March 31, 2014

USAF Refuses to Comment on New Aircraft Spotted Flying Over Amarillo, Texas

Mystery Aircraft Over Texas

The identity of what appears to be a blended wing-body aircraft type photographed over Amarillo, Texas, on March 10 remains uncertain, with the U.S. Air Force declining any comment on the aircraft.
Three aircraft were observed flying in formation southwest of Amarillo around 4:20 p.m. CDT, by photographers on the fence line of the city’s international airport. IbOne of the aircraft could be a B-2, but the clearest color photos and monochrome images enhanced (for contrast and resolution) with commercial software suggest a blended shape with a straight trailing edge. Steve Douglass, one of the photographers and an experienced aircraft observer, says the aircraft were “larger than fighter-size” and appeared similar in wingspan to commercial traffic.

The formation was not using Mode S transponders, according to a review of records at the Flightradar24 air-traffic-tracking site. Radio transmissions apparently associated with the flight were intercepted and recorded, possibly including the call sign “Sienna.”

An Air Force representative in Washington responded to queries about the aircraft, and about flight activities at that time and place, with the statement “I have nothing for you,” a phrase long associated with responses to queries about classified programs and operations. The 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman AFB, Mo., home of the Air Force’s B-2 fleet, says that none of its aircraft were operating near Amarillo on March 10. However, test units have also flown B-2s.

The fact that three aircraft were in formation suggests an aircraft that is operational or close to reaching that status. The unidentified aircraft are not likely to have been examples of the Northrop Grumman stealth reconnaissance drone known as the RQ-180 (AW&ST Dec. 9, 2013, p. 20) because unmanned air systems are seldom flown in formation of any kind. Likewise, the Lockheed Martin demonstrator that is reportedly being built to support the Long Range Strike-Bomber program is likely to be a one-off product.

For a closer look at the images and more about the photographing of these and other classified aircraft, check out Bill Sweetman’s post on Ares at:

Space plane X-37B sets new endurance record

The X-37B, a secretive space plane developed by the defense Department, has shattered the space flight endurance record for these vehicle designs.

The Orbital Test Vehicle 3 (OTV-3) mission is the third long-endurance trip to space. The launch, payload, and data collected by the space plane are highly-classified.

An X-37B was launched on 11 December 2012, and remains in space. On 26 March, the craft surpassed the endurance record of 469 days, set by the same model of space plane on a previous mission.

Read more:

China opens 2014 campaign with secretive satellite launch

Although China have taken three months to launch their first satellite of 2014, the pace will soon pick up, with at least 18 launches expected throughout the remainder of the year.

The Chinese finally opened their 2014 campaign with the launch of a Shijian-11 class satellite. A Chang Zheng 2C (Long March 2C) rocket lofted a mysterious satellite – understood to be part of the Shijian-11 series of early warning satellites - from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center’s 603 launch pad at the LC43 launch complex at 02:58 UTC.

Chinese Launch:

This is the sixth in a series of satellites that – according to the Chinese media – are only known to be “experimental satellites” developed by the DongFangHong Satellite Company of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp.As with the previous Shijian-11 satellites, the true mission of Shijian 11-06 was not revealed by the Chinese authorities. However, some observers noted that the Shijian-11 series could be related to a constellation of operational early warning satellites.

‘Shijian’ means ‘Practice’ and this series of satellites have been used in a variety of configurations and missions for scientific research and technological experiments.Shijian 11-06 will probably take the place of the first satellite in the series, a spacecraft that was launched almost five years ago.

That first Shijian-11 satellite (36088 2009-061A) was launched at 02:45 UTC on November 12, 2009 by the Long March-2C (Y21) from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. This was followed by the second satellite, ShiJian 11-03 (37730 2011-030A), which was lofted into orbit at 04:28 UTC on July 6, 2011, once again by the Long March-2C (Y25) and also from Jiuquan.Shijian 11-02 (37765 2011-039A) was the third satellite, launched at 07:42 UTC on July 29, 2011 from Jiuquan by the Long March-2C (Y24) launch vehicle. Shijian 11-04 was lost the following August 18 on a rare Long March-2C mishap, although Shijian 11-05 (39202 2013-035A) was successfully launched on July 15, 2013 also by a Long March-2C (Y23) out of Jiuquan.

All satellites operate in typical 705 by 690 km, 98.1 degrees orbits.The Chang Zheng 2C (Long March 2C) is a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) launch vehicle derived from DF-5 ICBM. It can be launched from either the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center or the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center.

The rocket is a two stage hypergolic launch vehicle with a total length of 35.15 meters, a diameter of 3.35 meters and a total mass of 192,000 kg. The first stage is equipped with four YF-20A engines. Is has a length of 20.52 meters and a burn time of 122 seconds.

