October 23, 2009 -- AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, is pleased to announce that the Korea Coast Guard has taken delivery of two AW139 medium twin helicopters during an official ceremony held at Vergiate plant (Italy). The AW139s will be used for maritime patrol, search and rescue and emergency medical service purposes. Thanks to the AW139's outstanding features, the Korea Coast Guard will perform a major step forward in providing maritime patrolling and Search and Rescue services in the country. These helicopters add to the Gangwon Fire Fighting Department’s AW139 already in service in Korea and further expand the increasing success of AgustaWestland products in the region.
AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, is pleased to announce that the Korea Coast Guard has taken delivery of two AW139 medium twin helicopters during an official ceremony held at Vergiate plant (Italy). The AW139s will be used for maritime patrol, search and rescue and emergency medical service purposes. Thanks to the AW139's outstanding features, the Korea Coast Guard will perform a major step forward in providing maritime patrolling and Search and Rescue services in the country. These helicopters add to the Gangwon Fire Fighting Department’s AW139 already in service in Korea and further expand the increasing success of AgustaWestland products in the region.
In addition to the latest AW139 helicopters AgustaWestland recently signed a contract for one AW119Ke helicopter for the Korea National Police to add to the existing 24 Super Lynx helicopters and 2 AW109 family of helicopters operating in Korea. To support the growing number of helicopters AgustaWestland recently authorised United International Helicopters as the AgustaWestland authorised Service Centre in country. The AW139 has the largest cabin in its class for the task with large sliding doors to enable easy and quick access and to perform fast roping. The cabin also allows easy configuration changes to meet operational requirements. With a maximum speed of 167 knots (306 kph) and excellent range and endurance the AW139 can be quickly deployed to the rescue location. Also, the AW139 is the only medium twin-engine helicopter in production that not only meets, but also exceeds, the latest FAR 29 certification standards for safety. The integrated avionic system provides the basis for managing the sensors and comprehensive communications suite required for the mission. The aircraft is fitted with a variety of role equipment also including advanced FLIR (Forward Looking Infra-Red), search/weather radar, search light, rescue hoist and emergency flotation system.
Numerous coast/border patrol and security agencies and operators from several countries around the world have chosen or are already using the AW139 to fulfil their requirements, also including Japan, Malaysia, UK, Italy, Spain, Estonia, Cyprus, UAE just to name a few. Over 440 orders have been placed by almost 120 customers from over 40 countries to date, making it the benchmark helicopter in the medium twin category for a number of tasks. Designed with inherent multi-role capability and flexibility of operation, the AW139 can perform many roles including search and rescue, emergency medical service, law enforcement, fire fighting, offshore transport, VIP/corporate transport and military utility missions.
October 23, 2009 -- Following an eight month operational tour to Afghanistan, the Australian Army’s fourth Rotary Wing Group (RWG – 4) deployment, consisting of two CH-47 Chinook helicopters, crew and support personnel, has started to head home.
RWG – 4 Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Karl Hamlyn, says the tasks that have confronted the approximately 60 members of the group have been a real test of character and endurance.
During its tour, the aircraft and crew completed more than 780 flying hours, and lifted over seven thousand passengers and more than a million pounds (453592.4 kgs) of cargo.
RWG – 4 has worked for the past eight months in some of the most challenging of conditions. Throughout their deployment they faced the ongoing threat of attack by Taliban insurgents, such as when one of the Chinooks was hit by small arms fire on 3 August 2009.
The personnel of the RWG were also confronted with extreme heat and dust, however the aircraft and crew were able to remain serviceable and operate at peak performance.
“There’s a pretty big effort all round to move a million pounds of cargo around Afghanistan,” Lieutenant Colonel Hamlyn said.
Lieutenant Colonel Hamlyn says the benefit of having a high level of flight readiness can be best seen in the amount of passengers, many of whom are Coalition forces, safely across Afghanistan.
“When put into context, that means more than seven thousand people haven’t been exposed to travelling by road and the associated dangers of Improvised Explosive Devices,” Lieutenant Colonel Hamlyn said.
Both aircraft have been partially dismantled for the journey back to Australia, with the first helicopter already leaving on a Royal Australian Air Force C-17 this week.
The two medium-lift helicopters will return to Afghanistan following the winter break to commence operations in March next year.
