India wants to buy 50 more Su-30 fighters from Russia

Sukhoi Su-30MKI.

October 2, 2009, Moskow -- India wants to buy another 50 Sukhoi-30MKI multi-role fighters, an Indian daily reported on Friday.

According to The Times of India, the 50 air-superiority fighters will come on top of the 230 already contracted from Russia in three deals worth a total of $8.5 billion.

The paper quoted Indian Air Force (IAF) chief Marshal P V Naik as saying his force was indeed "interested" in acquiring more Sukhois, which will be "the mainstay of India's fighter fleet for the foreseeable future, to further enhance its combat potential."

He stressed, however, that the acquisition was not "country or adversary-specific."

India previously said it was satisfied with the performance of Russian Su-30MKI fighters.

The IAF originally ordered 50 Su-30MKI aircraft from Russia in 1996-98 and an additional 40 planes in 2007. Hindustani Aeronautics (HAL) was also contracted to build 140 aircraft in India between 2003 and 2017 under a licensed production agreement.

RIA Novosti

Sailors aboard USS Tortuga (LSD 46)

September 30, 2009 -- Sailors aboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Tortuga (LSD 46) tend to a Marine Corps CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter during flight operations. Nearby, the amphibious transport dock USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) is conducting landing craft, air cushion (LCAC) operations. (Photo: U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Geronimo Aquino/Released)

Saab has submitted an update on the proposal offering 36 Gripen Next Generation (NG) to the Brazilian Air Force (FAB).

NG Gripen.

October 2, 2009 -- The updated proposal fulfils all the requirements stated by Brazil to develop, manufacture, operate, maintain and upgrade an independent multi-role fighter, together with an extensive industrial package with full transfer of technology. This will give Brazil the opportunity to be involved in the development as well as to include a significant number of Brazilian suppliers in Gripen NG aircraft.

“This will be a perfect match built on complementing abilities and technological excellence. A commitment from Sweden to Brazil delivers independence and not dependence. The unique industrial offset package means a direct involvement for Brazilian companies in the development, production and maintenance of Gripen NG. This will create and maintain high technology work opportunities in Brazil,” says Saab CEO Åke Svensson.

The updated proposal outlines its advantages for the Brazilian Air Force and Brazilian industry and includes:

A comprehensive Technology Transfer
• Full access to and complete involvement in the Gripen NG development programme.
• Complete Technology Transfer through joint development of the Gripen NG, giving national autonomy and independence in the design, development, manufacture and through-life support of Gripen NG and future generation fighters.
• Independence in terms of choice of weapons and systems integration.
• Production in Brazil of up to 80% of Gripen NG airframes.
• Creation of a full Gripen NG assembly line in Brazil.
• Full maintenance capability in Brazil for the Gripen NG engine.

A unique competitive partnership
• Brazil will have the sales lead for Gripen NG in Latin America with joint opportunities for the rest of the world.
• Sweden’s commitment to take deliveries of Gripen NG aircraft in line with Brazilian time frames.
• Sweden’s intention to evaluate the KC-390 transport aircraft for long-term tactical air transport needs.
• Saab’s ambition to join the transport aircraft KC-390 development programme as a strategic partner, including support in international marketing.
• A commitment from Saab to deliver over 175% of the total value in industrial co-operation to Brazilian industry.
• Saab proposes to replace the Swedish Air Force fleet of SK 60/Saab 105 trainers with the Super Tucano.

A cost-effective solution
• A firm and highly competitive proposal for a long-term financing for the full FX-2 contract value from the Swedish Export Credit Corporation, a financial institution wholly owned by the Swedish Government.
• Significantly lower acquisition, support and operating costs compared to the competition due to the optimised design, highly efficient manufacturing processes and ease of maintenance and support.

About Gripen Next Generation

When entering operation, Gripen NG will be one of the most advanced fighter aircraft in the world utilizing the latest technology. Gripen NG is the next generation Gripen, an enhanced version of the well established multi-role fighter which has proven low acquisition, operation, and support costs. The Gripen NG programme covers development of avionics and all major sensors, including AESA radar. The aircraft will have increased thrust, increased payload, and extended range in excess of 4 000 km, whilst maintaining the lowest cost of ownership.


‘Tiger’ Achieves Major Milestone For Army

October 1, 2009 -- Greg Combet, Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel and Science today announced the achievement of a major milestone in project AIR 87, the Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter project.

The Initial Operational Test and Evaluation Readiness milestone marks the point where the project transitions focus from individual flying, maintenance and support qualifications to collective training and development of Army Aviation warfighting skills.

“This is a critical milestone in the development of this important capability which will provide Army and the Australian Defence Force with one of the most technologically advanced combat helicopters in the world,” Mr Combet said.

“The crews of the 1st Aviation Regiment in Darwin will now focus on team training with multiple aircraft, and utilising the sensors and outstanding weapon systems of the Tiger in the combined arms environment of the landforce battlespace.

