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International Military Aviation - News and Discussion

The Military Issues & History Forum is a venue to discuss issues relating to the military aspects of the Indian Armed Forces, whether the past, present or future. We request members to kindly stay within the mandate of this forum and keep their exchanges of views, on a civilised level, however vehemently any disagreement may be felt. All feedback regarding forum usage may be sent to the moderators using the Feedback Form or by clicking the Report Post Icon in any objectionable post for proper action. Please note that the views expressed by the Members and Moderators on these discussion boards are that of the individuals only and do not reflect the official policy or view of the Bharat-Rakshak.com Website. Copyright Violation is strictly prohibited and may result in revocation of your posting rights - please read the FAQ for full details. Users must also abide by the Forum Guidelines at all times.
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Re: International Military Aviation - News and Discussion

Postby member_28756 » 10 Nov 2015 20:38

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... rs-418883/

Argentina to sign for AESA-equipped Kfir fighters

10 November, 2015

BY: Arie Egozi Tel Aviv

Argentina is expected to sign a contract on 10 November covering the purchase of 14 Kfir Block 60 fighters. The nation's air force opted to acquire upgraded examples of the Israel Aerospace Industries-produced combat aircraft, which have been non-operational for two decades.

IAI had been offering a Block 60 version of the roughly 40-year-old Kfir design, powered by a GE Aviation J79 engine. The company says the powerplant will be supplied in a "zero-hour" condition after a complete overhaul, with replacement required after 1,600 flight hours.

The upgraded fighter also will be fitted with an Elta Systems EL/M-2032 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, and use open architecture avionics that will allow the customer to instal other systems. Elta says the sensor provides an all aspect, "look-down shoot-down" performance, and will support simultaneous air-to-air and strike missions, with the ability to track up to 64 targets.

Flightglobal's Fleets Analyzer database records the Argentine air force as currently operating a combined fleet of 37 jet fighters, spread across aged Dassault Mirage III and Mirage 5, Douglas A-4 and IAI Nesher airframes.

The nation's pending acquisition will see it join Colombia, Ecuador and Sri Lanka in operating the Kfir.


The Colombian air force has already upgraded its C10- and C12-model examples to IAI's enhanced standard, including the AESA radar and Rafael Litening targeting pod. The cockpit features a head-up display and large multi-function displays, while the type is also capable of being refuelled in flight.

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Re: International Military Aviation - News and Discussion

Postby Aditya G » 11 Nov 2015 00:46

Argentina was a potential JF-17 customer ...

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Re: International Military Aviation - News and Discussion

Postby member_28756 » 11 Nov 2015 22:39

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... et-418855/

DUBAI: Approvals wait threatens Kuwait Super Hornet deal
09 November, 2015 BY: James Drew Dubai
Boeing officials say there is some anxiety and frustration over how long it is taking the US government to approve a potential fighter deal with Kuwait.

The Gulf nation is seeking 28 Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets with options for 12 more, but a sluggish approvals process in Washington, that has more recently been complicated by the Iran nuclear deal, has company executives worried Kuwait could back out and instead complete a purchase of a European alternative: the Eurofighter Typhoon.

Speaking at the Dubai air show, Boeing sales and business development executives Tom Bell and Jeff Kohler, who would not name Kuwait specifically, said the company's prospective “Middle East customer” is frustrated with the approvals process. Kuwait reportedly selected the Super Hornet earlier this year, before signing an agreement with the Italian government for 28 Typhoons.

“We’re just worried that the delay could cause them to turn to another provider outside the United States,” says Kohler. “Once they do that, once they sign a contract with Eurofighter, then you lose them for 30 or 40 years. There is a little bit of anxiety.”

Kuwait operates 27 F-18C Hornets that it acquired in the 1990s after the first Gulf War, and would have little trouble introducing the newer Super Hornet. Boeing needs to close the deal to shore up production in St Louis, Missouri, which faces closure without more orders.

The US Navy is continuing to purchase the type, but Boeing needs an order of 12 aircraft from the service in 2016 and from the Middle Eastern customer to keep the line economically viable. It says the approvals process is likely to drag into early 2016, and that a dozen-aircraft order from the USN is more certain – although still subject to budget approval by Congress.

Bell and Kohler say the issue is complicated by politics and high-level diplomacy over the Iran nuclear agreement, but mainly because the US government’s Foreign Military Sales process is slow and not built to handle the volume of transactions requiring approval by the state department.

The approvals office is built to handle $15 billion in sales comfortably, but increased demand has seen an average of between $30 billion and $35 billion over the past five years and the government has not adapted, they add. “The acquisition system just takes too much time,” says Kohler.

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Re: International Military Aviation - News and Discussion

Postby NRao » 16 Nov 2015 02:34

Opinion: A New Bomber For $550 Million? Not Likely

The Pentagon has chosen Northrop Grumman to build the U.S. Air Force’s next strategic bomber, and Boeing, which led the competition, has filed a protest. But regardless of how that turns out, the Long-Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) is part of an unrealistic, $1 trillion plan to rebuild the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Like much of the nuclear strategy, the proposed bomber is out of sync with military needs and budget reality. Instead of rushing headlong into disaster, as the Air Force did with the previous bomber, the B-2, the Obama administration needs to cool its jets.

The first problem is cost. The Air Force plans to build 100 new LRS-B aircraft, unofficially known as the B-3, for $550 million each plus $21 billion for development, for a total production cost of about $100 billion with inflation. Right off the bat, the bomber program will actually cost at least twice the advertised sticker price. This will not inspire public confidence.

We have seen this movie before. Back in the 1980s, the B-2, also built by Northrop, was sold to Congress and taxpayers for about $550 million each, or $860 million in today’s dollars. But the bombers ended up costing what would be $3.4 billion per copy today—a fourfold increase. Initial plans called for 132 aircraft, and then the price rose and the Berlin Wall fell. In 1992, President George H.W. Bush cut production to 21.

The B-2, sold to Congress as costing $836 million per bomber, ended up at $3.4 billion a copy. Credit: U.S. Air Force

Other Air Force programs, including the F-35 and F-22, have also experienced massive cost overruns in recent years. If you believe each B-3 will really cost $550 million, or that Congress will actually buy 100 of them, you are ignoring history.

“How many times are we going to go down this overpriced bomber road?” asks Gordon Adams, who oversaw defense budgeting under President Bill Clinton. “It’s like Lucy with the football. We never get to kick an affordable aircraft through the goalpost.”

And what about the “need” for 100 of the new bombers? Has anyone missed those 111 B-2s the Air Force never built? Yes, we had older aircraft to cover the gap, but this just shows how little we need a high-tech bomber.

The second problem is timing. The B-52H, in service since the 1960s, is expected to keep flying until the 2040s, as is the newer B-1, and the B-2 will fly until 2060, if not longer. So why start the new bomber now?

The B-3 can safely be delayed by 10 years without compromising the integrity of the bomber fleet. Current plans call for the new aircraft to enter service by 2025. By pushing it back, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Air Force could save up to $34 billion over the next decade, just as other parts of the nuclear arsenal—submarines and land-based missiles—will be in development as well. We can’t afford, and don’t need, to do it all at the same time.

The third problem is mission. The new bomber will be designed to evade air defenses so it can enter enemy airspace to deliver precision gravity bombs, such as the B61 nuclear bomb. But current plans also call for the bomber to carry a new $25 billion nuclear-tipped Air-Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM) to evade air defenses.

Do we need a penetrating cruise missile on a penetrating bomber? No. It’s like bringing a long bow into a boxing ring.

Former Defense Secretary William J. Perry, who oversaw development of the current ALCM 35 years ago, recently wrote a Washington Post op-ed with his colleague, former Assistant Defense Secretary Andy Weber, calling on President Barack Obama to cancel plans for a new nuclear cruise missile. Good idea.

As the Air Force rushes into the B-3 and the new cruise missile, it is the next president who will have to deal with the inevitable cost increases and budget crises. Rather than locking his successor into an unsustainable program, President Obama can do the next commander-in-chief a favor by delaying the bomber and canning the cruise missile. For once, Charlie Brown should just say “no” to Lucy and her football.

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Re: International Military Aviation - News and Discussion

Postby NRao » 16 Nov 2015 03:14

Go figure .....................

Indonesia May Order F-16s, Lockheed Martin Says

A possible contract from Indonesia may extend F-16 manufacturing into 2018, says Lockheed Martin, as the company works on filling an Iraqi order that may be the last for the biggest-selling fighter in current production.

