September 17, 2009, Long Beach, California -- The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] today delivered to the NATO Airlift Management Organization (NAMO) a second C-17 Globemaster III that will support NAMO's 12-nation Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC) initiative. The delivery took place at Boeing's final assembly facility in Long Beach.
The advanced airlifter, known as SAC 02, is the second of three C-17s that will be assigned to SAC's Heavy Airlift Wing (HAW) in western Hungary this year and will support International Security Assistance Force operations in Afghanistan as well as the airlift requirements of SAC member nations. Boeing will deliver SAC 03 in early October.
"Delivery of SAC 02 is a tremendous milestone, achieved in less than three years," said Bogdan Horvat, Chairman, NAMO board of directors. "I congratulate all of the participating nations, the Heavy Airlift Wing, NAMO, and the Boeing team that built such a tremendous airlifter."
The SAC group includes 10 NATO nations -- Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, United States -- and Partnership for Peace members Sweden and Finland. They will share acquisition and operating costs for the fleet of three C-17s over a nearly 30-year agreement. SAC's approach to shared use of the strategic airlifter is regarded as a model for the pooled acquisition and management of defense capabilities.
"This effort symbolizes solidarity at its best -- 12 nations demonstrating what can be accomplished when they pool resources and goodwill to collectively serve those in need around the world," said Gunnar Borch, General Manager of the NATO Airlift Management Agency (NAMA), the executive body of NAMO. "This is on display here today in Long Beach and at Pápa Air Base in Hungary, where multinational forces are working side-by-side to support the SAC mission and one another."
NAMA is responsible for the acquisition, day-to-day management, and support of the C-17 fleet on behalf of NATO and all participating SAC nations. The HAW is operated by multinational crews from the 12 participating nations.
"Every day, on the flight line at Pápa Air Base, I have the privilege of seeing the men and women from the SAC nations serving together -- their teamwork on display, their sense of purpose clear, their commitment to serving those in need unwavering," said Col. Fredrik Héden, deputy wing commander, HAW. "The 12-nation mix of NATO and Partnership for Peace nations found it possible to work together to make SAC a reality, and because of that we are now prepared to meet today's humanitarian needs and security challenges."
A Boeing team based at Pápa provides support for the SAC C-17s, including material management and depot maintenance support, under Boeing Global Services & Support’s C-17 Globemaster III Sustainment Partnership.
"Boeing is so proud to be a part of this effort," Jean Chamberlin, Boeing vice president and general manager, Global Mobility Systems, said to the customer representatives at the delivery ceremony. "You will continue to have our support, wherever and whenever you need us."
U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (L) speaks during a joint news briefing with Marine Corps General James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at the Pentagon in Washington September 17, 2009. Gates said on Thursday the United States would initially deploy Aegis ships equipped with missile interceptors to help defend European allies and U.S. forces against threats from Iran and others under a revamped missile shield program. (Photo: REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)
September 17, 2009, Washington -- President Barack Obama on Thursday scrapped a Bush-era missile defense plan for Europe that Russia had bitterly opposed and offered what he said would be faster, more flexible defense systems to protect against Iran.
In a move that could spur fears of resurgent Kremlin influence, Obama said he had approved recommendations from U.S. military leaders to shift focus to defending against Iran's short- and medium-range missiles.
"This new approach will provide capabilities sooner, build on proven systems and offer greater defenses against the threat of missile attack," Obama said, dropping plans of his White House predecessor George W. Bush for ground-based interceptors in Poland and a related radar site in the Czech Republic.
Under the new plan, the U.S. would initially deploy ships with missile interceptors and in a second phase would field land-based defense systems.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev hailed the decision, which removed an issue clouding U.S. efforts to enlist Russian support on Afghanistan, Iran and nuclear arms control.
"We value the U.S. president's responsible approach toward implementing our agreements," Medvedev said in an address shown on national television. "I am ready to continue the dialogue."
Critics accused the White House of dangerous weakness.
Senator John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate who lost to Obama in 2008, blasted the move as "seriously misguided" and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, a leading Bush-era hawk, was scathing.
"It's just unambiguously a bad decision," Bolton said. "Russia and Iran are the big winners. I just think it's a bad day for American national security."
