia office here at 8:30 a.m., the head of state chaired a limited meeting for about 90 minutes before attending the handing in ceremony.

After handing over the 40 armored vehicles to the TNI at the CN 235 hangar, the president then took a few minutes of his time to inspect the PT Dirgantara Indonesia aircraft company.

TNI Information Center Chief Rear Marshal Sagom Tamboen said the 40 APS armored vehicles were part of a total of 154 such cars ordered by the government from PT Pindad.

Tamboen said that of the 154 armored vehicles ordered by the government from PT Pindad, the company had completed 60 units and submitted them to the government for use by TNI.

He added that to produce the 154 units of the armored vehicles, PT Pindad got the funds from Bank Mandiri, BNI 46, and BRI, because one armored vehicle costs Rp5.5 billion, or Rp4.5 billion cheaper than those produced by France.

The handing over of the 40 armored vehicles by the president to the TNI had been delayed twice because of the general elections.

President Yudhoyono in the handing over ceremony on Friday here was accompanied by a number of ministers among others Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono, Research and Technology Minister Kusmayanto Kardiman, president directors of PT Pindad and PT Dirgantara Indonesia, and other high-ranking state officials.


HAL to Manufacture India's Homegrown Saras multi-role aircraft

July 9, 2009, New Delhi -- Despite a recent accident which claimed the lives of three pilots, and its expensive price tag of $8 million, India’s homegrown multi-role “Saras” aircraft will still be acquired by the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Indian Navy, reports India Defence Online.

The prototype of the Saras aircraft was being developed by the Bangalore based state-owned National Aerospace Laboratory (NAL) had crashed recently and claimed three lives and no official reason was cited. The inquiry commission appointed by the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is yet to give its report on the Saras crash.

According to NAL officials, the second prototype of the 14-seater Saras aircraft had been fitted with a high performance engine and its weight had been considerably reduced said a NAL scientist. The weight had been reduced after fine-tuning the aircraft’s structural design, more use of composites and optimization of margins and electrical fittings. The reduction in the weight of the second prototype by over 500 kilograms from the first prototype of 5118 kilograms was also matched with a high thrust engine from Pratt and Whitney, said NAL officials.

NAL has also identified Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)’s facility at Kanpur as its production partner for the 14-seater aircraft because of HAL’s expertise manufacturing similar aircraft in the past. NAL is also expecting clearance from the DGCA soon on the aircraft crash issue and will proceed with the transfer of technology to HAL and commence serial production.

Sources said that the IAF is planning to place an order for as many as 15 Saras aircraft which can replace its 23-strong Dornier (Do) 228 fleet used for a variety of roles, including transporting men and material and para dropping.

The “Saras” project was launched in 1991 and India has spent close to $40 million on it. Saras is a multi-role aircraft for executive transport, light package carrier, remote sensing and aerial research service, Coast Guard, border patrolling, air ambulance and other community services. Capable of carrying a weight on 1,200 kilograms which can be extended upto 1,500 kilograms, the Saras aircraft is equipped with two rear-mounted turbo-prop Pratt and Whitney engines.


Boeing Debuts 1st Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18F Super Hornet

F/A-18F Block II Super Hornets. (Photo: Boeing/Richard Rau/Neg. #: MSF09-0130-009)

July 8, 2009, St. Louis -- Boeing [NYSE: BA] today unveiled the first of 24 F/A-18F Block II Super Hornets for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) during a ceremony at Boeing Integrated Defense Systems' production facilities in St. Louis. The aircraft will be delivered later this month, three months ahead of schedule.

"The Super Hornet is on its way to delivering advanced combat capabilities to the Royal Australian Air Force," said Bob Gower, Boeing vice president of F/A-18 and EA-18 Programs. "Cooperation and great teamwork on the part of Australia's Defence Materiel Organisation, the Royal Australian Air Force, the U.S. Navy and the Hornet Industry Team have enabled the first RAAF Super Hornet to be delivered within budget and ahead of schedule."

The remaining 23 Super Hornets, each equipped with the Raytheon-built APG-79 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, will be delivered to the RAAF throughout 2010 and 2011.

"The RAAF Super Hornet will bring a new generation of air power to Australia," said Group Capt. Steve Roberton, Head Air Combat Transition Office, RAAF. "Its advanced, networked weapons system will deliver enhanced air combat capability across the spectrum of air-to-air, strategic land attack and maritime strike, which is so important for Australia. It is a true multirole aircraft and there's a lot of excitement on the ground in the Air Combat Group about its arrival."

The Australian government announced in March 2007 that it would acquire 24 of the F/A-18F multirole fighters, making that country the first international Super Hornet customer.

"The rollout of the first RAAF Block II Super Hornet is an important and exciting milestone for all of the Australian and U.S. team members, who have accomplished a great deal of significant work to make this event possible," said U.S. Navy Capt. Mark Darrah, F/A-18 and EA-18 program manager, PMA-265. "Our long and successful relationship has been mutually beneficial during the RAAF classic Hornet program, and taking this next logical step with the acquisition of the Super Hornet is a win-win for both nations. The Super Hornet's inherent tactical capabilities and ability to force multiply speak for themselves."

The Block II F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is a multirole aircraft, able to perform virtually every mission in the tactical spectrum, including air superiority, day/night strike with precision-guided weapons, fighter escort, close air support, suppression of enemy air defenses, maritime strike, reconnaissance, forward air control and tanker missions. Boeing has delivered more than 395 F/A-18E/Fs to the U.S. Navy. Every Super Hornet produced has been delivered on or ahead of schedule.


EADS’ advanced aerial refueling boom system performs nighttime contacts with NATO F-16

A Portuguese F-16 completes one of 17 nighttime contacts with the EADS Advanced Refueling Boom System, as seen by the boom’s digital infrared system. (Foto: EADS)

July 08, 2009, Arlington, Virginia -- The EADS advanced aerial refueling boom system (ARBS) – featured on Northrop Grumman’s KC-45 offering for the U.S. Air Force – has demonstrated its superior nighttime operational capabilities during a multi-contact mission with an F-16 fighter aircraft.

This validation confirmed the performance of the boom’s state-of-the-art enhanced vision system – which features laser infrared lighting and high-definition digital stereoscopic viewing – and was carried out as part of the final qualification phase for the EADS A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), on which the Northrop Grumman KC-45 is based.

The night mission was completed with the boom system installed on EADS’ A310 testbed aircraft, and involved a Portuguese Air Force F-16AM as the receiver. After approach maneuvers for calibration of illumination, the boom made 17 contacts with the F-16 fighter.

“Nighttime missions are a vital part of aerial refueling operations for the U.S. Air Force, and the ARBS has once again shown its maturity with this latest validation of the enhanced vision system in realistic conditions,” said Ralph D. Crosby, Jr., EADS North America’s Chairman and CEO.

To date, the EADS boom system has performed more than 400 contacts with receiver aircraft that range from the F-16 to the E-3F AWACS and Australian KC-30A MRTT. Follow on activities will include additional boom and hose-and-drogue contacts with a variety of small and large receiver aircraft from the French, Portuguese, and Spanish air forces.

Continued ARBS flight testing – along with final validations of the optimized Cobham 905E hose and drogue refueling pods – will lead to military certification of the A330 MRTT platform. In June, an A330 MRTT built for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) demonstrated successful hose-and-drogue contacts with an F/A-18 receiver aircraft.

The A330 MRTT has been selected by the air forces of Australia, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Deliveries of the A330 MRTT will begin next year, with Australia’s Air Force becoming the first military service to receive the aircraft.

EADS North America

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