January 27, 2013

Tada...Chinese copied version of C-17 Globemaster is here

Successfully first test flight for the new Chinese large military transport aircraft Xian Y-20


China on Saturday, January 26, 2013, conducted a successful test flight of its new domestically made large military transport aircraft Y-20. The plane took off at around 2:00pm from an airport in Yanliang, northwest China's Shaanxi Province, according to CCTV News.

As a large and multi-role transport aircraft, the Y-20 can carry out long-range transportation missions even under complicated weather conditions. The Y-20 was developed by Xi’an Aircraft Industry, a subsidiary of China’s leading military aircraft maker, the Aviation Industry Corporation of China.

The successful test flight is a significant boost to China’s capabilities in national defense, rescue and relief work, and humanitarian aid. Reports say more tests are planned.

The Y-20 program is part of an effort to develop an indigenous long-range jet-powered heavy transport aircraft, a top priority in China's "Medium- and Long-Term National Science and Technology Development Program (2006-20)" (MLP).

Earlier reports said it's able to accommodate most large PLA combat and support vehicles, including the Type 99 series tanks, with a capacity to carry up to 66 tons of goods. 

HAL to hand over 2 Rudra helicopters to Indian Army during Aero India 2013

The Indian Army will be handed over the first two weapon system integrated (WSI) version of Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH-Mk-IV) Rudra, during Aero India 2013.
Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) chairman R K Tyagi told Express that Rudra will also be available for customer demonstration flights during the show. "Rudra will definitely add more teeth to Indian Army and we will roll out more production units to the squadron," he said.
Express had earlier reported that around 70 Rudras will fly out of HAL to meet Army's initial requirements.

"In addition to the redundant flight critical systems, IR suppressor, armour panels, crashworthy features and self-sealing fuel tanks enhance the survivability of the helicopter in the battlefield environment," Tyagi said.
Rudra can carry a mix of weapons providing it with capability to search and destroy any target. Systems like electro-optic pod, helmet-mounted sight and fixed sight facilitating firing of the onboard weapons (20 mm turret gun, 70mm rockets and Air-to-Air missiles), makes it an unforgiving machine.

He said Rudra's rigid rotors have extremely high agility and manoeuvrability. With its high-powered engine, the chopper can undertake missions up to altitudes of six km. "With such capabilities, Rudra is unmatched in the world, in its class," claims Tyagi.
He confirmed that HAL has plans to integrate additional new systems on Rudra, including infra-red jammer, data link, obstacle avoidance system (for Army), wire cutter (for IAF) and NBC (Nuclear Biological and Chemical) sensors.

When asked about ALH Dhruv's (earlier version of Rudra) export status, Tyagi said three more countries have shown interest in these choppers.
Over 130 Dhruv helicopters are in operation now, with Indian Army flying 110 and 12 with Indian civil operators.
Ecuador, Nepal, Mauritius and Maldives also operate Dhruv choppers.

January 24, 2013

Russia will loan to Bangladesh $1 billion to purchase Russian-made arms and military equipment

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday, January 15, 2013, his country will loan Bangladesh $1 billion to purchase Russian-made arms and military equipment. Bangladesh is likely to use the money to buy MiG-29SMT fighter jets, upgrade an earlier batch of MiG-29s and purchase BTR-80 armored vehicles and Mi-171 military helicopters, the official Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported.

Announcement of the loan came during talks between Putin and Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheik Hasina in Moscow.

In addition to the arms contract, Russia will also grant a loan worth USD 500 million to Bangladesh for the construction of a nuclear power plant in northwestern Ruppur.

"We will not only provide the most up-to-date technology. ...but also provide financial support for the construction of the nuclear power plant at the initial stage," Putin said.

The head of Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, Sergei Kiriyenko, said technical and environmental assessments would be carried out this year for the plant, which is to have two 1,000-megawatt reactors and will be completed in the early 2020s.

Energy-starved Bangladesh signed an initial deal with Russian state-owned nuclear agency Rosatom in November, 2011, to build a nuclear plant with two 1,000 megawatt reactors at a cost of upto USD 2 billion each against the backdrop of its dwindling reserve of natural gas.

January 21, 2013

Russian fifth-generation Sukhoi-T-50 fighter aircraft completes first long range flight

Russia's prototype fifth-generation Sukhoi T-50 fighter jet has carried out its first long-range flight during the transfer from a manufacturing plant in Russia’s Far East to an assigned airfield near Moscow, deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said on Thursday, January 17, 2013.