The second stage is equipped with one YF-22A engine, and has a length of 7.50 meters with a burn time of 130 seconds.This launch was the 202nd Chinese orbital launch and the 201st launch of the Long March launch vehicle family. It was also the 64th orbital launch from the Jiuquan Satellite launch Center.

The Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, also known as the Shuang Cheng Tze launch center, was the first Chinese satellite launch center.The site includes a Technical Center, two Launch Complexes, Mission Command and Control Center, Launch Control Center, propellant fueling systems, tracking and communication systems, gas supply systems, weather forecast systems, and logistic support systems.

USAF’s third AEHF satellite begins transmitting

he US Air Force (USAF) has successfully shipped the third advanced extremely high frequency (AEHF) communication satellite to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) in Florida, US.
Delivered in collaboration with AEHF prime contractor Lockheed Martin aboard a C-5 Galaxy aircraft, the satellite will now undergo final launch preparations, including encapsulation in the rocket's payload fairing, and transport to CCAFS's Launch Complex 41 for integration with the launch vehicle in the next several months.

The satellite is scheduled to be launched aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle in September 2013.
A follow-on to USAF's Milstar system, AEHF is the next generation of protected military satellite communications system designed to provide enhanced global, survivable, protected communications for the US warfighters and its allied militaries, including the UK, Canada and Netherlands.

apable of operating at 44GHz uplink and 20GHz downlink, the satellites can transmit communications to and from users using an array of narrow spot beams directed towards the Earth, and feature phased array antennas that can block out potential jamming sources.
Besides a contract for production and delivery of four AEHF satellites along with mission control segment, Lockheed also secured a $1.9bn contract for the development and delivery of the fifth and sixth AEHF satellites in January this year.

The initial two AEHF satellites were successfully launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, US, in August 2010 and May 2012 respectively.

Led by Lockheed, the AEHF team includes the US Air Force Military Satellite Communications Systems Directorate, which is a part of the USAFs Space and Missile Systems Center, and Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems as satellites' communications payloads provider.

British forces to join Nato wargames

RAF Typhoon jets are already pressed in service for patrolling over the Baltic states, led by Poland.

British troops will take part in wargames in the Baltics in order to reassure Ukraine in the face of a potential Russian invasion, the British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has said.

He also said that Britain would stand by its Nato allies as he warned Russia may attempt to seize more territory.

North Korea stages live-fire military drill prompts South to return fire

North Korea has fired artillery shells into South Korean waters, apparently in reaction to military exercises being conducted between the U.S. and South Korea.Seoul responded immediately on Monday by shelling North Korean waters. Officials say no shells hit any land areas on either side and no one was injured. South Korean officials said some residents of border islands were evacuated to shelters as a precaution.

The North in recent weeks has increased threatening rhetoric and conducted a series of rocket and ballistic missile launches into waters off the west coast of the Korean peninsula.Pyongyang threatened on Sunday to conduct what it called "a new form of nuclear test" after the U.N. Security Council condemned the North's recent ballistic missile launches.

A statement Sunday from the North's Foreign Ministry said it was intolerable that the Security Council would "turn a blind eye" to U.S. nuclear war exercises while denouncing the North Korean army's self-defensive rocket launch exercises.After North Korea fired two medium-range ballistic missiles into the sea off the east coast of the Korean peninsula Wednesday, the Security Council condemned the launches the next day, saying they violated U.N. resolutions.

Pyongyang routinely calls military drills between South Korea and the U.S. a rehearsal for invasion.

Singapore and Indian Armies Conduct Tenth Bilateral Armour Exercise

Source:Singapore MinDef

The Singapore Army and the Indian Army are conducting Exercise Bold Kurukshetra, a bilateral armour exercise from 1 to 31 March 2014. This year's exercise is the tenth in its series involving 690 soldiers from the Singapore Army and Indian Army. As part of the exercise, the two armies executed integrated manoeuvres and engaged in joint planning and training.

A highlight of this year's exercise was the integrated live-firing by armoured fighting vehicles from both armies. Commenting on the success of the exercise, Commanding Officer of the 42nd Battalion of the Singapore Armoured Regiment Lieutenant Colonel Ng Wei How said, "the rich exchanges and joint training with the Indian Army in Exercise Bold Kurukshetra 2014 have enhanced bilateral coordination and interoperability between the two armies."

Exercise Bold Kurukshetra is conducted under the ambit of the Bilateral Agreement for Joint Army Training and Exercises between the Singapore and Indian armies. This exercise underscores the warm defence relationship between both countries. Both defence establishments also interact regularly through high-level visits, policy dialogues, courses, seminars and other professional exchanges.