A C-17 Globemaster III from McChord Air Force Base, Wash., lands at the Wyoming National Guard's Guernsey Army Airfield in Guernsey, Wyo., Oct. 17, 2009, during the official opening of the updated airstrip now capable of handling the massive cargo aircraft. The airstrip is now able to park up to 23 fixed-wing aircraft, including three C-17s. In addition to the civilian-military airstrip, Camp Guernsey also boasts nearly 70,000 acres of terrain and supports approximately 65 square miles of restricted air space up to 30,000 feet. (Photo: U.S. Army/Brandon Quester)
October 21, 2009, Camp Guernsey, Wyo. -- A C-17 Globemaster III from McChord Air Force Base, Wash., approached the 5,500-foot-long stretch of paved runway, landed, then rolled to a stop. That's not much space on which to land a heavily loaded, half-million pound cargo plane, but officials here say it's the perfect runway for C-17 pilots to train on.
Wyoming National Guard members and special guests gathered at the Camp Guernsey Joint Forces Training Center Oct. 17 to celebrate the opening of the upgraded runway with its new turnaround points and a new width expanded to 90 feet. McChord Airmen from the 7th Airlift Squadron lent a hand at this historical event by performing an assault landing of the first C-17 on the new runway, which went through $9.6 million in upgrades to accommodate ever greater numbers of joint combat forces engaged in pre-deployment training.
"These new facilities accommodating C-17s offer great capabilities to prepare for contingency operations more similar to what our military sees in current conflicts," said Lt. Col. James Twiford, commander of the 7th Airlift Squadron.
Called Guernsey Field, its aviation capabilities include a joint-use airstrip capable of supporting C-17s. Approximately 360 square miles of sparsely populated terrain and 65 square miles of restricted airspace up to 30,000 feet are part of the field. The runway was constructed to withstand the demands of the C-17s which now will be able to transport joint units to and from the facility as well as conduct combat airlift training using the center's aerial delivery drop zones.
More than 100 people attended the ceremony and watched as the McChord Airmen performed a C-17 flyover and a landing that demonstrated the airfield's and the aircraft's capabilities. Distinguished visitors included Mike Sullivan, former Wyoming governor; Jim Twiford, former president of the Wyoming Senate; Rep. Dave Edwards, former state representative and former chair of the Joint Transportation Interim Committee; Rep. Dave Edwards; and Guernsey Mayor Michael Pettigrew.
"Lieutenant Colonel Twiford's landing of the C-17 at the Wyoming National Guard's Camp Guernsey was the culmination of several months of coordination among the 7th Airlift Squadron, Camp Guernsey, the 62nd Airlift Wing, 18th Air Force and Air Mobility Command," said Lt. Col. Dave Herder, Camp Guernsey deputy garrison commander. "John Ryan, McChord airspace manager, Lt. Col. Twiford and I, with help from each agency, spent a lot of time and energy ensuring the collaborative effort maintained the exceptional standards of a joint endeavor. At the end of the day it was an overwhelming success and the beginning of a new era in tactical training opportunities and joint operations."
The McChord-based 7th AS was the first to fly and land the C-17 at Guernsey Field. Air Force officials call the C-17 the service's "most flexible cargo aircraft." The C-17 can operate from austere airfields including assault runways as short as 3,500 feet and only 90 feet wide. The aircraft turns around on narrow runways by using its backing capability to make a three-point turn.
Maj. Joseph O'Rourke, 62nd AW current operations chief and a pilot in the 7th AS, said such maneuvers are generally performed by aircraft commanders. All aircraft commanders are required to conduct assault landings every training cycle.
"That's a lot of training we have to accomplish," said Major O'Rourke. "Assault strips and airdrop training are vital to the Air Force C-17 community, providing critical combat readiness capabilities."
An aircraft commander or mission pilot are the only Airmen who can conduct the steep and swerving descents and short stops using thrust reversers and brakes during an assault landing. It's an initial qualification achieved at aircraft commander upgrade school at Altus AFB, Okla.
Such landings can be conducted in blackout conditions in which aircrews wear night vision equipment to see special lights defining the runway. It could be compared to landing on an aircraft carrier at night, except that the runway is a lot longer and is not pitching and rolling.
However, a C-17 is longer than three Navy F/A-18 Hornets and can carry a 70-ton Abrams tank and more than 100 Soldiers.
With 62nd AW Airmen flying airlift missions to Iraq and Afghanistan and a long history of supplying airlift to joint forces in that region, the training is relevant. Wing Airmen say they remain ready to respond to all requests, including natural disaster missions and combat missions into joint force operations overseas.