“It is a serious breakthrough! The plane flew 7,000 kilometers (4,350 miles), making two landings, in Abakan and Chelyabinsk, on the way to the Russian capital,” Rogozin, who oversees the Russian defense industry, wrote in his Twitter blog.

The plane joined three other T-50 prototype models at the Zhukovsky airfield prior to state flight tests, which are scheduled to start in March 2013. The fifth prototype aircraft is being built at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur factory in Siberia.

The T-50, also known as project PAK-FA, first flew in January 2010 and was presented to the public at the Moscow Air Show in 2011.

The Russian Defense Ministry is planning to finish the state flight tests of eight prototypes by 2015, so that they could go into standard production in 2016.

The T-50, which will be the core of Russia's future fighter fleet, is a fifth-generation multirole fighter aircraft featuring elements of ‘stealth’ technology, super-maneuverability, super-cruise capability (supersonic flight without use of afterburner), and an advanced avionics suite including an X-band active phased-array radar

January 19, 2013

Russian air force puts secret X-38 air-to-surface missile into service

 click on image to enlarge

The Russian Air Force has put the advanced X-38 air-to-surface missile into service. Although the short-range missile was developed for the T-50 fifth generation fighter jet, the existing bombers and fighter jets, including Su-34 and MiG-29 CMT will be equipped with these missiles.

The missile was tested in great secrecy in 2012, and was commissioned in late December. The delivery of missiles will be started shortly. The new missile will be equipped with independently guided warheads. This solves various tasks and increases the striking power of T-50 multipurpose fighter jets. The missiles will be placed inside the jet that is being developed using stealth technology, says editor-in-chief of the “Nezavisimoe Voennoe Obozrenie” magazine Victor Litovkin.

“A fighter jet may have special characteristics, including non-visibility to radar and other detecting equipment, but it is just an aircraft. But when it is equipped with high-precision guided missiles, this is a high-precision aviation complex. That can be considered a fifth generation fighter jet. The fact, that the missile on board the jet increases its low visibility,” Victor Litovkin said.
The missile will not reflect on the radar screen. It has another advanced feature. It can orient itself during the flight using the GLONASS space navigation system. The recent armed conflicts, including in Afghanistan and the Middle East have shown that it is difficult to discover targets from air even with the guidance from the ground because advanced camouflaging systems have been developed. These missiles will be guided to the target by a GLONASS satellite, says Victor Litovkin.

January 18, 2013

Republic of Korea Navy commissions First of Class "Incheon" FFX I Frigate

Republic of Korea Navy commissioned on 17 January 2013 the first of its next next generation FFX I class Frigate. The ship was by Hyundai Heavy Industry and is expected to replace the aging fleet of Pohang class corvettes and Ulsan class frigates, and take over multi-role operations such as coast patrol or anti-submarine warfare.

The class will be built in several batches. Six vessels will be built as Batch I (similar to head of class Incheon), eight Frigates will be built as Batch II by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, and Batch III is also planned for the future.

Batch I vessels are reported to displace 2,500 tons with a length of 114 meters and a beam of 14 meters. The main gun is 127mm similar type to those used by the US Navy. For defense, the Incheon is fitted with a RIM-116 RAM launcher as well as a Phalanx CIWS. The class is also fitted with four SSM-700K Hae Sung I anti-ship missiles.

It is expected that Batch II vessels will receive VLS cells for long range SAMs and the locally built Hyunmoo-3 land attack cruise missile. No design specifics have been released yet however, regarding Batch II vessels.

January 16, 2013

January 14, 2013

British stealth drone to undergo first test flight

It can fly faster than the speed of sound, cannot be detected by radar and has no pilot. This is the new robotic plane that will become the next generation of front line bombers for the British military.
The drone, which is named Taranis after the Celtic god of thunder, has been designed to fly intercontinental missions to attack targets and can automatically dodge incoming missiles.
The aircraft, which has cost £125 million to build, is intended to be the first of a new generation of aeroplanes that will reduce the need to risk human lives on long, dangerous missions.
It is to be flown for the first time in a series of tests over the Australian outback in the spring in an attempt to demonstrate the technology to military chiefs.
Currently the Royal Air Force uses Tornado GR4 bombers as its front line strike aircraft, although the Typhoon Eurofighter is expected to replace it in the coming years.

January 12, 2013

Pakistan navy and Saudi Navy Naseem Al Bahr X

 The current commander of the RSNF, Vice Admiral Dakheel-Allah Bin Ahmad Bin Mohammad Al-Wakadani, is also a graduate of Pakistan Naval Academy and reserves a special place for his alma mater.