Although Indonesian Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu said in September that the country had chosen the Sukhoi Su-35 for its next fighter order, the deal has not been signed. The F-16 remains a contender, according to Randall Howard, Lockheed Martin’s business development director for the type.

Indonesia is considering the fighter in its F-16V version, which includes the Northrop Grumman APG-83 radar, a sensor with an active, electronically scanning array.

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Re: International Military Aviation - News and Discussion

Postby Singha » 19 Nov 2015 17:20

Rt
HomeNews
China buys 24 advanced Russian Su-35 warplanes in estimated $2bn landmark deal
Published time: 19 Nov, 2015 06:52
Edited time: 19 Nov, 2015 07:34
The Su-35 fighter. © Artem Zhitenev / Sputnik
The Su-35 fighter. © Artem Zhitenev / Sputnik
1.3K15
China has signed a contract to buy 24 Sukhoi Su-35 multipurpose fighter jets from Russia, becoming the first foreign buyer of the advanced warplane, according to manufacturer Rostec. The deal, estimated to be worth $2 billion, is a significant boost to Russia’s arms exports.
“The long negotiation on the Su-35 sale to China has been completed. We have signed a contract,” Sergey Chemezov, the head of the Russian state-owned high-tech giant Rostec, told Kommersant business daily.

Chemezov didn’t disclose the details of the deal, but Kommersant cited sources in the Russian arms industry as saying that China had purchased 24 Su-35s at a price of about $83 million each.

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Re: International Military Aviation - News and Discussion

Postby brar_w » 21 Nov 2015 19:12

Opinion: A New Bomber For $550 Million? Not Likely


What utter rubbish..First, the ALCM is not LRS-B (and it may not even be called B-3) but total bomber force specific. Secondly, the ALCM is gone and there will be no air-delivered leg to the detterence. Second the author gets into the rushing into a new bomber..rushing what exactly? The Bomber dates back to the Next Generation Bomber days and is in effect a restart of that program with a different goal (family of systems). The USAF has only 15 available B-2's for penetrating strike against a near peer however when you start to give them tactical targets and begin deploying them on non-strategic missions (such as ALCM delivery) you are awfully short when it comes to defeating an advanced threat. In the Pacific the new bomber will have to deal with A2AD threats, open up air-space, take out a ton of decoys (good old JDAM and SDB since its cost-prohibitive to take out decoys with JASSM's) and may even have to take out ships and aircraft carriers. The B-2 cannot handle all that. Furthermore, the B-52 and B-1 have a finite life and doing a bomber is a lot different from doing a new narrow-body..there are only a handful of design teams in the world that can design a long range bomber and even fewer that can design a penetrating, stealthy long range strike bomber. It takes time to design, develop, procure, and develop operational capability. One can argue that one leg of the triad is not necessary but one must make a credible argument for it not use completely useless stuff as systems are being rushed into despite of evidence to the contrary.

The B-2 analogy does not also apply since the B-2 was about inventing a complete system from the ground up. From the design tools and instruments, to Carbon fiber to essentially creating a stealth concept from scratch. The Long Range Strike is not a design challenge but largely an integration challenge i.e. how to integrate advances made since the F-22/F35 into a system and creating an open missions systems architecture to absorb stuff as directed energy weapons, embedded arrays and other LO capability. From a program-management style it resembles the F117 than the B-2 with fixed requirements that took a long process to develop (NGB--LRS transition) but since they were nailed down - have remained unchanged (No B-2 shock when low level flight was added at the 11th hour)..The program through its development will be handled by the rapid capabilities office that does things a lot differently than the standard acquisition and program management process..The emphasis has been on high stealth, electronic warfare and open mission systems..

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Re: International Military Aviation - News and Discussion

Postby NRao » 21 Nov 2015 19:45

Last edited by NRao on 21 Nov 2015 19:48, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: International Military Aviation - News and Discussion

Postby NRao » 21 Nov 2015 19:47

Russian (armed) Tu-160 bombers circumnavigate Europe, launch cruise missiles against IS targets from Mediterranean Sea

During the first part of their 13,000 km long journey, the Russian strategic bombers remained in international airspace ...................

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Re: International Military Aviation - News and Discussion

Postby Philip » 23 Nov 2015 13:17

There was an earlier report which said that the Indonesians had also plumped for the SU-35 which was selected after evaluating the Typhoon,Rafale,etc. No further news on that score as yet.

http://www.defensenews.com/story/defens ... /76102226/
Russia-China Su-35 Deal Raises Reverse Engineering Issue
By Wendell Minnick 8:12 p.m. EST November 20, 2015

TAIPEI — As China becomes the first export customer of the Russian-built Su-35 multirole fighter aircraft, some observers have raised the question of whether Beijing intends to reverse engineer the plane as it did with an earlier sale with Russia.

A US $2 billion deal for 24 fighters was reported Thursday in the Russian daily Kommersant newspaper and TASS news agency.

Chinese interest in the fighter dates back to 2006, but was not confirmed by Russian officials until the 2012 Zhuhai Airshow. The Su-35 first appeared at the 2014 Zhuhai Airshow, leading to speculation a contract was imminent.

Beijing has yet to confirm the deal and is normally secretive about military sales, but China’s media outlet, Global Times, quoted Fu Qianshao, a Beijing-based air defense specialist, as calling the signing a “crucial step for military trade” with Moscow.

The production of the aircraft for the Chinese started even before the final contract was signed, said Vasily Kashin, a China military specialist at the Moscow-based Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies.

“So, it will not stand in a queue, and we possibly will see the first deliveries late next year and the final ones at some point in 2018, maybe late 2017,” Kashin said. The deal does not include any technology transfers, but the Russians have agreed to use some of the “Chinese cockpit equipment,” he said.

There are fears China’s decision to procure only 24 fighters indicates an intention to reverse engineer and copy the fighter, as it did with the Su-27SK. In 1995, China secured a $2.5 billion production license deal from Russia to build 200 Su-27SKs, dubbed the J-11A. In 2006, Russia killed the contract after 95 aircraft when it discovered China had reverse engineered the aircraft and was covertly manufacturing an indigenous variant, the J-11B, with Chinese-built avionics and weapons.

There are also fears China will want the Su-35’s sophisticated engine, the Saturn AL-117S, for its J-20 stealth fighter. The engine is also outfitted on Russia’s T-50 stealth fighter.

“I assume the reason why they are buying 24 … is to get hold of some of the embedded technologies,” said Roger Cliff, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. “The basic airframe of the Su-35 isn't much changed from the Su-27 and Su-30, which China already has, so presumably they are going after other things such as thrust-vectoring, the Su-35's passive electronically scanned array radar, or its infrared search-and-track system.”

Douglas Barrie, senior fellow for military aerospace, London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, said the Chinese are looking at the small number of Su-35s as an “opportunity to compare and contrast.” The Shenyang J-11D, now in development, could be viewed as an Su-35 equivalent, and the Chinese Air Force will now have the opportunity to weigh both aircraft side-by-side.

“Alongside access to engine technology, one area where China still benefits from external technology, the weapons package for the Su-35 will also be of interest,” he said.

Kashin said getting a chance to dig inside an Su-35 is a real opportunity for China. The Su-35 is the ultimate development of the Su-27 family, with improved airframe, new engines, avionics and radar, and now the Chinese are testing the J-11D version with active electronically scanned array radar and other improvements.

“In the mid-term, the development of this family is much more important for Chinese air power than their stealth aircraft programs,” the J-31 and J-20 stealth fighters, Kashin said. “Exercising with one regiment of Su-35s will help them understand what direction can be chosen for the future of their heavy fighters fleet, what they can do themselves, when they have to go to the Russians for help, etc.”

Cliff, author of the new book, “China’s Military Power: Assessing Current and Future Capabilities,” said he was more skeptical of China reaping as much as many fear from the Su-35.

“Just buying examples of technologies, however, doesn’t immediately convey the ability to make them oneself,” he said. The best example of that is the AL-31 engine that goes into the Su-27 and Su-30.

“China has had access to that technology for over 20 years and apparently is still struggling to make its own high-performance turbofan engines.

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Re: International Military Aviation - News and Discussion

Postby Viv S » 24 Nov 2015 09:20

United Kingdom F-35B Testing

By Jamie Hunter Posted 27 October 2015

The United Kingdom watched with enthusiasm as the US Marine Corps declared initial operating capability with the F-35B on 31 July 2015. As the only non-US Tier 1 partner in the F-35 program, the UK has nurtured strong participation from both an industry and operational standpoint.