"This new runway is one more element in our national defense infrastructure that continues to make us the most capable military in the world," said Colonel Twiford. "It's an asset to the C-17 community, the Department of Defense and the nation."
Arrow-2 Test Launch February 20, 1996. (Photo: fas.org)
October 21, 2009 -- The US and Israeli militaries will launch their biggest joint missile defense drill yet on Wednesday, in the shadow of mounting missile threats from Iran, Hizbullah and Syria, and growing regional tension over Teheran's nuclear program.
The Juniper Cobra 10 exercise will test responses to a range of incoming projectiles.
More than 1,000 members of the US military's European Command and a similar number of IDF soldiers will participate, the IDF announced on Tuesday. The two militaries will test Israel's Arrow 2 Theater Ballistic Missile Defense System, and the American Navy's AEGIS Ballistic Missile Defense System. US Patriot advanced capability anti-missile missiles will also be deployed.
Seventeen US Navy ships have cruised into Israel's territorial waters for the exercise, and will be visible from the coast. The fleet consists of missile ships that will fire dummy projectiles to test defenses, and radar ships that will play an integral part in the exercise.
Air force planes will play a variety of roles during the drill.
Radar stations have been erected around the country, and Israel's Green Pine and Super Green Pine missile detection systems will be activated.
The US-made Forward Based X-band Tactical radar, situated in the Negev, which has long-range missile detection system, will also come into play. The X-band radar works in conjunction with the Arrow missile defense, while also transmitting data to a US joint tactical ground station.
The two countries have held smaller combined drills in the past.
American military officials arrived in Israel months ago to begin groundwork for the exercise, which has been in the planning for two years.
Over the past three months, preparations reached an intensive phase. Defense sources said they expect the drill to be a success, since the systems have all been successfully tested before.
Iran test-fired Shihab 3 long-range missiles at the end of last month, before holding a first round of nuclear talks with Western powers, in a move widely seen as an attempt to ward off a military strike on its nuclear sites.
Teheran said the Shihab 3 it tested had a range of 2,000 km., putting Israel and US military bases in the Middle East in reach.
In May, Iran test-fired a solid-fuel mid-range missile, which reportedly is also able to reach Israel.
In April, Israel successfully tested its Arrow 2 anti-ballistic missiles system, which is designed to cope with an increased Iranian missile capability.
Defense sources said in February that Iran had added a new missile to its operational ballistic arsenal - the BM25.
Purchased by Iran from North Korea in 2008, the BM25 missile has a range of more than 2,500 km., and can be launched quickly from a mobile launcher.
Its longer range means that it has a faster flight speed, requiring the Arrow defense system to be upgraded to deal with the new threat.
Engineers have been working to speed up the Arrow 2 system's "decision-making process," which begins when missiles are fired at Israel, and to launch interceptor missiles in less time than before.
Teheran's growing ballistic capability means that in addition to the threat of conventional missile attacks, the Islamic republic is improving its delivery capability for a nuclear weapon.
"Most of Iran's ballistic missiles can carry nuclear warheads," a defense source said in February.
The source added that people on the ground would be safe in the event of a nuclear warhead being intercepted in midair by the Arrow system.
"There's a very high likelihood that nothing will happen if a missile carrying a nonconventional weapon is intercepted," the source said.
The Arrow shield has been designed to deal with barrages of missiles that include a real nuclear warhead surrounded by dummy warheads to confuse the system.
Even if the Arrow fails to directly strike its target, "a miss will still be a hit," the defense source said.
The Jerusalem Post
October 20, 2009 -- The Minister for Defence, Senator John Faulkner, today announced that the Government has given Second Pass Approval for a $493 million project to provide the next generation artillery system for the Australian Army.
Senator Faulkner said the first phase of Land 17 (the Artillery Replacement Project) will provide the Army with four batteries of 35 M777A2 155mm Lightweight Towed Howitzers.
“The Lightweight Towed Howitzer is the most advanced towed artillery system available in the world. It is air-portable under CH-47 Chinook helicopters and can provide a weight of fire not previously available to rapidly deployed forces,” Senator Faulkner said.
“The second phase of the artillery enhancement will include the procurement of a self propelled artillery system, which will be capable of providing fire support to highly mobile mechanised forces.