USCG Receives Ninth Fast Response Cutter

The 154 foot patrol craft KATHLEEN MOORE is the ninth vessel in the Coast Guard’s Sentinel-class FRC program. To build the FRC, Bollinger used a proven, in-service parent craft design based on the Damen Stan Patrol Boat 4708.  It has a flank speed of 28 knots, state of the art command, control, communications and computer technology, and a stern launch system for the vessels 26 foot cutter boat.  The FRC has been described as an operational “game changer,” by senior Coast Guard officials.

The Coast Guard took delivery on March 28, 2014 in Key West, Florida and is scheduled to commission the vessel in Key West, Florida during May, 2014.

Indian Air Force upgrades first air base near Pakistan under Modernization of Airfield Infrastructure (MAFI) project

Pilot project for Modernisation of Airfield Infrastructure (MAFI) was commissioned at Air Force Station Bhisiana (Bhatinda) by Air Marshal RK Sharma.

IAF's MAFI project involves modernising operationally important airfields to let the aircraft operate in almost all weather and visibility conditions.

Tata Power (SED) in consotium with Raytheon, Northrop Grumman - US, Park Air Systems, Norway; Moog Fernau, UK; MTech Systems, Australia; Terma, Denmark and IDMAN, Finland are working on MAFI project as per a contract signed in Mar 2011 to modernize thirty operationally important Indian Air Force airfields. 

The MAFI project includes installation and integration of CAT II Instrument Landing System (ILS), CAT II Air Field Lighting System, Automated Air Traffic Management System, Distance Measuring Equipments (High and Low Power), Doppler VHF Omni-Directional Radio Range (DVOR), Tactical Air Navigation (TACAN) and associated infrastructure. In this project, all the navigational aids will be of international standards meeting the ICAO specifications. The up-gradation of navigational aids and infrastructure under the MAFI project would enhance the operational capability by facilitating air operations of military and civil aircraft even in poor visibility conditions/adverse weather while enhancing Aerospace Safety.

Russian Navy's project 12700 minesweeper

Translated from Russian:

Aleksandrit, which is a milestone in shipbuilding to have fiber helmet largest built in one piece glass,5--protivominnyj-korabl-proekta-12700.html

Thales and Qatar Armed Forces to Develop Optionally Piloted Aircraft

The Optionally Piloted Vehicle – Aircraft (OPV-A) to be developed is a hybrid between a conventional aircraft and an unmanned aircraft system (UAS). It is able to fly with or without a pilot on board the aircraft.

Thales officials have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Qatar Armed Forces to assist in the development of an Optionally Piloted Vehicle – Aircraft (OPV-A), a high-performance intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) system, and the delivery of an end-to-end training solution.

The OPV-A airframe, to be selected by the Qatar Armed Forces, will be integrated with a mission systems capability to enable the optionally piloted capability.The Optionally Piloted Vehicle – Aircraft (OPV-A) to be developed is a hybrid between a conventional aircraft and an unmanned aircraft system (UAS). It is able to fly with or without a pilot on board the aircraft.

Unimpeded by a human’s physiological limitations, an OPV is able to operate under more adverse conditions and/or for greater endurance times than manned aircraft. Retaining on-board controls, the OPV can operate as a conventional aircraft during missions for which direct human control is preferred or desired as an immediate option.

“This is an exciting prospect that Thales is looking forward to developing with the Qatar Armed Forces. Our experience in mission systems and unmanned air vehicles will provide Qatar with a world leading solution. ” - Victor Chavez, CEO of Thales UK

March 30, 2014

Turkish Government Begins Leak Investigation to Find Person (Spy) Who Put Classified War Planning Conversations on YouTube

Who will upload Turkish soap operas to Youtube now?

Zaporizhzhia Submarine returned back to Ukraine by Russians after it was found to be obsolete

On March 22nd 2014 Russia had seized Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia Submarine

Russian sailor removes Ukrainian navy emblem 

Canada signs $105 million Bell helicopter deal with Philippines

Canada has signed a $105 million contract with the Philippines to supply eight military helicopters made by Bell Helicopter Textron Canada, a unit of Textron Inc TXT.N, Canadian International Trade Minister Ed Fast said on Friday.

The contract was negotiated under a memorandum of understanding between the Philippines military and Ottawa's government-to-government contracting organization, the Canadian Commercial Corp.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that memorandum during his visit to Manila in November 2012. The choppers are to be made in Quebec over the next two years.

Cassidian Optronics receives 40m€ order to deliver optronic equipment for army vehicles

Cassidian Optronics GmbH, a subsidiary of Airbus Defence and Space, has received an order valued at more than 40 million euros from Krauss-Maffei Wegmann GmbH & Co. KG and Rheinmetall Defence Electronics GmbH, for the supply of vision equipment. The optical and optronic equipment will be integrated into Leopard 2 A7+ battle tanks and PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzers operated by customers in the Middle East region.