The Bush administration had proposed the system amid concerns Iran was trying to develop nuclear warheads it could mount on long-range missiles. But Russia saw it as a threat to its own missile defenses and overall security.
Obama's move toward a more flexible shield for Europe was good news for Lockheed Martin Corp, the Pentagon's No. 1 supplier, and Raytheon Co, the world's biggest missile maker. They build much of the hardware on which the revamped approach relies. It was bad news for Boeing Co, prime contractor for the canceled installation of 10 two-stage ground-based interceptors in Poland.
The New Approach
Outlining Obama's new approach, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the United States would deploy Aegis-equipped ships with interceptors capable of shooting down ballistic missiles to defend both European allies and U.S. forces.
Gates said land-based defense systems would be fielded in a second phase starting in about 2015.
"Those who say we are scrapping missile defense in Europe are either misinformed or misrepresenting the reality of what we are doing," Gates said.
Signaling the administration's view it still has some breathing space, one U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Tehran was not expected to develop long-range missile capability before 2018.
Marine Corps General James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the Pentagon also envisioned eventually deploying a land-based radar as part of the system which would ideally be based in the Caucasus.
Obama's plan contains elements that may still upset Moscow -- interceptor missiles could still be stationed in Poland, and also in the Czech Republic, and a radar in the Caucasus is in an area Russia sees as its sphere of influence.
But the Pentagon played down those potential concerns, saying the SM-3 missile interceptors in the new system could not be tipped with nuclear warheads and the radar would be configured only to look south toward Iran, not deep into Russia as in the Bush plan.
Analysts said investors could see some long-term trade and other benefits if the U.S. missile decision improves relations with Russia, but noted that there were also risks if Moscow ended up in taking a more assertive posture.
Lockheed Martin shares were up 4.46 percent at $79.56 on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday. Raytheon was up 3.36 percent at $47.72 and Boeing Co was up 1 percent at $52.88.
No Quid Pro Quo
The White House rejected Republican charges it had made a major concession to Moscow without winning anything in return. "This is not about Russia," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said, adding there was no quid pro quo expected.
But other Democrats said they hoped for a pay-off on Iran policy where Russia is seen as a reluctant partner in efforts to end Tehran's nuclear program.
"It is time for Russia to join our push to impose stricter sanctions on Iran," Democratic Senator Charles Schumer said.
Discarding Bush's missile shield plan could also remove an obstacle to winning a deal with Russia on a replacement for a major nuclear arms reduction treaty that expires in December.
Republicans -- who hope to build momentum against Obama after a summer dominated by angry debate over his healthcare reform plan -- wasted no time assigning blame.
"The reported decision to scrap missile defense for Europe sounds dangerously like a policy of appeasement," Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement.
Such fears were likely to grow in eastern European states, many of which had seen the large missile plan as a symbol of U.S. commitment to the defense against any encroachment by its former Soviet rulers 20 years after the end of communist rule.
Obama informed the Czech and Polish governments of his decision just hours before the announcement, officials said. In Poland, Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said the United States would still go ahead with plans to station a battery of armed Patriot missiles on Polish soil.
Some European analysts said the U.S. move could help the traditionally pro-American region to build a more pragmatic relationship with both Washington and Moscow.
A senior Iranian government source said the move could signal a move away from what he called 'threats and confrontation' over Iran's nuclear program.
ST. LOUIS, Sept. 15, 2009 -- The Boeing [NYSE: BA] F-15E Radar Modernization Program (RMP) recently received the designation of AN/APG-82(v)1 from the U.S. Air Force. The addition of the Raytheon-built APG-82 radar will incorporate Active Electronically Scanned Array Radar (AESA) technology into the F-15E strike fighter, increasing radar reliability by almost 20 times as it also improves maintainability, sustainability and performance, and reduces support costs.
The AESA radar, coupled with a new wideband radar radome, will also improve detection capability and tracking of enemy targets.
"The F-15E RMP is one of the most significant modifications to the F-15E since its inception," said Mark Bass, F-15 Program vice president. "The RMP will ensure the F-15E remains supportable and combat-ready well into the future."
Other RMP modifications include the addition of Raytheon's new Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) Electronically Scanned Array antenna, which was developed for the F-15C APG-63(v)3 radar system, as well as new Radio Frequency Tunable Filters (RFTF) and an improved Environmental Cooling System (ECS).
The RFTF will enable the radar and the aircraft's Electronic Warfare System to function at the same time, minimizing degradation to either system. The ECS will provide up to an additional 250 percent liquid cooling capacity, which is required for incorporation of the APG-82 radar.
The APG-82 is currently in the System Development and Demonstration phase. Raytheon will produce developmental and flight-test radar units to support integration of the APG-82 into the F-15E weapons system. Flight tests will begin in January 2010, and Boeing expects to achieve initial operational capability during fiscal year 2014.
GDATP-Marion Operations of Marion, Va., is developing the new F-15E wideband radome, while Microsource Inc. developed the modified RFTF in Santa Rosa, Calif. Honeywell provides the improved ECS from its facility in Torrance, Calif. Raytheon’s Towson, Md., facility provides the IFF system, and its El Segundo, Calif., facility produces the AESA radar.
September 14, 2009 -- Scientific and technical services provider to the Jordanian Armed Forces, King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau (KADDB) has displayed its new land and aerial vehicles at this year's Defence Systems & Equipment International (DSEi 2009) exhibition in London.
At the show KADDB exhibited its new unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) armed with rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launchers.
The UGV is a six-wheeled tele-operated ground vehicle with payload of 70kg and is driven remotely at up to 1km range.
The applications of the vehicle include reconnaissance, border surveillance, fire fighting, anti-terrorism and mine detection.
In addition, the company also displayed its new Quadrotor helicopter, which can be used as relay platform for real-time transfer of video imagery from an aircraft to a ground station.
The Quadrotor which can carry explosives is a small aerial system that is difficult to detect and has a maximum operating altitude of 50m, operating range of 300m and endurance of ten minutes.
KC-747. (Photo: unitedstatestanker.com)
September 14, 2009, Washington -– Boeing [NYSE: BA] today unveiled additional details of the company's potential offering in the U.S. Air Force KC-X tanker competition, saying the KC-7A7 will offer maximum capability at the lowest cost.
In a briefing at the Air Force Association's 2009 Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition outside Washington, Rick Lemaster, Boeing KC-X director and program manager, said Boeing has "been listening to our U.S. Air Force customer, and we appreciate their efforts in preparing for the next competition."
"We are prepared to offer the best solution through the KC-7A7," Lemaster continued. "Whether it's the agile 767-based tanker or the larger 777-based tanker, Boeing is ready to deliver maximum capability at the lowest cost."
Lemaster highlighted the merits of the KC-7A7 -- a range of tanker options the company first introduced in June at the Paris Air Show -- by highlighting the full complement of capabilities of both aircraft.
"If the Air Force wants a flexible wide-body tanker that is well suited to operate in an austere, expeditionary environment, the Boeing 767-based tanker is a powerful and demonstrated solution," said Lemaster. "And if the Air Force values more fuel, cargo and passengers, the Boeing 777-based tanker offers superior capability."
Based on mission scenarios, the Boeing 767-based tanker can offload 20 percent more fuel, carry three times the cargo and transport five times the number of passengers compared with the Air Force's current KC-135, within a comparable narrow-body footprint. The Boeing 777-based tanker is comparable in size to the Airbus A330, but delivers 23 percent more fuel and carries 44 percent more cargo and 42 percent more passengers than the A330 in a more reliable and technologically advanced airframe.
Boeing also announced the launch of a new Web site dedicated to KC-7A7: UnitedStatesTanker.com. "What better venue to launch UnitedStatesTanker.com than at one of the country's largest gatherings of the Air Force community," Lemaster said. "The UnitedStatesTanker.com Web site provides a public forum to communicate information about the Boeing KC-7A7 offering and updates throughout the competition."
The site features a blog to encourage open dialogue and an exchange of ideas. It also highlights the capabilities of both platforms through a photo gallery, fact sheets and news links and will serve as the single Web-based point of contact for all Boeing information about its KC-7A7 offering.