The artillery system will be further enhanced through the future acquisition of a digital terminal control system for the tactical control of artillery, naval and close air support fires by forward observers and joint terminal attack controllers. This element of the project will be considered by Government in the second half of 2010,” said Senator Faulkner.
Senator Faulkner said these are high priority acquisitions which will provide improved protection and precision firepower to Australian soldiers, allowing missions to be carried out more efficiently, safely and effectively.
October 19, 2009 -- The US may supply Egypt 24 F-16C/D Block 50/52 fighter aircraft as well as associated weapons and equipment under a deal worth up to $3.2 billion.
The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) earlier this month notified the country's Congress of the possible sale.
Reports indicate that the Egyptian Air Force is the world's fourth largest F-16 operator, mustering about 157 aircraft: 26 F16A, 12 F16B, 113 F16C and six F16D, according to the Military Balance 2009 publication of the International Institute of Strategic Studies in London.
The DSCA says Egypt has requested 24 fighters installed with either the F100-PW-229 or F110-GE-129 Increased Performance Engines and APG-68(V)9 radars.
The contract would further comprise 6 F100-PW-229 or F110-GE-129 IPE spare engines, 6 APG-68(V)9 spare radar sets, 60 LAU-129/A Common Rail Launchers, 28 AN/APX-113 Advanced Identification Friend or Foe (AIFF) Systems without Mode IV, and 28 M61 20mm Vulcan cannon.
Also included in the deal are 28 AN/ALQ-211 Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Systems (AIDEWS); or Advanced Countermeasures Electronic Systems (ACES) which includes the AN/ALQ-187 Electronic Warfare System and the AN/ALR-93 Radar Warning Receiver, as well as 28 AN/ARC-238 Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System (SINCGAR) radios without HAVE QUICK I/II.
Furthermore, Egypt may receive 4 F-9120 Advanced Airborne Reconnaissance Systems or DB-110 Reconnaissance Pods, 28 Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Embedded GPS/Inertial Navigation Systems (INS) with Standard Positioning Service commercial code only, 12 AN/AAQ-33 SNIPER Advanced Targeting Pods or AN/AAQ-28LITENING Targeting Pods, 24 pairs of Conformal Fuel Tanks, and28 AN/ALE-47 Countermeasures Dispensing Systems.
The deal will further include base construction work, support equipment, software development/integration, tanker support, ferry services, Cartridge Actuated Devices/Propellant Actuated Devices (CAD/PAD), repair and return, modification kits, spares and repair parts, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, US Government and contractor technical, engineering, and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics support, according to the DCSA filing.
The US agency adds the proposed sale will allow the Egyptian Air Force to modernise its aging air force by acquiring new fighter aircraft, thereby enabling Egypt to support both its own air defense needs and coalition operations.
The principal contractor will be Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company in Fort Worth, Texas. The proposed sale also involves the following companies:
� Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Control
� Lockheed Martin Simulation, Training and Support
� BAE Advanced Systems
� Boeing Corporation
� Boeing Integrated Defense Systems
� Raytheon Company
� Northrop-Grumman Electro-Optical Systems
� Northrop-Grumman Electronic Systems
� Pratt & Whitney United Technology Company
� General Electric Aircraft Engines
� Goodrich ISR Systems
� L3 Communications
� ITT Defense Electronics and Services
� Symetrics Industries
There are no known offset agreements in connection with this proposed sale.
The DCSA says the integration of this new asset into the Egyptian Air Force will be supported by technical reviews/support, program management, and training over a period of 15 years through US government officials and industry representatives.
The Egyptian Air Force also operates 74 Chengdu J-7 (Chinese-copied Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG 21F), as well 53 Dassault Mirage 5D and E fighters.
In addition they fly 15 Mirage 2000C in the ground attack role as well as 15 Mirage 5E2, 29 McDonnell Douglas F4E Phantom II and 44 Chengdu FJ-6 (MiG 19S) and 12 Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet.
Egypt deploys a further 14 MiG21R and six Mirage 5SDR in the reconnaissance role.
The F16A/B is assigned fighter duty and the F16C/D fighter-bomber work.
October 19, 2009 -- With the arrival of HMAS Kanimbla and Army engineers in the Padang area over the weekend, the Australian Defence Force contribution to the earthquake affected city has transitioned to reconstruction and recovery work.
The engineers from the Darwin based 1st Combat Engineer Regiment promptly moved to Seigeringging and set to work building an interim health care facility for the local population.