“The Tiger is made of high strength lightweight composite materials and it incorporates a number of cutting edge technological and digital systems that required extensive certification and integration efforts by both the Commonwealth and the prime contractor, Australian Aerospace.

“The integration of the US Hellfire missile system to the Tiger has been very successful, providing the aircraft with exceptionally accurate firepower out to eight kilometres by day and night.

“Based on the Australian success integrating the Hellfire missile, France has announced their intention to fit this weapon system to their next version of the Tiger helicopter.

“One of the key features of the Tiger is that weapons targeting information is displayed directly onto the pilot’s visor. The cannon can also be controlled through the helmet which points it in the same direction that the pilot is looking. This reduces the time needed to engage a hostile threat during low level reconnaissance missions.

“I congratulate Australian Aerospace, the Defence Materiel Organisation and the Army personnel who worked many long hours to introduce this highly complex but most capable level of military equipment,” said Mr Combet.

Australian flight test and operational crews have now flown over 4300 hours and fired 16 hellfire missiles, 475 rockets and 4000 rounds of the 30 millimetre canon. The Australian Tiger is closely related to the helicopters being provided by Eurocopter to France, Germany and Spain.

Australian DoD

Boeing SLAM ER Missile System Achieves 2 Launch Milestones

September 30, 2009, St. Louis -- The Boeing [NYSE: BA] Standoff Land Attack Missile Expanded Response (SLAM ER) missile system recently reached two program milestones -- the first launch from an F-16 aircraft and the 100th missile launch. Both flights took place at the U.S. Naval Air Weapons Station in China Lake, Calif.

The 100th launch occurred during a U.S. Navy Air Wing training exercise. The missile was launched from an F/A-18C aircraft and received aimpoint updates from an F/A-18F, striking a simulated command and control building. This milestone includes operational launches as well as those conducted for tests and training. The first SLAM ER launch took place in March 1997.

"With these program achievements, SLAM ER continues to prove that it is a very capable and reliable system," said Jim Young, Boeing Harpoon/SLAM ER Weapons program manager. "The launch from the F-16 adds yet another launch platform for SLAM ER, and the 100th launch is proof that the missile consistently performs its missions as designed and provides warfighters a capability they can count on."

SLAM ER is a highly adaptable day and night, all-weather, over-the-horizon precision strike missile capable of hitting stationary or moving targets on land or at sea. It can be launched from safe standoff ranges of more than 150 nautical miles and is the Navy’s weapon of choice for surgical strikes against high-value land targets and ships in port and at sea. The missile is fully integrated onto F/A-18A+/C/D/E/F, F-15K, P-3C and S-3B aircraft. It now has been demonstrated on the F-16E/F and is currently being integrated onto P-8A and F-16C/D.


Combat Rubber Raid Craft Exercises

September 29, 2009 -- Sailors assigned to the amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) embark Marines from 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (31st MEU) during combat rubber raid craft exercises. Harpers Ferry is part of the Denver Amphibious Ready Group and is conducting Amphibious Integration Training with the 31st MEU off the coast of Okinawa, Japan in preparation for Fall Patrol. (Photo: U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua J. Wahl/Released)

Lockheed Martin Delivers First Set Of P-3 Orion New Production Wings To Norway

P-3C 3296 of the Royal Norwegian Air Force. (Photo:

September 29, 2009, Marietta, Ga. -- Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] delivered the first set of new production P-3 Orion wings to the company’s launch customer, the Royal Norwegian Air Force, on Sept. 25. The milestone delivery ushers in a new era of P-3 life cycle sustainment.

“These new wings take Lockheed Martin’s long-standing commitment to the sustainment and support of the P-3 Orion to the next level,” said Ray Burick, Lockheed Martin P-3/S-3 Programs vice president. “Working with our many P-3 customer operators worldwide, we identified a coming need to replace P-3 wings. We established the P-3 wing production line to meet that need and to ensure that our customers’ P-3s are patrolling the skies for decades to come. We’re proud to announce that our customers, beginning with the Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF), will begin to reap the benefits of those efforts.”

The new production wings are the cornerstone of Lockheed Martin’s P-3 Aircraft Service Life Extension Program (ASLEP). ASLEP replaces the outer wings, center wing lower surface assembly, horizontal stabilizer, wing and horizontal stabilizer leading edges and various filet fairings. All necessary fatigue-life limiting structures are replaced, leading to significantly reduced maintenance and sustainment costs. New alloys are employed that provide a fivefold increase in corrosion resistance. ASLEP is the only solution that removes all current airframe flight restrictions on the P-3.

The RNoAF will receive six life extension kits, two conditional kits and engineering support under the contract. Other ASLEP customers to date include U.S. Customs & Border Protection, Canada and Taiwan. Additionally, the U.S. Navy has contracted with Lockheed Martin for 13 sets of P-3 outer wings.