The UK’s joint Lightning Force has worked hard to stay at the leading edge of F-35 development from the start, notably with the advance of STOVL technology.

UK test pilots Simon Hargreaves and Justin Paines both flew the X-35 during the competitive fly-off against the rival Boeing X-32 in 2000 BAE Systems test pilot Graham Tomlinson later became the fourth pilot to fly the F-35 on 28 May 2008, when he piloted F-35 test aircraft AA-1. Tomlinson went on to be at the controls for the first flight of the first F-35B on 11 June 2008.

Today, the RAF’s Air Officer Commanding 1 Group, Air Vice Marshal Gary Waterfall is the senior officer presiding over the UK’s combat air. No one is better placed to provide a clear overview of British plans for the Lightning II.

“We are in a really good place now in the F-35 community in terms of relative priority because we were in right from the beginning,” he explained. “We have 25,000 jobs in the UK directly related to the Joint Strike Fighter, and we have a fifteen percent stake in every airplane through BAE Systems’ workshare.

“We want the F-35 to be a core part of the UK’s sovereign air defense and air power projection,” Waterfall continued. “To do that, we have to do our own test and evaluation, which we are doing with our No 17(Reserve) Test and Evaluation Squadron at Edwards [AFB, California]. We have to understand how the aircraft works and how we are going to operate it. We would not have been able to do that if we just bought it off the shelf as an FMS customer and just used it without any in-depth knowledge.

“So only by being embedded now in the program are we able to manipulate our sovereign rights in terms of what we want to do with the aircraft — that’s why it’s so important for us now,” Waterfall added.

No 17(R) Test and Evaluation Squadron, called the Black Knights, has been re-established as the UK’s premier unit for developing and realizing the potential of the Lightning II. Now based in the California desert at Edwards, handpicked personnel of this famous squadron are already engaged in the operational evaluation of the F-35 — learning about, flying, and maintaining this advanced fighter.

Wing. Cmdr. Jim Beck, the first officer to command a UK F-35 squadron, leads the Black Knights. “The past year has been about being able to safely fly the F-35B under UK jurisdiction,” he explained. “The big thing for us has been to train pilots and engineers. We are using UK engineering documents and we generate our own training packages.”

Beck’s squadron is embedded as part of the F-35 Joint Operational Test Team, or JOTT. The team’s mission is to build confidence in the aircraft towards helping clear the F-35 to make the legally mandated advance from Low Rate Initial Production to Full Rate Production. “We are getting good value for money in terms of influence and access, and we’ve got it from a very early phase,” Beck added.

“This squadron comprises ten percent of the test program in the JOTT, but we also have specific UK test items and areas of interest such as interoperability with the Eurofighter Typhoon,” Beck explained. “We have been conducting ad hoc trials, however we started the core phase of the operational test work last May.”

At Edwards, No 17(R) TES operates alongside the US Air Force’s 31st TES plus the Marine Corps test unit, VMX-22, which completes the overall construct of the JOTT. The squadron also maintains a close relationship with the 422nd TES at Nellis AFB.

The UK contingent plays a role in the decision to move to full rate production, and they are writing the UK tactics manual for the F-35B. “By being in the position that we are within the JOTT,” said Beck, “we have access to the full-up operational evaluation across the board.”

“If we were to simply go and buy F-15s or F/A-18s, we’d just buy them off the shelf,” Beck continued. “We couldn’t influence those programs. Whereas with the F-35 we can steer the program. So, we are forward thinking about what the adversary might be doing in 2020 and beyond.”

Beck and his team are focused on mission capabilities and tactics. “We are involved in some really exciting test work,” he said. “For example, we are evaluating how the aircraft can be used against surface-to-air missiles and simulated enemy fighters. We are flying close air support missions. We are doing this early enough to inform any reprogramming we might need. In these operational evaluations we try to stress the system.”

The system is clearly impressing Beck, who is a former Tornado pilot. “I simply cannot explain to you how good this sensor suite is,” he said. “It is mind-blowing. We don't actually even need to carry a weapon, albeit we can. I can track targets, identify them all, after having turned [nose] cold [away from the targets], then datalink that information to my Typhoons. The Typhoon pilots can then carry their ordnance to bear against the targets.

“So, I’ve identified everything at distances that no one thought previously possible,” Beck continued. “I’ve shared that data with other assets. I can lead them all into the fight. We are very focused on getting value for money and we can do a lot more by blending our assets.

“This jet isn’t just about the weapons — it’s a game-changing capability. The Tornado GR.4 can't just stroll into a double digit SAM MEZ [Missile Engagement Zone]. In the F-35 I can generate a wormhole in the airspace and lead everyone through it. There isn’t another platform around that can do that. This isn’t all about height and supercruise speed — it’s the ability to not be seen,” added Beck.

Waterfall added: “The F-35 is providing the pilot with all the needed information; it is largely irrelevant where that information has come from because the aircraft is manipulating all of the sensors available and taking the best of those sensors, correlating the information and presenting it to the pilot.”

Beck noted: “We can never be explicit about the true capabilities of this jet, we've got to hold our cards close because otherwise people will try to reverse engineer it. This aircraft is so sophisticated that no pilot who has actually flown it says a bad thing about it. That tells you a lot about what this can do.”

With the US Marine Corps having now declared Initial Operational Capability, Beck says that British IOC is “what makes me tick every day.” His squadron currently has two aircraft assigned: F-35Bs ZM135 and ZM136. A third aircraft, ZM137 is attached to Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 (VMFAT-501) at MCAS Beaufort, South Carolina. “We are soon upgrading to Block 2B software. When I collect our fourth aircraft at the end of 2015, it will be in Block 3I software configuration. This aircraft will have a genuine fieldable capability — pretty much what we would take to war.”

The clock is ticking towards establishment of the UK’s first front line unit at RAF Marham, 617 Squadron, the famous “Dambusters” from World War II. IOC in a land-based capacity is scheduled for 2018 and then from the UK’s new Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers in 2020. Beck commented: “My driver is not the day 617 Squadron declares IOC, I need the squadron to be able to spin up, so we need to be ahead of the game. We’ve got to have the tactics manual ready and check that this jet is fit for purpose. We must generate sufficient evidence to meet UK public procurement legislation through the Integrated Test and Evaluation Acceptance Plan.”

Looking ahead to 2016, Beck and his team have a series of significant milestones. Fourth-fifth generation integration trials with the Typhoons of 41(R) TES are planned, initially to hammer out communications procedures from the F-35’s intra-flight Multifunction Advanced Datalink and Link-16.

The squadron will remain in the US to maximize its partnership in the F-35 program. This will continue past the JOTT production decision, with the squadron set to ensure the British F-35s are kept at the leading edge of their capabilities.

Jamie Hunter is an aviation photojournalist based in the UK.

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Re: International Military Aviation - News and Discussion

Postby Eric Leiderman » 25 Nov 2015 08:43

UK involved in partial manafacture and indepth testing of the F35B
Wish we could do the same on the FGFA/T51
Maybe Mr.Modi will do the needful we need this bird fast.


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Re: International Military Aviation - News and Discussion

Postby brar_w » 30 Nov 2015 03:50

Rare shot of the NT43A in action..


Image

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Re: International Military Aviation - News and Discussion

Postby Cosmo_R » 30 Nov 2015 04:06

Eric Leiderman wrote:UK involved in partial manafacture and indepth testing of the F35B
Wish we could do the same on the FGFA/T51
Maybe Mr.Modi will do the needful we need this bird fast.


The Russians have not/will not allow the IAF to see anything more than aerobatics before plunking down a goodly sum. It is buy before you fly.

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Re: International Military Aviation - News and Discussion

Postby Philip » 01 Dec 2015 12:37

Radical new Brit "reaction" engine tech that could revolutionise aerospace.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/news ... esign.html

British technology company to 'transform' air and space travel with pioneering new engine design
Reaction Engines says its invention will allow airliners to fly at five times the speed of sound

How air travel might look in the future Photo: Reaction Engines

By Ken Mann
9:25PM GMT 29 Nov 2015

For a small technology company trying to revolutionise low-cost commercial space travel, the sale of a minority stake to aerospace giant BAE Systems could turn out to be the defining moment in its quest.