The RSNF has now come of age and taken its rightful place in guarding the maritime interests of KSA. Despite its exposure to naval exercises with the most advanced navies of the world, the RSNF holds PN in high esteem. Naseem Al Bahar (NAB) is a biennial exercise, which was evolved as manifestation of the unique Pak-Saudi interpersonal relationship and mutual resolve to enhance bilateral cooperation in facing the common challenges.

Scheduled from January 12 to 22, 2013, the joint exercise is not merely based on physical manoeuvres of various surface, aerial and sub-surface naval platforms, but involve the entire gamut of maritime operations; planning, executing and drawing lessons from NAB-X

Philippine Coast Guard to receive 10 patrol boats from Japan

MANILA, Philippines–The Philippine Coast Guard is set to hire some 300 new personnel to man 10 new patrol boats expected to arrive from Japan.
PCG spokesman Commander Armand Balilo said they would prioritize applicants who would fit the qualifications of those who will man the new acquisitions.

“We need to recruit people with maritime-related courses such as marine engineers and marine navigation course. But we would also be needing technical experts such as those who have mechanical, welding and electrical skills or background,” said Balilo.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario discussed with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, during the latter’s visit early this week, a loan agreement for the Philippines’ procurement of 10 multi-role response vessels for the Coast Guard.

The new patrol vessels, which are expected to arrive in 2014, are expected to boost the country’s territorial defense in the West Philippine Sea.
PCG usually accepts applicants who finished even non-maritime-related courses.
“But we should now prepare for our new assets. We should prepare the right people or the crew and asset management team who would be in charge of our new vessels’ maintenance,” Balilo explained.
He added that they have one year to hire the needed personnel, who would be assigned for deck operation, navigation, gunnery and engineering.

Those who would be selected would undergo one-year training on board the new ships.

January 11, 2013

Russia’s defense steps up in aerospace missiles

After shutting down production of the S-300 missile defense system, Russia is moving to equip its new S-400 and S-500 systems with hypersonic missiles. A shortage of more advanced missiles, however, stands in the way of the Ministry of Defense’s plans.

Russia is planning to open two major plants to produce much-needed advanced hypersonic missiles, but experts suggest that the country will be unable to counter a massive NATO attack for the next 10 years.

By 2014, Russia will launch two major plants to produce the 77N6-N and 77N6-N1 hypersonic missiles for its state-of-the-art anti-missile defense systems – S-400 “Triumph” and S-500 “Prometheus.”

The Ministry of Defense has officially announced that, “with these missiles, surface-to-air missile systems will be able to bring down any target flying at a speed of up to 7 kilometers per second, including nuclear warheads of ballistic missiles.”
The S-500 system has yet to be completed, while its S-400 predecessor can currently launch the older 48N6 and 9M96 missiles.

The 77N6-N and 77N6-N1 models will be the first Russian missiles with inert warheads, which can destroy nuclear warheads by force of impact (i.e., by hitting them with precision at great speed). No explosives are needed: engineers’ estimates show that a collision at a speed of 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) per second would be sure to destroy just about any flying object.

The new plants are vital for the development of an anti-missile shield above Russia, since new surface-to-air systems are already entering service unequipped with new missiles.
For now, the “Triumph” (S-400) defense system is complete with missiles that have been left over from the old S-300 systems. Their range is around 124 miles, whereas the S-400s are designed to intercept targets at a distance of about 250 miles.
The absence of more advanced missiles stands in the way of fully equipping Russia’s Air Forces and Aerospace Defense Forces with the S-400 systems. Only seven divisions have been supplied with such systems since 2007, with another 49 waiting to receive them, according to official data.
The missile shortage became even worse after production of the old S-300 systems was halted completely.
“The last S-300 was produced for the Russian army in 1994 or so,” says Igor Ashurbeili, co-chairman of an expert council on aerospace defense and former chief designer at the Russian defense company Almaz-Antey. “Since then, Russia has only produced these systems for sale. But now even export orders for the S-300s have been suspended.”
Indeed, Moscow turned down a contract with Iran back in 2010, losing $800 million. Production was completely shut down after rolling out the last S-300 division intended for export, which is to be supplied to Algeria soon. One of the problems faced by the Russian defense industry is that it stopped accepting orders for the S-300s, but has not started to take orders for the S-400s, says Ashurbeili.
The design of S-400 missiles has not been completed either. The system should be fully compatible with short-, medium- and long-range missiles. Presently, however, only short-range missiles intended for hitting targets within 95 miles have been designed without problems. Medium-range missiles (up to 155 miles) are still “raw,” and their design needs to be finalized.