Till von Westerman, head of the “Ground” activities at Cassidian Optronics GmbH, assessed the significance of the order: “With this order, Cassidian Optronics continues to be the leading supplier of stabilised periscopes and weapon optronics sensors for the entire Leopard family. We view this as recognition of the performance of our products which we continuously improve to increase safety and effectiveness.” The equipment supplied for the battle tanks includes, amongst other items, the PERI RTWL commander’s periscope (RTWL = abbreviation for all round view, day, heat, laser), the sensors for the EMES 15 gunner’s sight as well as the FERO Z18 auxiliary sighting telescope. For the PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzers, Cassidian Optronics is supplying the gunner’s sight and the commander’s periscope. For indirect targeting, if the gun laying sensors fail, the R19 panoramic periscope with 4x magnification is supplied. All vehicles are equipped with the Spectus driver’s vision device.

The PERI RTWL stabilised commander’s periscope contains a third-generation Attica thermal imaging unit, a daylight camera as well as an eye-safe laser range-finder. If a target has been acquired with the PERI RTWL periscope, the data can be sent to the battle tank’s EMES 15 fire control system. For the EMES 15 system, Cassidian Optronics supplies the Attica thermal imaging unit and parts of the daylight optics as well as the laser range-finder. Working together with the fire control system, these sensors ensure very precise targeting and a high probability of the first shot hitting the target.

With the Spectus multi-spectral driver’s vision device, images from an uncooled, high-resolution thermal imaging unit are seamlessly overlayed with images from a camera supporting twilight use, to create a more multi-layered image whether for daytime, night time or for restricted visibility use.

Finland says no to acquisition of Army Tactical Missile System (ATacMS) from United States

Budgetary reasons and high unit price for a relatively old system cited

Wikipedia Photo  : Army Tactical Missile System (ATacMS)

Finland has announced that it will not carry out the planned acquisition of tactical missiles from the United States for roughly one hundred million euros. Manufactured by Lockheed Martin, the army tactical missile system (ATacMS) missiles are surface-to-surface missiles fired from launchers.

The missiles have a range of up to 300 kilometres.

However the stinger missile deal is likely to go thru

Blackbox of Indian Air Force C-130J sent to US for decoding data

The black box of the C-130J transport aircraft that crashed on Friday has suffered damage and the Air Force has sent it to the US to seek the assistance of its manufacturer Lockheed Martin in decoding the data, IAF officials said today.

The connectors of the Flight Data Recorder or the black box are damaged along with the card inside the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR)."To avoid any loss of data while trying to decode the equipment, we have decided to send the black box to the US," an IAF spokesperson said here.

The black box was sent by an early morning flight today to Lockheed Martin, he said.The delay in decoding the black box data would also mean a delay in determining the cause of the crash, he said.The IAF had stated on Friday that it would come out with a preliminary report on the reasons behind the mishap in 24 hours.

The aircraft had apparently hit a hillock before crashing on the rocky surface on the banks of Chambal river near Gwalior.India had recently inducted six C-130J Super Hercules aircraft, which were bought from the US at a cost of around Rs. 5,780 crore (USD 962 million) four years ago.The home base of the 77 squadron 'Veiled Vipers' operating the aircraft is Hindon in Ghaziabad near here.

On the demands of the IAF, the Indian Defence Ministry recently placed orders for six more such aircraft from the US.

Developing Nuclear Fusion in a Basement with a Reclusive Gunsmith

Troops might be able to replace those heavy night vision goggles strapped to their helmets and replace them with contact lenses

University of Michigan Scientists Develop Night Vision Contact Lens

Troops might be able to replace those heavy night vision goggles strapped to their helmets and replace them with contact lenses.
The University of Michigan has developed a prototype contact lens that enhances night vision by placing a thin strip of graphene between layers of glass. The graphene — a form of carbon — reacts to photons, which makes dark images look brighter.

The development of the lens still has quite a ways to go before soldiers can scrap those heavy goggles. Right now the graphene only absorbs 2.3 percent of the light. Those percentages have to rise before true night vision can be achieved.Ted Norris and Zhaohui Zhong of Michigan’s College of Engineering are the ones who have developed the prototype.

This technology is not limited to a contact lens. The developers said the graphene could be incorporated into windshields and amplify night vision while driving.According to reports, the U.S. Army has already shown interest in the technology.

Arrival of 3 Killers Which Equips Kilo Submarine of Vietnamese Navy

First and second submarines of Vietnamese Navy : HQ-182 Hanoi and HQ-183 Ho Chi Minh (photo : tuoitre)

Vietnamese Navy's six Kilo submarines will not be equipped with VA-111 Shkval super torpedo as people have previously speculated . Instead, in 2009, Vietnam has decided to buy two types of Russian anti-submarine torpedoes, anti-ship 53-65 and anti-submarine torpedoes TEST 71.