Its Sabre engines for commercial air travel can go from zero to five times the speed of sound, and up to 25 times the speed of sound for space travel.

Experts believe hypersonic air travel could enable people to one day journey anywhere in the world within four hours. At Reaction Engines, based in Oxfordshire, they think this could be a reality within 10 to 15 years.

However, before last month’s deal, Reaction was a highly respected research business, but with limited funding had been effectively stuck as a start-up since its foundation in 1989.

An atist's impression of how the new engine would look in ground tests

Now, with the backing of a major strategic partner, the 75-employee company and its team of rocket scientists should be course to expand their orbit.

With BAE’s backing and an additional government funding commitment of £60m, Reaction will be able to move to the next critical engineering development stage, while remaining an independent company.

Guiding its “unique” Sabre engine concept towards a seminal breakthrough has been an evolutionary experience.

Recently-installed managing director Mark Thomas admits the deal took time. “They [BAE Systems] have put in £21m, which implies the company is valued at £100m,” he says.

“I spent much of the five months I’ve been here working on that process. It was very clear to me that we needed a big industrial aerospace company and one of the key capabilities we were looking for was systems integration.

“It’s a combination of jet engine technologies and rocket technologies, so actually it’s a complex system (requiring everything to function as one unit). When we looked at organisations with that ability, BAE Systems were top of the list.”

With hindsight, his arrival in May was ideally timed. A Cambridge engineering graduate, Thomas has spent a quarter of a century working in the defence and civil aerospace divisions of Rolls-Royce.

His previous position was as a chief engineer in the industrial giant’s civil aerospace arm, making engines for super-jumbo jets. Prior to that, he held similar posts working on the Typhoon fighter and the Trent 900 jet engine that powers the world’s largest passenger airliner, the Airbus A380.

Mark Thomas of Reaction EnginesMark Thomas, of Reaction Engines, says the company's Sabre rocket engine will enable airliners to fly at five times the speed of sound Photo: John Lawrence/TELEGRAPH

The uniqueness of Reaction’s brainchild is largely founded on an ability to accommodate both space and air modes of travel in one engine.
Thomas describes the company’s Sabre – or Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine – as “the next big thing”. When might it become reality?

“I think we are at the start of a fantastic ride. It really is the start of something very big.”

The intent is to double in size in the next two years. Even with 150 highly qualified people, Reaction will probably need to stretch that figure to complete the programme, something Thomas is content to admit.

I think we are at the start of a fantastic ride. It really is the start of something very big
Mark Thomas, CEO, Reaction Engines

It remains a business without a product, yet it has no immediate funding requirement beyond its faithful private and institutional investors, the Government’s pledge, revenue from two fabrication subsidiaries and its new partner’s stake-holding. There was a key turning point in 2012, when the company demonstrated the enabling technology that is the key to its concept.

“Many people – and I would say Rolls-Royce included – did not believe that would be possible,” Thomas reveals. “That triggered the government interest and the work that’s been done since, not just by the company but also with (validation from) the European Space Agency and the US Air Force Research Laboratory. That has given BAE Systems the confidence to join.

“If we can get the Sabre engine demonstrated, then there is no end to the possibilities – and we are not able, here and now, to predict all of those things – but there’s a hell of a lot to look forward to.”

• Four future space technologies that will change the world in your lifetime

Ultimately, Reaction Engines will need to the viability of Sabre’s possible applications, whether for traditional airlines or those trying to conquer space travel such as SpaceX, the US spacecraft designer headed by business magnate Elon Musk, which Thomas views as a potential customer.

Given the slower than expected uptake of the A380 super-jumbo, what sort of customers will be in the market for hypersonic engines that propel planes at five times the speed of sound?

“The A380 example is a great one,” Thomas counters. “It was an extremely bold step for Airbus to take. In contemplating an aircraft like an A380 they clearly saw a market opportunity, and it’s not sold as quickly as perhaps predicted.

“But if you look at an airline like Emirates, it is clearly showing how you can build almost an entire airline around a product like the A380. They’ve changed the long-haul concept through that product.

“Time is critical. What we’ll see with hypersonic air travel, and it’s clearly a long way out there, is that it gives people that option of travelling anywhere in the world within four hours. That would be a fantastic offering and we believe there is a market for that.

“This is a really versatile propulsion system that we’re developing. It is an air-breathing rocket engine that can go from zero to five times the speed of sound and for the space-access variant, 25 times the speed of sound, and has a huge range of operation. The other advantage of this engine is that it’s highly scaleable.”

The ability to up or down-size the concept is undoubtedly a trump card. Reaction has already studied a large “civil high-speed air transport vehicle”. It seats 300 people, on a par with larger versions of Boeing’s twin engine 787 Dreamliner.

“There would be a business case for a vehicle of that nature,” Thomas contends. “It doesn’t preclude you doing something that could be a step towards that. I think really the defining moment is going to be when we test the first engine. We’re planning to do that by the end of this decade.”

PS:Sabre-watch out for the Chinese brigands!

Thomas estimates that the world is 10-15 years away from commercial space flight. Returning to comparisons with SpaceX and other rocket engineers, he acknowledges Musk’s ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets, but points to a key differentiator.

SKYLON takes off for another mission Photo: Reaction Engines

“We don’t see them as competitors because they’re working with the current generation of rocket technologies. They’re doing great things, I have huge admiration for SpaceX. But what we are doing is pitching ourselves as the next generation.

“I actually look at those guys and say they will be our customers one day. They will come to us for an engine or we will work with them to help deliver a vehicle concept.

“We don’t see anybody working on anything like Sabre. To do something with a single propulsion system is the dream ticket.

“We are in a prime position at the moment and we have to exploit that for us, for UK industry, for the next generation of engineers and scientists.”

Does the sheer magnitude of the opportunity mean the company is likely to end up being fully acquired by a much larger enterprise in the future?

“We haven’t written the script for how this is going to go,” he says. “But we do know that to develop the entirety of this engine, and certainly a product that it’s going to power is not going to be done by Reaction Engines as an independent company.

“We see us being in some form of bigger industry collaboration and/or another company. But it’s way too early for us to be making predictions on that,” says Thomas.


PS:Sabre,watch out for the Chinese pirates!

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Re: International Military Aviation - News and Discussion

Postby NRao » 03 Dec 2015 04:25


shiv
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Re: International Military Aviation - News and Discussion

Postby shiv » 04 Dec 2015 13:57

Can someone explain this to me?
Italy trying to get clearance for KC-767 to refuel the F-16
Col. Giorgio Seravalle, chief of air operations for the Italian air force, says three attempts have been made previously to try and certify the KC-767 aerial tanker to refuel the F-16.

It is not known when the clearance will happen. Past attempts to get clearance using Dutch, Norwegian and Polish F-16s have failed as the manufacturers did not exchange data that is necessary for the flight trials.

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Re: International Military Aviation - News and Discussion

Postby brar_w » 04 Dec 2015 18:31

From little that I can make out is that the Italians want to do the clearances themselves and are finding it tough to get the two OEM's together to get this done. For the F-35, they essentially worked through an already established organization that had a well laid out protocol for involving third party systems and how the various OEM's would have to share and transfer data back and forth.

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Re: International Military Aviation - News and Discussion

Postby brar_w » 04 Dec 2015 18:37

Eric Leiderman wrote:UK involved in partial manafacture and indepth testing of the F35B
Wish we could do the same on the FGFA/T51
Maybe Mr.Modi will do the needful we need this bird fast.


One must however take into account that the Brits were involved with the program and its precursors ever since it was merely a document and in the pre-requirement phase (DARPA). They damn nearly participated in every (or most) trade study either through a US defense department organization or through industry to replace the harrier or create a next generation strike fighter. The participation was mature enough at the program inception stage (JSF) that they freely let their industry procure business lines that may directly impact the program (such as Allison's procurement by RR that essentially led to the lift fan technology coming over to RR America) and they also allowed their industry to embed themselves with US prime contractors in 2 of the three finalist pre-prototype designs. With $2.5 Billion upfront investment to secure the only L1 status and with a plan of procuring 138 aircraft, they essentially secured 15% of total industrial partnership for a program that is likely to be worth well over $500 Billion over 2 to 3 decades of production and support. They have very little in prospective industrial production programs for their defense industry. The Typhoon is on its last production phases and the FCAS is just a paper concept. The JSF will hold their industrial capacity in a period where they are expected to be significantly below the cold war defense spending goals where they could sustain the industry far better.