September 14, 2009, Little Rock, Ark. -- Boeing [NYSE: BA] has completed delivery of the U.S. Air Force's first simulator for the C-130 Avionics Modernization Program (AMP) to Little Rock Air Force Base. The Weapon System Trainer (WST) passed government acceptance testing and was declared "ready for use" on July 20.
Boeing is scheduled to deliver a suite of trainers over the next several years to support the AMP training program at Little Rock. Each piece of training equipment offers a different level of instruction to train crew members in the operation of the new capability AMP will install in the aircraft.
"As a guard unit, our entire mission depends on exceptional training," said Lt. Col. Domenic Sarnataro, 189th Airlift Wing Chief of Safety, Arkansas Air National Guard. "Ours is the only unit that will provide training for the C-130 AMP, so the sooner we can start using these simulators, the better prepared we will be when training begins late next year."
The simulator is a full-motion, high fidelity simulator that is essential in training Air Force aircrews to fly the AMP-modified aircraft in an operational environment. An important feature of this training device is that it uses the same software as the C-130 AMP aircraft, which will make it easier for the Air Force to keep the simulator current with the aircraft. Any future modifications can be made to the aircraft and the training devices at the same time, so aircrews can train on any new capability in the simulator before they fly it in the aircraft.
Three C-130 AMP aircraft have completed initial flight testing and are undergoing additional evaluation flights with the Air Force before the AMP upgrade kits are installed on the fleet.
Boeing partnered with Tampa, Fla.-based subcontractor CAE USA to integrate the new AMP cockpit into the simulator and to perform similar modifications for other training devices in the suite.
"As the world's most experienced provider of C-130 training systems and services, we are extremely pleased to partner with Boeing to deliver the first C-130 AMP Weapon Systems Trainer to the Air Force," said John Lenyo, president and general manager of CAE USA. "This state-of-the-art simulator will play a key role in ensuring Air Force C-130 crews are well-trained and mission-ready with the modernized aircraft."
Just as the training program is refurbishing old training devices, the AMP program will save the Air Force millions of dollars by modifying existing C-130s when compared with the cost of acquiring new aircraft.
September 13, 2009, Moskow -- The Russian military has denied the existence of a new-generation main battle tank (MBT) based on T-80 design and featuring explosive reactive armor and a box-shaped turret.
The Russian media has recently resumed discussion of the secret tank, dubbed Black Eagle, which was developed by the Omsk Transmash design bureau and whose pictures were shown in several publications and on the Internet.
"There was no such project...and those 20-year-old pictures show a mock-up of a futuristic tank which remained just a product of someone's imagination," Col. Vladimir Voitov, head of research at the Main Directorate of the Armored Troops, said in an interview with the Echo Moskvy radio on Saturday.
He added that he was aware of a prototype of an experimental tank, but insisted that 'the turret of the vehicle did not have anything inside."
According to the Russian media, an early prototype of the Black Eagle was shown at an arms exposition in Siberia, in June 1999. It appeared to be based on a lengthened T-80U hull, and to have very thick front armor and new-generation Kaktus explosive reactive armor.
However, recent reports in open sources suggest that the Black Eagle program has been halted due to the acceptance of the T-90, built by the Uralvagonzavod plant, into the Russian military in the mid-1990s.
In addition, Russia has reportedly opted for Uralvagonzavod as the developer and manufacturer of a new-generation MBT, which will most likely have a designation as T-95.
Sergei Mayev, head of the Federal Service for Defense Contracts (Rosoboronzakaz) told a news conference in July 2008 that the Russian Armed Forces would start receiving new-generation tanks superior to the T-90 main battle tank after 2010.
The new tank will feature better firepower, maneuverability, electronics and armor protection than the T-90 MBT.
Its speed will increase from 30-50 kph to 50-65 kph (19-31 mph to 31-40 mph).
According to some sources, the new tank may be equipped with a 152-mm smoothbore gun capable of firing guided missiles with a range of 6,000-7,000 meters.
In comparison, the T-90 MBT has a 125-mm 2A46M smoothbore gun, which can fire AT-11 Sniper anti-tank guided missiles with a range of 4,000 meters.