The information above has been Research Institute Stockholm International Peace (SIPRI) revealed on 17/3.According to SIPRI, the two torpedo  53-65 and TEST 71 will be combined with the type of anti-ship cruise missiles 3M-54 Klub to form a trio of powerful offensive weapon for the diesel-electric submarines of the Vietnamese Navy's Kilo submarines.All three main weapons on this Kilo Vietnam have been ordered since 2009 as part of a deal to buy six Kilo-class submarines, and are expected to be completed in 2016.

Type 53-65 is considered quite modern torpedoes, are able to detect and attack targets at 19 km distances (photo : weaponsystems)

SIPRI's report showed that Vietnam has ordered a total of 50 in anti-ship cruise missiles launched from submarines 3M-54 Klub, 80 anti-ship torpedo 53-65 and 80 anti-ship/anti-submarine TEST-71 torpedo.

Torpedo TEST-71M-NK with range 20 km will equip for Vietnamese Navy's Kilo (photo : alrosa)

In addition to the initial prototype, was developed TEST-71  4 variant is more TEST 71M,  TEST 71MK, TEST 71ME-NK and TEST 3. Among them, only variations TEST 71ME-NK is capable of versatile attack (both surface ships and submarines), therefore, there is high possibility this is also the variant torpedo TEST 71 Vietnamese Navy subscribe to Kilo.TEST-71ME-NK  has 533 mm diameter, 7.93 m long, weight 1.820 kg; warhead weighs 205 kg and has a great advantage is equipped with 2 fuses different: it needs to target (acoustics and magnetic field) and hit explosion. Torpedo operations are controlled by wireless remote, semi-active probes and transducers for sonar target detection range up to 1.5 km.

TEST-71ME-NK propulsion system is equipped with 2 dual propeller, 48km/h cruise speed and increased to 74 km/h in the final stages, 20 km long range attack at a depth of up to 400m.Also 2 torpedo attack on the key, Vietnamese Kilo also will be equipped with cruise missiles, most powerful and now most modern in Russia the 3M-54 Klub. According to the SIPRI Vietnam received 50/80 missiles.

Two torpedo TEST 71 and 53-65 combined with 3M-54 Klub missiles with range 200 km, constitute the 3 perfect weapon for Vietnamese Kilo (photo : ausairpower)

3M-54E missiles has 8.22 m long, 0.53 m diameter, weight 2.300 kg, fitted armor piercing warhead weighs 200 kg explosive fragmentation. Rocket can reach cruising speed of Mach 2.9 (nearly 3 times faster the speed of sound), a range of 200 km.3M-54E probe integrated navigation ARGS-54 active radar target detection is of nearly 60 km. That is the way target range of 60 km, the rocket ammo will automatically detect, catch and target key grip without interference from the launch vehicle.

Glonass-M satellite launched from Plesetsk

The Space and Air Defense Forces successfully launched a Soyuz-2.1b launcher. The launch took place at 22:54 on March 23, 2014 UTC (02:54 on March 24, 2014 MSK) from the launch pad No. 4 of the launch complex No. 43 of the Plesetsk test site. The launcher and the Fregat boost stage successfully delivered into orbit a new navigation satellite of the Glonass-M type.

The Glonass-M satellite with internal number 54 was designated Cosmos-2491. It received international designation 2014-012A and NORAD IS 39620.

According to the Reshetnev Design Bureau, the satellite will be deployed in point 18 of the 3rd plane of the Glonass constellation.Previous successful Glonass launch took place in April 2013. An attempt to launch three Glonass satellites in July 2013 was unsuccessful due to a failure of the Proton launcher.

As of March 24, 2014 the Glonass constellation includes 24 functioning satellites with three additional satellites in reserve and one undergoing flight tests.

China's military expenditure 1999-2013

Here is a chart showing China's military expenditure vs treasury income vs GDP from 1999 to 2013.

Over this period, the military expenditure has generally been between 1.2% to 1.5% of the GDP and 9.5% to 5.5% of the treasury income. so in real RMB terms, military expenditure has not gone up as a percentage of GDP. In comparison to the treasury income, military expenditure has decreased a lot due to improved tax collection in China.

The question is why the military expenditure has remained steady when the reported year to year increased is greater than GDP growth. The answer seems to be that GDP is inflation adjusted whereas military expenditure is not. There are 3 other charts similar to this which shows military expenditures going back to 1950. Seems like China maintained higher military expenditure % (4.5% to 9%) up until when Deng Xiaoping took over in 1978. After which, PLA saw its spending vs GDP drop all the way to 1% in the mid 90s. Now, China's definition of military expenditure can be different from that of the west, so there is no reason to compare China to Japan or US here. 

French Warship FS Alizé Passed Through Bosphorus

French Warship FS Alizé Passed Through Bosphorus to take part in joint sea rescue exercises in Bulgaria.

Photos: Mr. Kerim Bozkurt

Turkish Company BMC delivers 25 Kirpi 4x4 MRAP armoured vehicles to Turkish army

Manufacturer BMC earlier in 2012-13 had failed to deliver these MRAP vehicles. In Feb 2014, Turkish Government had seized the firm from indebted Turkish holding Çukurova.

Vehicle manufacturer BMC has finally delivered 25 Kirpi MRAP armored vehicles and 25 military trucks to the Turkish army. 

The Izmir-based vehicle manufacturer, which was seized by the state fund last year due to the debts of its former owner Çukurova Group, appears to be rising to its feet at last, after failing to fulfill its responsibilities for months due to heavy financial constraints. 

DARPA taps Boeing to build satellite-launching aircraft

Many satellites may no longer require expensive booster rockets in order to be launched into space if the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is successful in its plan to launch satellites from aircraft.
DARPA recently awarded a contract potentially worth $104 million to Boeing to build and demonstrate a low-cost airborne launching system for small satellites in support of the Airborne Launch Assist Space Access (ALASA) program. The announcement was made in a posting on the Federal Business Opportunities website.
The goal of the ALASA program is to develop a significantly cheaper alternative for the routine launching of small satellites, and is aimed at reducing the cost to a third of a conventional satellite launch. A single small satellite payload can cost upwards of $30,000 per pound to launch into space, and often takes up payload space in multi-payload launchers.
The program centers on the use of aircraft-based launches to improve performance, reduce range costs and allow more frequent missions. By using aircraft, satellite launches would no longer require wait times for launch windows, and would also be resilient to hazards associated with fixed launch sites. Additionally, satellites could be launched from any commercial, international runway, reducing preparation times and providing launch point offset – that is, launch direction limits imposed by geography at fixed-base launch facilities would no longer be an issue.
The program seeks to launch 100-pound satellites for less than $1 million total, under the assumption of a total of 36 launches. Boeing will eventually have to demonstrate 12 independent launches of 100 pound payloads into low-Earth-orbit.

Russia to complete technical inspection of "confiscated" Ukrainian ships by 2014 year end

The technical inspection of Ukrainian naval units that joined the Russian Black Sea Fleet will be completed by the end of 2014 published by the news agency RIA Novosti (RN).

According to a source within the Black Sea Fleet of the process is going to last a reasonable time, but the Fleet Administration hopes will be completed by the end of 2014.

The source also said that so far the most operationally ready units, of art, are the Corvettes: Ternopil (U209), Lutsk (U205) and K hmelnitsky . Other vessels in a high state of readiness is the ship convoy Slavutich as well as two landing ships the Kostyantyn Olshansky and Kirovograd.

Regarding the operational readiness of Ternopil, the ship had been prepared to develop in April in the sea of ​​Aden where would perform patrols to tackle piracy. The Black Sea Fleet, had his doubts about the operational status of several ships at anchor in the Bay of Sevastopol Streletskaya, including minelayer.

These ships have made several trips to the open sea where we have some doubts about the navigability the source added.

March 29, 2014

Russian air force ground test facility in naval aviation Eyske

Israeli firm - Elbit Systems - bags P368-M deal to supply artillery to Philippines Army

Elbit Systems Land and C41, a defense material manufacturer based in Israel, won the bid to supply the Army more than P368 million worth of artillery, a source privy to the bidding said.

“Elbit offers P368,837,332 for 12 pieces of 155 Howitzer canons with accessories and ammunition,” beating Bosnian firm BNT, the source said.The second conference that concluded with the choosing of the winning bid was held in Camp Aguinaldo.

The defense department’s Bids and Awards Committee for the project is led by Assistant Secretary Efren Fernandez.Elbit offered its Athos howitzer system.

Bids for the contract were opened on December 5 last year, following a pre-bid conference on November 22.

US Navy decommissions USS Miami

Putin gives green light to sale of S-400 missile system to China

Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, has given a green light to sell the country's newest S-400 air defense guided missile system to China, which Russian media claim will give Beijing an edge in the airspace of the Taiwan Strait and over islands in the East China Sea at the center of a dispute with Japan, reports the military news website of, the Chinese-language website of China's Global Times.

Beijing has been interested in acquiring the guided missile system since 2011. Two years ago, Russia talked with several countries interested in buying the system but was forced to suspend negotiations in order to ensure its supply to the Russian military, the general manager of a Russian national defense export company told Russian newspaper Kommersant in January this year. Export sales of the system may not begin until 2016.