The long-range missiles are non-existent, even though such a missile would be a serious hindrance to potential enemy vehicles, including Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS). Without these missiles, the S-400 cannot fulfill its purpose – engaging targets at a long range.
As for the future S-500 system, it will be an S-400 with long-range missiles, according to Alexanderf Khramchikhin, deputy director of the Institute for Political and Military Analysis.

“The S-500s will at best be created in 2020 – no earlier. At present, and for the next 10 years, the chances of countering a massive NATO attack are very low: it takes a long time to recharge the S-300s, so, in the best case, they will only repel the first wave of an assault, which would be 100 to 200 targets,” says Khramchikhin.

Military expert Vladislav Shurygin agrees with Khramchikhin. “For now, the S-500 is an ephemeral dream, and no one knows if it will ever come true,” he said. 
Even though the S-300s need to be replaced, there is simply no replacement for them. This is why Almaz-Antey is faced with some very important tasks. “Handling them will determine the future not only of the anti-missile defense system, but also of the country as a whole,” says Shurygin. The company is still capable of manufacturing high-quality products, but it needs to modernize its technologies and refurbish its production facilities quickly.

In other words, the production of modern aerospace defense weaponry is a comprehensive task which requires major technological innovations and modernization of existing production facilities.

January 8, 2013

US drone found off Philippines

Drone such as these are used for air target practice

PHILIPPINE navy officials say a suspected American drone has been found floating in the ocean, prompting them to deploy a ship with ordnance experts after fishermen reported the object may have been a bomb. 
The three-metre orange BQM-74e drone marked "Navy" was found by a Filipino diver and fishermen off Masbate Island on Sunday and has been turned over to local navy authorities, Philippine navy officer Captain Jason Rommel Galang said, adding it was not clear why the unmanned aerial vehicle ended up off Masbate.

US Embassy spokeswoman Bettina Malone said efforts were under way to determine if the drone was one of those used in American military air target training exercises and why it was in the waters off Masbate, about 380 kilometres southeast of Manila. The type of drone found was not armed and not used for surveillance, she said.

Masbate is in a region where communist guerrillas have a presence. US counter-terrorism troops, who are barred from local combat, have used surveillance drones to help Filipino soldiers track down al-Qaeda-linked extremists in the country's south.
At least two US drones have been reported to have crashed and were recovered by villagers in the past on southern Mindanao island.

January 7, 2013

Satellites Spot China’s Mysterious New Warplane - Y 20 ?

Y-20 is almost the same as Boeing-made C-17, blueprints of which China obtained several years ago through a spy working for the Chicago-based plane manufacturer.

The Y-20 at Yanliang on Jan. 1. Photo: GeoEye GeoEye 1
Y-20 at Yanliang on Dec. 25. Photo: GeoEye IKONOS

Reverse Engineering and copying at its best. Why don't they copy democracy from other countries

Hongdu JL-8 Karakorum-8 of the North Sudan Air Force

January 3, 2013

Sea trials for nuke submarine INS Arihant set to begin soon

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Indian Navy's nuclear submarine INS Arihant (destroyer of enemy) appears to be caught up in a significant development after a delay that led to the extension of sea trial timeline set for the boat.

It is believed that the reactor will go critical, setting the stage for sea trial sometime in the first half of next year. Admiral Joshi said harbour acceptance trials for the under development boat have been completed.

With the reactor going critical, Arihant would be taken to the sea for elaborate trials. Joshi's predecessor Nirmal Verma had earlier hinted that India's strategic ambition of having a credible nuclear triad would be in place by the end of this year.

But there has been a delay and the sea trials are expected to begin only next year. The reactor's performance will be tested in various stages, including firing of weapons and operations in the depth of the ocean. If everything remained in place, the submarine is expected to be ready for induction by 2014.

It will be one of the most significant achievements of India's submarine building capability.The submarine will be fitted with K-15 submarine launched ballistic missile which is under development. The trials of 700 km K-15 missile have already been carried out. While Arihant's induction is being eagerly awaited, the navy has fully integrated recently acquired Akula class submarine from Russia.

 Indian navy had earlier inducted INS Chakra nuclear powered submarine

Russia Unveils New Army Field Uniform

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