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Re: International Military Aviation - News and Discussion

Postby Lisa » 17 Dec 2015 01:28

Some nice flying received via mail,

WATER BOMBING FOREST FIRES

https://player.vimeo.com/video/48642618

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Re: International Military Aviation - News and Discussion

Postby deejay » 17 Dec 2015 07:09

Nice video Lisa. Thanks. High skill, high adrenaline job. Never saw so much rudder movement in straight and level (supposedly). Must be going through huge CG shifts.

Respect!

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Re: International Military Aviation - News and Discussion

Postby Singha » 17 Dec 2015 07:46

boeing has to deliver 18 KC767 by 2018 per KC-X contract. so all the italians need to do is wait a couple years for usaf-certified f-16 compatibility...why is it so urgent other than coalition bush wars...they operate tornadoes and EF's which I guess already work and will get JSF which will come pre-certified given that KC-X is ramping up.

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Re: International Military Aviation - News and Discussion

Postby brar_w » 17 Dec 2015 07:51

Italians already certified their tanker with the F-35, and will be using it to support the first Italian built F-35 as it flies off to Luke Air Force Base early next year. Their F-16 cert. is in support of their support to NATO and other European F-16 operators.

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Re: International Military Aviation - News and Discussion

Postby TSJones » 17 Dec 2015 12:32

brar_w wrote:
Eric Leiderman wrote:UK involved in partial manafacture and indepth testing of the F35B
Wish we could do the same on the FGFA/T51
Maybe Mr.Modi will do the needful we need this bird fast.


One must however take into account that the Brits were involved with the program and its precursors ever since it was merely a document and in the pre-requirement phase (DARPA). They damn nearly participated in every (or most) trade study either through a US defense department organization or through industry to replace the harrier or create a next generation strike fighter. The participation was mature enough at the program inception stage (JSF) that they freely let their industry procure business lines that may directly impact the program (such as Allison's procurement by RR that essentially led to the lift fan technology coming over to RR America) and they also allowed their industry to embed themselves with US prime contractors in 2 of the three finalist pre-prototype designs. With $2.5 Billion upfront investment to secure the only L1 status and with a plan of procuring 138 aircraft, they essentially secured 15% of total industrial partnership for a program that is likely to be worth well over $500 Billion over 2 to 3 decades of production and support. They have very little in prospective industrial production programs for their defense industry. The Typhoon is on its last production phases and the FCAS is just a paper concept. The JSF will hold their industrial capacity in a period where they are expected to be significantly below the cold war defense spending goals where they could sustain the industry far better.


it's funny how a lot of people, not only in the US but globally, don't understand that the Brits were neck deep into the JSF program right from the get go. that included a big chunk of up-front money. Balls to the wall, no half measures. All in. Show your cards.

Recently Japan has expressed an interest in being a "full partner" with NASA. it turns out what they really mean is they want sub-contract work from Uncle Sugar. They just don't get the concept.

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Re: International Military Aviation - News and Discussion

Postby Philip » 18 Dec 2015 17:16

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... -u-420176/
Quarrel over next-gen nuclear cruise missile heats up
17 December, 2015
| BY: James Drew
| Washington DC
As the voices opposing America’s new nuclear-tipped cruise missile grow louder, recently-retired air force general Larry Spencer has rejected suggestions that cancelling the programme will inspire other nations to follow suit.

The former vice chief of staff, now president of the Air Force Association, tells US lawmakers in an open letter this week that the military requirement for nuclear-capable cruise missiles carried by strategic bombers has not diminished. In fact, allies might develop their own nuclear weapons for strategic deterrence in the absence of a strong US nuclear force, the letter suggests.

The air force wants to build at least 1,000 modern cruise missiles to replace the outdated AGM-86B air-launched cruise missile (ALCM), with the first production missile paired with the W80-4 nuclear warhead expected by 2025. While partly conceived for integration with the non-stealthy Boeing B-52, nuclear and non-nuclear variants will also be fielded on the new Long-Range Strike Bomber.

Asset Image

The air force has not disclosed whether the new cruise missile will be powered by a subsonic, supersonic or hypersonic engine.

USAF

This week, eight senators including presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders objected to the Long-Range Standoff (LRSO) weapon project in a letter to President Obama, arguing that maintaining conventional and nuclear variants could lead to “devastating miscalculations” and is a redundant capability.

“Outdated and unnecessary nuclear weapons are relics of the past,” the letter states.

Despite some opposition, LRSO has been funded in the Fiscal 2016 omnibus spending bill being considered by Congress. Funding levels were cut by $20.5 million to $16.1 million because of “execution delays,” just as bomber development funding has been halved because of delays awarding the contract won by Northrop Grumman in October.

LRSO is valued at upwards of $20 billion, including life-extension of the W80 thermonuclear warhead by the US National Nuclear Security Administration.

Asset Image

NNSA's W80-4 mechanical team at Sandia National Laboratories are pictured reviewing the results of recent thermal analysis.

NNSA

Hans Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists tell Flightglobal that Pentagon officials haven’t made a compelling case for building LRSO, over reliance on existing nuclear weapons in combination with the long-range, conventional AGM-158B Lockheed Martin Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Weapon (JASSM-ER) – which is currently being paired with the B-52.

“Instead, they argue for the LRSO as if they were back in the late-1970s arguing for the ALCM, ignoring the vast revolution in long-range conventional weapons that has happened in the meantime,” he says.

Lockheed received its 14th production contract for the JASSM cruise missile this week, bringing the total number ordered by the US military and international partners to 2,600. Of that figure, 140 were the new extended-range variant for the air force.

Many service officials have expressed that long-range weapons like JASSM-ER and LRSO are critical to dismantling modern, integrated air defences, since even stealth aircraft can be targeted by some sophisticated Russian and Chinese weaponry.

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Re: International Military Aviation - News and Discussion

Postby brar_w » 18 Dec 2015 18:48

^^

Bill Perry started off by admitting that he hasn’t been in the strategic discussion loop for well over a decade and there could be a perfectly legitimate discussion within those circles that endorse such a measure. 10 years ago, I would have agreed with his position, however looking out 10 years, there is really no way how you can oppose such a thing unless you are ideologically opposed to all deterrence (such as a Bernie Sanders position for example).
Lets look at the dynamics that gave rise to earlier positions, and the ones giving rise to current ones. The 70’s were the incubators of the third offset strategy and 80’s were when these technologies began to be deployed. There were concerns in the Soviet context that existed back then. How would the Soviet Union determine that a 1000+ km cruise missile launched from a submarine was conventional? How a 600 KM cruise missile flying low for survivability would be determined to be tactical and not nuclear? All these issues were addressed through both technology but more importantly through clearly stating the doctrine, and openly discussing tactics (creating transparency) so that each side was aware of the doctrinal context and could use it make command decisions.

Now however the long term threat is not Russia. It’s the rise of an economic and military power in China and the challenges it poses in the Pacific (for now) context. These challenges are guiding the new posture and hence the development of both the LRS-B, and the LRS-O. Aside from that the adversaries already have conventional versions of long range cruise missiles, the Russians have been launching them even in Syria, while the same debate essentially prohibited a conventional version of the ALCM in the past (to be upgraded and modernized). Russia seems to have no qualms in deploying long range cruise missiles from its aviation assets and I doubt China would either. But even if we ignore adversarial capability deployment (which we can’t for reasons I’ll discuss later) you have to look at the threat that the geographically spread targets pose to you. China has targets that are 1000’s of km inland and you can’t really develop an aircraft that is affordable enough to be able to penetrate 1000’s of km into heavily defended areas and kill its targets. Stealth allows you to penetrate IADS and target them, avoid them etc but it does not allow you to stay within 1000's of Km inside IADS perpetually while you reach your target.