Talk of a potential deal with China drew concerns from Russian security officials who worried that it may not only affect the supply of the system to Russia's own military but also that China could back-engineer the technology to produce its own systems. The system's manufacturer Almaz-Antei has eased the former concerns by delivering the first batch of the system. Moscow also announced a plan in January to build three new plants for the contractor in order to build more air defense and anti-guided missile systems. An intellectual property rights agreement that China and Russia signed with regard to the arms trade has also come into effect.  

Though in what volume China wishes to acquire the S-400 system is unclear, Kommersant's source said China wants enough systems to equip two to four battalions. The People's Liberation Army has already obtained an air defense guided missile system and another command system from Russian and deployed them in the defense of Beijing and Shanghai, according to the paper, which estimated that the country would be able to control the airspace over Taiwan and the disputed Diaoyutai islands (Diaoyu to China, Senkaku to Japan).

Ukraine: Defending the Homeland

India’s Military Chief - General Bikram Singh - Concludes Visit to Israel

During the course of his visit, General Singh met with the IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Benjamin “Benny” Gantz and the Commander of IDF Ground Forces, Major General Guy Tzur. These meetings focused on the close military cooperation between Israel and India. The military chief also toured Israeli military bases, where he was briefed on the operational procedures of the Ground Forces.

During his stay, General Singh visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum, where he laid a wreath in memory of Holocaust victims. He also laid a wreath in the Indian War Cemetery in Jerusalem in honor of Indian soldiers.

PLA to tighten cyberspace security after reports of US hacking

Main karoon toh saala Character Dheela hai

The Chinese military will increase cyberspace security after reports of US cyber espionage against China, defense ministry spokesperson Geng Yansheng said on Thursday.

"The reports of US surveillance activities targeting Chinese government departments, companies and individuals reflects US hypocrisy and hegemony," Geng Yansheng said at a monthly briefing on Thursday.

On Saturday, the New York Times and German magazine Der Spiegel reported that the US had spied on Chinese telecoms firm Huawei, citing classified documents provided to journalists by former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.Der Spiegel also reported that the NSA was targeting China's political leadership.

Geng said that while US accusations of China's cyber espionage had been proven to be "sheer fiction," the Chinese military will take substantive and effective measures to prevent falling victim to such hacking itself.

Phillipines Department of National Defense (DND) Weighs Options on P3-b Radar

American FPS-117

Elta ELM 2288 Radar
 The Department of National Defense is looking at two options in its plan to purchase three units of Long-Range Surveillance Radar which the Philippine Air Force needs.The radar units will be fitted into  the lead-in training fighter jets  the DND  will buy from South Korea.

The radar units will cost P3 billion or a little more and it’s all up to the Defense officials to decide whether US or Israeli firms will firm up the contract.The planned acquisition came after   President Benigno Aquino III earmarked a P75-billion budget to make Defense and military equipment meet  the “minimum credible defense”.

The US is offering its TPS-77 model which is very similar to the FPS-117 the American are using.But the DND and PAF are also considering the Israel-made Elta ELM 2288 Radar system.

MBDA Anti-Ship missile: UK and France sign contract for Anti-Ship Missile

Contract for FASGW(H)/ANL (Future Anti Surface Guided Weapon (Heavy)/ Anti Navire Léger)  worth  £500 million.

Royal Navy’s AW159 Lynx Wildcat with new missile

This jointly funded Anglo-French contract for developing a Anti-Ship Missile, valued at more than £500 million has been awarded to MBDA by the UK and French and UK MODs and will be managed as part of MBDA’s Team Complex Weapons Portfolio.

This Contract will also benefit the capability and export potential of those European helicopter platforms which will integrate the FASGW(H)/ANL system over the coming years.

FASGW(H)/ANL will equip the Royal Navy’s AW159 Lynx Wildcat helicopters and the French Navy’s maritime helicopters. Weighing around 100kg, this modern primarily anti-ship missile will destroy from safe stand-off ranges vessels ranging from FIAC (Fast Inshore Attack Craft), through medium sized FAC (Fast Attack Craft) up to large vessels such as Corvettes. This missile also has a surface attack capability against coastal and land targets.

Pentagon and DARPA plans to seed ocean floor with payloads waiting to be activated

By Joey Cheng:

Sensors, drones and other devices can be a great help to U.S. forces at sea, but not if forces get caught in a situation without them. That’s why the military is planning to plant them in potential trouble spots ahead of time, and have them wait on the ocean floor to be called into action.

The program is called the Upward Falling Payloads (UFP) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is preparing for Phase 2 and Phase 3, according to a pre-solicitation notice. The distributed systems would be remotely activated when needed and recalled to the surface by “falling upward.”

The project is a part of an effort to develop low-cost, unmanned and distributed systems in response to the limits imposed by costs and complexity in working in forward operating areas.

“The UFP approach averts solutions to deploy technology from legacy platforms or to grow the complexity and reach of unmanned systems,” DARPA said in its announcement. “Instead, the approach centers on pre-deploying deep-ocean nodes years in advance in forward areas which can be commanded from standoff to deliver a wide range of unmanned and distributed systems to the sub-surface, surface and air.”

March 28, 2014

Philippines DND, suppliers to sign multi-billion contracts for trainer jets, attack choppers

Finally lot of long pending defense deals for Philippines Armed forces go through. Multi Range fighter and Long Range Surveillance Radar System next on the acquisition wishlist.

The Philippines Department of National Defense (DND) will be signing on Friday contracts with suppliers for the manufacture of 12 training jet fighters worth P18.9 billion and 8 attack helicopters worth P4.8 billion.The defense materials are all intended for use by the Philippine Air Force (PAF).

South Korea’s Korean Aerospace Inc. (KAI) will be supplying FA50 jets and the Canadian Commercial Corp. will manufacture Bell 412 combat utility helicopters.President Benigno Aquino III had approved a total amount of P75 billion for the DND and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to achieve at least a “minimum credible defense” in the face of China’s aggressive incursions in the West Philippine Sea where it illegally posting Philippine territories.

In an interview, PAF spokesman Col. Miguel Ernesto Okol said the acquisition of the FA50s is a good start to enhance the present air capability of PAF.“Well, the FA50s will greatly enhance our air defense capability. This would signal the start of our territorial defense initiatives so that brings us closer to what we want to attain, what we plan to achieve which is the minimum credible defense. Definitely, this is a positive start towards that end,” he said.

But Okol said the acquisition of the FA50s does not stop there because the aircrafts are just training fighter jets.“Eventually we will be acquiring multirole fighter (MRF) jets when the time comes, and that is another level of territorial defense,” Okol said.

With the FA50s, the DND has yet to decide which Long Range Surveillance Radar System it will buy, whether the United States-made TPS-77 or the Israel-made ELM 2288.PAF is planning to acquire 3 radar units worth about P3 billion for the country’s air defense and to also fit with the FA50s.“The radars provide situational awareness so they look far beyond the horizon to see if somebody is infringing on our territorial sovereignty. The maritime patrol aircraft, the long range patrol aircraft are the ones looking into our maritime domain awareness,” Okol said.The DND is also eyeing the purchase of 4 anti-submarine helicopters worth P5.4 billion for its BRP Gregorio del Pilar and BRP Ramon Alcaraz, two 47-year-old decommissioned Hamilton-class cutters the Philippine Navy acquired from the US Coast Guard.

The helicopters, AW 159 “Wildcat”, are manufactured by Augusta Westland.

Kazakhstan halts Russian missile tests on its land after rocket crash

Kazakhstan said on Friday it had suspended rocket and missile tests by Russia at military testing sites rented by Moscow on Kazakh territory after a Russian rocket crashed near a village.A meteorological rocket of the MN-300 type was launched from the Kapustin Yar testing site in Russia early on Thursday, Kazakhstan's Defence Ministry said, but exploded near the village of Shungai in the West Kazakhstan Region.

No casualties or serious damage were reported, the ministry said. It quoted Russia's Defence Ministry as blaming the incident on a failure of the rocket's engine system which prevented it reaching a targeted testing ground in Kazakhstan."The Defence Ministry of Kazakhstan has suspended tests at military fields rented by Russia on the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan until the causes of the incident have been clarified," the Kazakh ministry said in a statement.

The Soviet-era Kapustin Yar test site, in use since the late 1940s, sprawls from Russia's southern Astrakhan Region to Kazakhstan's Atyrau and West Kazakhstan regions. It tests various types of missiles and rockets, including intercontinental ballistic missiles.Russia and Kazakhstan have close political and economic ties, but several botched launches of Russian rockets have caused tensions in the past.

Last July Kazakhstan temporarily banned all launches of Russia's Proton cargo rockets from the Baikonur cosmodrome rented by Moscow after a rocket of this type carrying three navigation satellites crashed shortly after lift-off.That accident led to a large spill of heptyl, a highly toxic rocket propellant, but there were no reports of casualties.

US Navy's most advanced command and control aircraft joins fleet in Norfolk

Digital quarterback of Air warfare

Credit: Jason Walsh
NORFOLK -- The Navy's newest advanced Hawkeye, an early warning command and control platform, officially joins the fleet.

Airborne Early Warning Squadron One Twenty Five, the "Tigertails," is the first squadron to become fully operational with the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye. Built by Northrop Grumman, the company calls the aircraft a "digital quarterback" to conduct sophisticated, concurrent battle management command and control for the Navy.

Missions can include airborne strike, ground force support, rescue operations and managing a reliable communications network capable of supporting drug interdiction operations. The use of its new glass cockpit and tactical fourth operator display provides the five-person crew unparalleled flexibility in successfully accomplishing these diverse missions, the Navy said.

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