“Lockheed Martin is committed to the complete life cycle sustainment of its aircraft, and our total range of P-3 support capabilities epitomizes that commitment,” said Rob Weiss, Lockheed Martin Global Sustainment executive vice president. “Once the Norwegian P-3s are fitted with these new wings and the accompanying ASLEP components, the RNoAF will be able to execute their maritime patrol missions with confidence well into the future.”

Lockheed Martin

Iran test-fires missiles amid nuclear tension

Tondar-69 (CSS-8) "Thunder" SRBM.

September 27, 2009 -- Iran test-fired missiles on Sunday to show it was prepared to head off any military threat, four days before the Islamic Republic is due to hold rare talks with world powers worried about its nuclear ambitions.

The missile maneuvers coincide with escalating tension in Iran's nuclear row with the West, after last week's disclosure by Tehran that it is building a second uranium enrichment plant.

News of the nuclear facility south of Tehran added a sense of urgency to a crucial meeting in Geneva Thursday between Iranian officials and representatives of six major powers, including the United States.

Iran will be put "to the test" in Geneva and a move to sanctions would follow if the talks failed, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told CBS.

An Iranian official warned "fabricated Western clamor" over the new plant would negatively affect the talks at which the six powers want Iran to agree to open its facilities to inspection to prove its program is for power and not nuclear weapons.

Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's envoy to the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, said, referring to Western condemnation of the plant: "This ... approach will have a negative impact on Iran's negotiations with the 5+1 countries."

He has said Iran is arranging International Atomic Energy Agency inspections of the plant "in the very near future."

U.S. President Barack Obama said Saturday the discovery of the secret nuclear plant in Iran showed a "disturbing pattern" of evasion by Tehran. He warned Iran Friday it would face "sanctions that bite" if it did not come clean.

Earlier this month, Obama dropped a Bush-era plan to deploy missiles in Poland that had been proposed as a shield amid concerns Iran was trying to develop nuclear warheads it could mount on long-range missiles.

Iranian media said Revolutionary Guards launched at least two types of short-range missiles on the exercise's first day on Sunday in central Iran and tested a multiple missile launcher.

"For all those who ... might harbor dreams about undertaking military invasion against our nation and country, a message of this maneuver is firmness, destructiveness, real and endless resistance," Iranian General Hossein Salami, head of the Guards' air force, told state television.

Fateh-110 "Conquerer" SRBM.

Iranian media said medium-range Shahab 1 and 2 missiles, which officials say have a range of 300 and 500 km respectively, would be test-fired Sunday evening.

State radio said the Guards Monday would test-fire the Shahab 3 missile, which Iranian officials say has a range of around 2,000 km, potentially putting Israel and U.S. bases in the Gulf within reach. It was last tested in mid-2008.

Iran conducts war games or tests weapons to show its resolve to counter any attack by foes like Israel or the United States.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who says any military action against Iran would only "buy time" and stresses the need for diplomacy, told CNN he hoped the disclosure of the second facility would force Tehran to make concessions.
"The Iranians are in a very bad spot now because of this deception," he said.

Vapor Trails

Zelzal "Earthquake" SRBM with new multiple launch system. (Photo: FARS)

State television showed footage of missiles soaring into the sky in desert-like terrain, leaving vapor trails, in the drills held during Iran's Holy Defense Week marking the start of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.

Andrew Brookes, of the International Institute for Strategic Studies think-tank in London, told Reuters by phone he believed the missile tests had long been planned and were not a response to Western condemnation of the second enrichment plant.

But he noted the firing of the missiles came before the Geneva talks, adding Tehran was showing "we are a powerful nation, we need respect ... we are coming as equals."

English-language Press TV said the weapons tested Sunday included a ground-to-ground missile and a naval missile, naming them as Fateh (Victorious) and Tondar (Thunder).

The United States, which suspects Iran is seeking to build nuclear bombs, has previously expressed concern about Tehran's missile program. Iran says its nuclear work is solely for peaceful power generation purposes.

Neither the United States nor its ally Israel have ruled out military action if diplomacy fails to resolve the nuclear row.

Iran has said it would respond to any attack by targeting U.S. interests in the region and Israel, as well as closing the Strait of Hormuz, a vital route for world oil supplies.

Iran acknowledged the existence of the enrichment plant near the holy city of Qom for the first time Monday to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog.

U.S. officials said the disclosure was designed to pre-empt an announcement by Western governments, which were aware of the site, but Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the plant was legal and open for inspection by the IAEA.

A senior U.S. administration official said the six powers -- the United States, Russia, Britain, France, China and Germany -- were preparing "a set of transparency demands" focused on the uranium enrichment plant near Qom.

"Those demands include unfettered access for the IAEA to the Qom facility, the people working there, and timelines related to its development," the official said.


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