That level of penetration will come from multiple options, one being cruise missiles, other being tactical conventional ballistic missiles (again, you have treaty concerns plus similar doctrinal issues), and the third being boost-glide weapons that you can keep under the 50% threshold for arms treaty concerns (pursue shorter range to comply with treaty obligations). Out of these options, the only one that is really palatable is the first one. While boost glide weapons will eventually be made and deployed as long as they are within treaty obligations they represent the highest technical challenge and therefore highest monetary cost none of which is particularly attractive to a policy maker looking to obtain both nuclear and conventional penetration capability inside of a decade. Then there are treaty obligations limiting boost glide ranges that would prohibit you from developing them for the ranges you can develop the LRSO. Moreover, a highly survivable long range air-deployed cruise missile (conventional and nuclear) allows legacy assets (that the USAF will retain till the 2040’s) to considerably increase the A2AD destruction capability of the B-2/LRS combination and in a nuclear role provide credible air-launched deterrence freeing up the highly survivable assets to more tactical missions. If one recalls the LRS-B debate internally between the USAF and the Congress, the USAF wanted to delay the Nuclear capability of the LRS-B to quite a far bit out simply because they saw this as a theater asset providing high level of capability against A2AD challenges (A2AD is not the same a IAD but much broader) while it was the Congress that wanted Nuclear capability to be added within 2 years of program IOC. The rabbit in the hat that they can pull is keep the LRS-B inside of treaty restrictions by simply limiting its Range but that remains to be seen.

For the last bit, there is political and military doctrine concerns that would be mutually share by all parties to sit down and develop doctrinal transparency on how these weapons are treated since there is a mutual incentive since all three parties that are likely to have issues (US, Russia and China) are either operating these weapons, or pursuing them. There is a strategic incentive for Russia to sit down with the US and develop a transparency mechanism whereby it does not see a long range conventional missile launched from the Middle East towards Iran (for example) as a threat to it, and vice versa (Russian bombers deploying long range conventional missiles from the air from locations that would put these weapons within reach of US troops). If it were a case of the US unilaterally pursuing such long range cruise missiles (conventional) I’d be worried but here the US is essentially brushing up a doctrine that IT ALLREADY HAD with the CALCM..a weapon that they had deployed in combat some 25 years ago

Strategically the LRS-B seems to be a highly puzzling but refreshing piece to the capability enhancement for the future Pacific threat. The AOC bosses will love it (unlike the B-2 which was to a large extent a pro-SAC asset), and it wouldn't be hard to imagine a day when even the US Navy loves it. But lets be clear about what the LRS-B is and what it isn't. Tactically, and doctrinally it is not just buying 100 (or more) modern day B-2's with modern day B-2 mission sets. What it buys you is a highly survivable, and flexible aircraft that when combined within a System of Systems approach allows you to counter A2AD deployments that now involve (soon will anyhow) maneuvering boost glide weapons, and what many see as the Chinese version of a modern day outer-air-battle concept. For this they will build a medium bomber (there is fairly broad consensus on this) and design it for both hard and soft kills (Directed energy and Electronic Warfare). They may even stay inside the 4000 or so nautical mile range (unrefueled) treaty obligation to have the flexibility to make lot more bombers than initially planned.

A lot of it is about long term strategic posturing as you transition from a purely COLD-WAR centered force, to a COLD WAR - COUNTER INSURGENCY and REGIONALLY deployable force to your new operational concepts which are essentially iterations of the Air-Sea Battle Concept (they keep changing the name while the concept essentially remains the same). Bob Work is the strategic brain when it comes to guidance on future long term planning and he has not mixed his words that they will be shifting to newer operational concepts just as they did post WW1, and post WW2 well into the cold-war. I expect a lot many other long term doctrinal concerns to prop up and be addressed by the policy makers. As left of launch capabilities are produced to counter ballistic missiles for example, doctrinal clarity needs to be addressed in the command structure. Such choices did not exist in the limited theater BMD level conflict where you could fend off tactical salvos from an Iraq or an Iran. While you can still do this now, the Pacific will see HUGE SALVOS that even the PAC3/THAAD net will find tough to defend against affordably ( 6 THAAD Launchers + 6 PAC3MSE launchers can provide 144 interceptors). Left of launch would therefore raise escalatory doctrinal concerns. Do you wait for the first salvo to send in boost glide weapons and hypersonics to take out the TEL's or C2C? Lets kick this up a notch, if your ships are being threatened significantly and there is a skirmish and the Command has clarity of intent on part of an opponent do you pursue left of launch capability and say take out satellite tracking capability of your opponent (a key component of any ASAT system), or anti-GPS denial hardware? That would have to be decided in the future as well as the third offset and the Air Sea battle concept begins to ratchet up the investment $$'s.

The LRSO concern however is rather easy to decide and even a Democrat in the White House supports its development and eventual deployment. Even if Obama had apposed it, the Congress would have put it right back into the budget.

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Re: International Military Aviation - News and Discussion

Postby Philip » 19 Dec 2015 09:50

The US shows China the upturned finger in the ICS!

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/d ... ds-flypast
South China Sea: US bomber angers Beijing with Spratly islands flypast
US Navy says its B-52 plane had no intention of flying so close to the Chinese-claimed Spratly archipelago in the South China Sea
:rotfl:
A Uniited States B-52 bomber mistakenly flew within two nautical miles of Chinese-claimed territory in the South China Sea last week, Pentagon officials said on Friday.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the incident involving the B-52 bomber took place last week near the Cuarteron Reef in the Spratly archipelago, disputed territory claimed by China and several of its neighbours.

Beijing claims the island chain is within China’s territorial borders. China has filed a formal complaint about the flypast with the US through the US embassy, prompting the Pentagon to look into the matter.
Japan steps up military presence in East China Sea
Read more

Navy Commander Bill Urban, a Pentagon spokesman, said the US regularly conducted B-52 training missions throughout the region but there was no plan for the B-52 to fly within 12 nautical miles of any artificial island.

“For this mission, there was no intention of flying to within 12 nautical miles,” Urban said. “The Chinese have raised concerns with us about the flight path of a recent mission,” he said. “We are looking into the matter.”

A unnamed senior US defense official told the Wall Street Journal that bad weather had contributed to the pilot flying off course and into the area claimed by China.

China has dramatically stepped up land reclamation work on reefs and atolls it claims in the Spratly island chain in the South China Sea in the past two years.

In October, a US Navy destroyer, the USS Lassen, sailed within 12 nautical miles of Subi reef to deliberately challenge China’s claims of territorial waters there, prompting Chinese patrol boats to issue a warning that further “provocative actions” might lead to accelerated Chinese construction in the area.

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Re: International Military Aviation - News and Discussion

Postby brar_w » 19 Dec 2015 18:14


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Re: International Military Aviation - News and Discussion

Postby shiv » 20 Dec 2015 06:37

Here is an old Mi 35 and Mi 26 promotional video I found in my archives
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWAqHl0Omgc

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Re: International Military Aviation - News and Discussion

Postby Zynda » 19 May 2016 16:33

SAAB unveiled the Gripen E in Apple iPhone style yesterday

Gripen E Debuts as Saab Reports Continued Interest in C Variants

LINKÖPING, Sweden — Saab executives hosting the rollout of the company's Gripen E fighter said they have a new customer in their sights, not for the latest version of the jet but the existing C variant.

Speaking to reporters ahead‎ of the rollout, Jerker Ahiqvist, the head of the Gripen program, said a deal with Slovakia for eight of the single-seat C variant of the Gripen was the nearest to being closed.

Confirmation of a deal‎ for the lease of new-build aircraft has been delayed by a recent general election in the central European nation but discussions between the Swedish and Slovakian governments continue.

Saab intends to continue upgrading and building the C/D version‎ alongside the more powerful E/F version capturing the attention at the rollout.


DEFENSE NEWS
Sweden Pitches Sale of Saab's Gripen-NG Fighter Jet to India

Speaking at the rollout, Saab CEO Hakan Buskhe said that the company would be integrating some of the capabilities from the E development into the earlier version.

Company officials said there is still plenty of interest in the C/D variant among those nations that don't require the additional range, more weapons and sensors, and other capabilities offered by the Gripen E making it's debut Wednesday.

Croatia, Bulgaria and maybe even Botswana, if media reports are to be believed, are among the possible customers for a jet already flown by the Swedish Air Force and four others nation as well as Britain's Empire Test Pilots School.

Swedish Air Force chief Maj. Gen. Mats Helgesson said no decision had yet been made about whether the aircraft would be sold on the second-hand market.

The Swedish jets are receiving an extensive update known‎ as MS20, the centerpiece of which is the introduction of the potent Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile made by MBDA and also destined to be operated onboard Rafale, Typhoon and F-35 jets.

The star of the show here Wednesday though was the Gripen E.

The aircraft has already secured deals for 60 aircraft from Sweden and a further 36 machines for the Brazilian Air Force, including eight twin-seat F versions.

A further two batches of ai‎rcraft are expected to be ordered by Brazil, although the timing is unclear.

‎India, Finland, Belgium, Switzerlan and Columbia are some of the possible customers for a jet that Saab reckons is among the most effective and affordable available.


DEFENSE NEWS
Swedish-Finn Alliance May Influence Fighter Choice

If the flags adorning the Gripen E hangar were anything to go by, Mexico,‎ Chile, Uruguay, Peru and Canada are also possible targets for Saab.

Buskhe told the audience that Gripen interest is at an all-time high among potential customers.

The Saab boss said the company had "focused on quality, performance and even capped the cost curve" on fighter development costs with Gripen.

The Gripen E test aircraft being rolled out Wednesday is expected to make its maiden flight around the end of the year.

Swedish Air Force E's are scheduled to reach initial operating capability in 2023 with full capability set for three years later.


Image

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Re: International Military Aviation - News and Discussion

Postby brar_w » 19 May 2016 17:02

That last part in BOLD is very interesting. For years SAAB marketing has been comparing their NG/E version to the F-35A Block 3 capability when their own full Capability E won’t get fielded with the primary operator until the middle of the next decade. Its rather disingenuous to compare a 2018 capability of one aircraft, with a 2026 capability of another.

By the middle of the next decade the F-35 would have fielded a majority of its Increment Block 4 capability, including hardware (NG T/R module upgrades, EOTS-NG, new SATCOM, etc) and software upgrades and would have multiple newer weapons fully integrated (ASRAAM, Meteor (possibly), AARGM-ER, SDB II, Block II Aim-9X, JASSM-ER and other UAI compatible weapons).

By 2026 they may also field 6 internal AMRAAM capability.

http://i.imgur.com/SKSuldO.png

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Re: International Military Aviation - News and Discussion

Postby shiv » 23 May 2016 18:43

https://twitter.com/WarfareWW/status/734750090313764865
@WarfareWW #Iraqi AF Cessna AC-208 planes carrying 2x AGM-114 Hellfires carried out 3 air strikes.Total cost ~$300k

Image

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Re: International Military Aviation - News and Discussion

Postby Dennis » 23 May 2016 19:19


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Re: International Military Aviation - News and Discussion

Postby Austin » 24 May 2016 08:11

US spy plane flew ‘dangerously close’ to passenger jets near Russian border – MoD

A US defense attache has been summoned by Russia's Defense Ministry after an incident over the Sea of Japan near Russia's eastern borders, where an American spy plane was detected flying too close to civilian aircraft.

Russia's air defense detected an RC-135 spy plane belonging to US Air Force on Sunday, the ministry said in its statement. The plane was on an air reconnaissance mission with all of its transponders having been shut off, it added.The US crew had not provided any information regarding its flight to air traffic controllers in the region, despite it flying at the same altitude as scheduled civil aviation flights.


“As the result of the unprofessional actions of the American plane crew, the hazard of a collision with civil aviation planes was created," Russia's Defense Ministry said, adding that it asked the US official to take measures to prevent such incidents from happening near Russia's borders in the future.

At least two passenger jets belonging to major European airlines were endangered by the then-unknown aircraft over the neutral waters of the Sea of Japan on Sunday, Interfax reported.

The "unknown aircraft" was flying at the altitude of some 11,000 meters (36,000 feet) and did not respond to air traffic control, the agency said citing its source. Russian air controllers had to immediately change the flight path of a KLM Boeing-777, which was in the same region en route from Japan to Holland.

Pilots from another airplane, operated by Swiss airlines, heading to Switzerland from Japan, even reported "visual contact with a large four-engine aircraft, which was in direct proximity to their plane" and sent no recognition signals, the source said. The flying altitude for the Swiss jet also had to be changed by the air traffic control.

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Re: International Military Aviation - News and Discussion

Postby brar_w » 26 May 2016 18:23

GE' F414-GE-400 engine selected for South Korea KF-X fighter program

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According to the korean news agency Yonhap, the U.S. company General Electric (GE) was selected on Thursday as the preferred bidder to supply engines for South Korea's next-generation fighter jets, Seoul's state arms procurement agency said. GE has been picked as the supplier for the Korean Fighter Experimental (KF-X) program, according to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).



European engine maker Eurojet Turbo GmbH and GE had been vying to become the engine provider for the 18 trillion won (US$15.3 billion) project that calls for building 120 locally made twin-engine combat jets.
Seoul aims to deploy the new planes starting in the mid-2020s to replace its aging jet fleet of F-4s and F-5s.

The DAPA said that it plans to clinch a contract with GE next month after holding negotiations over the terms of the deal.

It earlier said that it will seek to finalize the basic designs for the plane by September next year and come up with a detailed design by January 2019.

As part of efforts to push for the project, the DAPA last month selected domestic defense manufacturer Hanwha Thales as a preferred bidder to produce an advanced radar system to be installed onto the fighter jets.

South Korea had initially planned to secure 25 fighter jet technologies from U.S. aerospace giant Lockheed Martin in an offset deal linked to Seoul's purchase of the company's 40 F-35 Lightning II fighters in 2014.

But the U.S. government refused last year to approve the export of four core technologies, forcing South Korea to find an alternative supplier or build them in-house.

The four technologies are those linked to an active electronically scanned radar array, infrared search and tracking system, electronics optics targeting pod and a radio frequency jammer.

South Korea has been speeding up the development of its home-grown missile defense systems set to be completed by 2023 -- Kill Chain and Korean Air and Missile Defense -- which could detect and intercept missiles coming from North Korea


brar_w
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Re: International Military Aviation - News and Discussion

Postby brar_w » 26 May 2016 19:04

Machine Learning Key To Automatic Target Recognition

Artificial intelligence (AI), or at least algorithmic capabilities that come under that heading, are coming to the cockpit to help combat pilots assimilate the growing flow of information from sensors onboard and offboard their aircraft.

DARPA’s Target Recognition and Adaption in Contested Environments (TRACE) program is using recent advances in machine learning to automatically locate and identify targets in synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) images. The goal is to identify targets more quickly than pilots can using their cockpit displays, allowing them to spend more time maintaining situational awareness throughout an attack.

Strike operations against relocatable targets require pilots, or unmanned aircraft operators, to visually identify the target before releasing weapons. Radar imaging provides greater standoff distance and safety, but adversaries can still use decoys and background traffic to confuse both the pilot and current template-based automatic target recognition (ATR) systems, resulting in a high false-alarm rate.“Normally, the system lays down a SAR map and the pilot figures out where the surface-to-air missile system or tank is in the image. That can take 3-4 min. At 500-600 kt. that means he is 20 mi. away by the time he decides,” says John Gorman, DARPA’s TRACE program manager. “We are introducing processing algorithms to locate and identify potential targets in a 3-sec. time line versus 4 min.”

Existing ATR algorithms also require computing resources too large for tactical aircraft, the agency says, requiring processing offboard in remote ground stations or drastically reduced onboard performance. The TRACE goal is to develop a real-time, low-false-alarm-rate, low-processing-power target recognition system that can be colocated with the radar on tactical aircraft to provide long-range targeting of air defenses.

“We want to take the cognitive burden off the human so they can make decisions quicker,” says Gorman. The automated system will not take over the selection of targets and release of weapons from the pilot or operator. “It will nominate targets; the human will decide,” he stresses. “This will allow the pilot to maintain situational awareness while responding to targets or threats.”

BAE Systems is already using artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve the performance of automatic targeting systems. One research effort takes information from an airborne sensor looking at the ground and tries to determine the difference between a school bus and a mobile missile launcher. If traditional technology were to be applied to the problem, the assessment could require scores of templates for every possible vehicle, but it could still be confused or identify the wrong target.
One of the things we are doing is operating more like a brain,” says Joshua Niedzwiecki, director of BAE’s sensor processing and exploitation research and development group, which comprises 200 researchers and engineers. “Even though a person hasn’t seen every variant of every train, the brain knows that certain characteristics—such as a track or certain steel wheels—help [it] infer that it is a train,” he says.

The company has been investing in AI and machine-learning technology to enhance its sensors in the past 5-6 years, Niedzwiecki says. Some of the technologies are mature enough to leave the laboratory and make their way into a mature system, though he cannot discuss them.

DARPA’s TRACE is a 48-month program. Four performers are nine months into the 24-month first phase, in which they are developing advanced algorithms and designing a low-power, real-time radar target recognition system. The 18-month second phase will improve the algorithms and demonstrate them in flight on a low-power, high-performance processor: DARPA’s goal is a 3-lb., 20-watt onboard box versus a 100-lb., 1-kW ground station, says Gorman.

The Phase 1 performers are Arlington, Virginia-based “big data” startup Deep Learning Analytics; major defense contractor Leidos; Woburn, Massachusetts-based sensor and information processing specialist Systems and Technology Research; and sensor and electronics developer Teledyne Scientific and Imaging. They are each working on different approaches to signal and image processing, he says.

The program is leveraging advances in system-on-chip computing architectures that can provide 25-50 gigaflops/watt versus 2-3 for conventional multicore CPU (central processing unit) architectures. Additionally, DARPA’s Power Efficiency Revolution For Embedded Computing Technologies (Perfect) program is developing hardware and software design for processing architectures capable of 75 gigaflops/watt.

Lockheed Martin is working with the performers, as a goal is to port the DARPA-developed TRACE algorithms onto the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter using the Open Mission System (OMS) standard. OMS is a software “wrapper” that will allow new capabilities to be integrated more rapidly onto the F-35. “We want to open it up to other developers and break the vendor lock,” says Gorman.

TRACE’s ultimate goal is to demonstrate real-time identification of stationary targets using 1-ft.-resolution SAR imagery. “We need better algorithms with lower false-alarm rates and more accuracy that run faster on low-power hardware,” says Gorman. “And they need be adaptive, so if they do not see the exact thing—say it is a new upgrade or emergent target—they can still recognize it.”


Rapidly learning to identify new targets with sparse training data is an important aspect of TRACE. “We do not have 4 million faces on Google to train the system on,” he says. Model-based and transfer learning techniques will be key. Model-based learning uses 3-D modeling of targets to train the system. Transfer learning leverages similarity to identify a new target by its resemblance to an existing vehicle. “If it’s 80% the same, say the chassis or the turret, it will recognize it as a new variant,” Gorman says.

BAE is also working on expanding machine learning for target recognition to different sensor domains. For example, Niedzwiecki says, the system could see a tank with an imaging sensor and then determine its type by listening to radio-frequency emissions from the target. “We use multisensor fusion to help inform our decision-making by combining what you get for capability out of one sensor to a different discriminating capability out of another,” he says.

The company is also bringing machine learning to bear on increasing concerns about enemy jamming of communications, particularly airborne tactical data links. BAE has been working with DARPA on the CommEx (Communications Under Extreme RF Spectrum Conditions) program. This uses algorithms to identify interference and select a way to mitigate it, by canceling, avoiding, tolerating or duping the jamming. The system is capable of adapting and learning new responses.

CommEx is already transitioning to the customer, with the Pentagon decision to integrate the capability into the Link 16 program of record as an upgrade to protect the widely used tactical data link from jamming. “This is the first step toward a bigger vision of dynamically controlling the electromagnetic spectrum in a contested environment,” says DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar. “We want to use machine learning to monitor, understand and adapt in real time.”

NRao
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Re: International Military Aviation - News and Discussion

Postby NRao » 26 May 2016 19:48

A data point on the running topic of OV-10 and A-10.

Boeing to develop advanced mission system for Paramount multi-role aircraft

Paramount is a direct competitor to the OV. This in 2016.

Image

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Re: International Military Aviation - News and Discussion

Postby NRao » 26 May 2016 20:50

Slightly dated.

BAE Systems reveals futuristic ’human skin’ concept for aircraft

Engineers have developed a human-like skin for aircraft which can detect damage and sense the world as it flies through the sky. The smart skin is embedded with tiny sensors the size of rice grains that could be sprayed on existing aircraft like paint, making it far more accurate than current sensor technology.

Researchers at BAE System's Advanced Technology Centre are currently investigating the advanced concept, which embeds tens of thousands of micro-sensors directly into the aircraft skin. The smart skin will allow the aircraft to 'feel' wind speed and temperature as well as physical strain on the aircraft.

According to the company, the technology allows aircraft to monitor their health and report back any potential problems before they become significant. As a result, it would reduce the need for regular check-ups on the ground and parts could be replaced in a timely manner which would improve safety overall.

The tiny sensors are called 'motes' and can be as small as grains of rice or even dust particles at less than a millimetre across. The sensors have their own power source and would be paired with software that allows them to communicate among themselves, similar to how human skin sends signals to the brain.

BAE Systems says it is exploring several methods to apply the skin including spraying them on like paint. This method would allow the sensors to be applied to existing aircraft without significant modifications.

A spokesman told airforce-technology that it could be another ten years before we see the technology on aircraft like the company's secret stealth drone Taranis. "It is still very much in the research phase," said the Advanced Technology Centre representative.

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Re: International Military Aviation - News and Discussion

Postby brar_w » 26 May 2016 23:19

More on the South Korean KF-X from Aviation Week (AWIN)



South Korea Chooses GE To Power KF-X



BEIJING—General Electric has won the competition to supply engines for the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) KF-X fighter, beating rival Eurojet for a program that may require more than 300 combat turbofans.
The choice of the General Electric F414-GE-400 ensures that exports of the KF-X will be subject to a U.S. veto, a situation that some South Korean politicians and aerospace executives wanted to avoid. Since that issue is now settled, chances for U.S. suppliers of other systems should rise.

But South Korean content will be high. For example, Hanwha Thales was chosen this month to develop the cockpit display system, following the same company’s selection for the radar.

An affiliate of Hanwha Thales, leading South Korean propulsion company Hanwha Techwin, will take on a progressively increasing role in building the F414, says the country’s arms procurement agency, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).

South Korea began full-scale development of the KF-X early this year, planning to acquire 120 of the twin-engine aircraft between 2026 and 2032. Indonesia has agreed to pay for 20% of the development costs and, according to media reports in that country and South Korea, wants to buy around 50 KF-Xs. That implies about 340 engines, not counting spares or export sales of the fighter.

DAPA, the air force, KAI and Hanwha Techwin evaluated the engine proposals.
Announcing their decision, DAPA said GE’s F414 offer had been the winner in all categories of assessment over theEJ200 from Eurojet, a consortium of Rolls-Royce, MTU, Avio and ITP.

Of the total assessment points, 26.7% was allocated to cost, 33.3% to technical issues such as performance, 24.7% to opportunities for domestic production, and 15.4% on “management,” including terms and conditions and technology transfer.

In a first stage, GE will supply 10 complete F414s and then all the parts for two more that Hanwha Techwin will assemble, DAPA says. Following that, the South Korean company will build F414s with some locally made parts. That is unlikely to ever lead to complete South Korean fabrication, since GE would not want to hand over all of the technology even if Seoul were willing to pay for facilities to make all the parts.

GE said last year that South Korea could build 70% of the F414 if it chose.


The U.S. company has been able to point to a record of successful cooperation with South Korea, not to mention other countries that have chosen the F414 and related the F404 engine for indigenously developed fighters and high-performance trainers. The repeated experience in integration was probably a factor: the two engine types have been fitted to an extraordinary total of 14 different airframes, including the KAI T-50 family of trainers and light-attack aircraft, which uses the F404.

A Eurojet advantage was that the EJ200 was free from U.S. content and therefore offered the KF-X a potentially larger export market.

In the end, Washington’s right of export veto may have been seen as unavoidable, since the air force has a strong preference for U.S. weapons. The KF-X will have to be offered with them, at least until South Korean industry can develop a sufficient range of substitutes.

GE offered the version of the F414 that it calls the F414 Enhanced Engine, which generates 18% more thrust than the current version’s 22,000 lb. in the static, sea-level condition. It is not clear whether South Korea has taken that option.
The KF-X concept design chosen for development was stated in 2013 to have a gross weight of 24.9 metric tons (55,000 lb.). If that figure still holds, even during a full-load takeoff the two F414 Enhanced Engines would provide a thrust-to-weight ratio of 0.94.

Hanwha Thales beat LiG Nex1 for the radar and display-system contracts.




With the USN being offered a host of more ‘realistic’ upgrades to the F-18E/F with Boeing’s strategy evolving from Our Adv Shornet is As Good as the F-35 to Our Advanced Super Hornet offers economical complementary capability to the F-35C there is a strong possibility of a multi-nation collaboration to jointly fund the EPE/EDE changes. A combined market of 1000+ aircraft could potentially benefit from such an enhanced upgrade path.

Boeing Pushing For New Engines, Advanced Cockpit on Super Hornets, Growlers


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