The facility will provide ongoing health care until the town’s health centre, which was destroyed in the earthquake on September 30, can be rebuilt.
“The building will have an open floor plan and moveable partition internal walls to enable the community to customise it’s layout to meet specific needs,” the Australian Joint Task Force Engineer Adviser Major Maddock said.
The need for the interim health care facility was identified by AusAID, who have continued coordinating the building project with local authorities.
Lieutenant Colonel Lachlan Sinclair, Commanding Officer of the 1st Health Support Battalion (1HSB) and the primary health care team working in the village, says the new facility will be staffed by the town’s displaced medical workers and will remain for the community to use once their regular facility is rebuilt.
“Our operation will eventually wind down and the 1HSB element will return to Australia having completed another successful deployment.”
In the mean time, the primary health care teams are travelling into the outlying villages to conduct health clinics for those who cannot access Seigeringging.
“Most of these people don’t have the time or the money to travel to seek medical aid. Many are too busy trying to rebuild their homes and their health has been a second priority to them,” Lieutenant Colonel Sinclair said.
Airman Tione Williams and Airman Adam Pond, assigned to the amphibious transport dock ship USS Denver (LPD 9), signal Marine pilots from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron Reinforced (HMM-265 REIN), 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (31st MEU) as they prepare to depart on a humanitarian airlift mission in Indonesia. Amphibious Force Seventh Fleet is directing the U.S. military response to the Indonesian government for assistance and support for humanitarian efforts. (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps/ Sgt. Rodolfo Toro/Released)
October 16, 2009, Padang -- The Navy concluded humanitarian assistance efforts in Indonesia Oct. 16, by re-deploying military units that had been assigned to Amphibious Force, 7th Fleet.
The withdrawal comes after the departure of USS McCampbell (DDG 85) and the forward-deployed amphibious transport dock USS Denver (LPD 9) earlier this week.
"I couldn't be more proud of the efforts of everyone who helped out over here," said Rear Adm. Richard Landolt, Amphibious Force, 7th Fleet. "We've had countless people come up to us and thank us for everything we've done, and it is a direct reflection of the hard work and sacrifice of our Sailors, Marines, Soldiers and Airmen."
Service members from all branches worked side by side throughout the joint-service operation, successfully delivering more than 182 tons of food, water and medical supplies. Medical personnel also treated almost 2,000 patients at the Humanitarian Assistance Rapid Response Team (HARRT) field hospital.
"The operation went pretty smooth," said Cmdr. Fred Rischmiller, Indonesian Humanitiarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR) chief of staff. "We had a combined team on the ground and that truly facilitated dialogue between the services."
Supplies were delivered from Ta Bing Airfield in Padang, where the 353rd Special Operations Group (SOG) established a command and control center to coordinate communications and logistics between five U.S. military centers of operation. Pallets were delivered with CH-53E Sea Stallion and SH-60S Sea Hawk helicopters assigned to Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM) 265, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), as well as S-330J Super Puma helicopters assigned to USNS Richard E. Byrd (T-AKE 4). Those operations were primarily conducted using visual flight rules, due to the extensive damage caused by the earthquakes.
"This mission presented a real challenge because we were looking at landing in some pretty tight locations, and many of the navigation aids were destroyed in the earthquake," said Marine Lt. Dustin Howe, a Sea Stallion pilot with HMM-265. "Great communication with the 353rd's combat controllers and some pretty good flying were huge factors in the success of our mission."
Most of members of the joint-service team brought experience from numerous previous humanitarian assistance missions.
"This is what we're trained to do," said Air Force Maj. John Traxler, 353rd SOG ground force commander. "We come into austere airfields, get established and get air operations going. It's a job that we're well-prepared to do and I feel everyone here did an outstanding job carrying out this mission."
For others however, the operation served as a learning experience.
"For me, basically, it's like being a college freshmen or an NBA rookie," said Airman First Class Robert Bell, a computer systems operator from Hinesville, Ga., assigned to the 353rd SOG. "Until you're put in the game, you don't really know what it's like. I've been waiting for my chance and finally got it. It feels really good to know that what we did out here made a difference."
Amphibious Force, 7th Fleet, coordinated U.S. Navy assistance to victims of the recent earthquakes in West Sumatra with the Indonesian government. The efforts were conducted at the request of the Indonesian government and underscore the ability of naval forces to conduct humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations.