Wednesday, December 29, 2010

China's 5th Generation Fighter Exposed?

Reports coming form internet sites in China have published images of a large, stealth-like aircraft that, if confirmed, could be the first hard evidence of China's new 5th Genaration multirole aircraft. The images show the parked aircraft being inspected, and taxiing along a taxiway. Analysts in the West accepted the images with some doubts, due to the Chinese' in displaying imaginary 'facts' but the photos released today seem genuine. recent reports coming from China mention Chengdu has recently completed two J-20 technology demonstrator aircraft sofar, one model will be used for the test flights and another one will be used for ground testing.

The development of such program was known for some time but has never officially attributed to a specific type or maker. In 2009 deputy commander of the People's Liberation Army Air Force He Weirong stated in a TV interview that China had multiple such programs underway and that an as-yet-undesignated fifth-generation fighter developed jointly by Chengdu Aircraft Corporation and Shenyang Aircraft Corporation would be in service by 2017-2019. According to U.S. intelligence assessments Chinese 5th generation aircraft could become operational by the turn of the decade.

"The impression here is of a big, long aircraft, 70+ feet from nose to tail, which would make sense for a number of reasons. Rob Hewson at Jane's has reported that Russia has supplied 32,000-pound thrust 117S engines for the J-20, which would be adequate for an aircraft in the 80,000 pound class - with perhaps lower supercruise performance and agility than an F-22, but with larger weapon bays and more fuel" writes aerospace analyst Bill Sweetman, editor of Aviation Week/DTI. Chinese sources have claimed that production aircraft will be powered by two 13,200kg/WS-10 class high thrust turbofan engines, coupled with Thrust Vector Controlled (TVC) nozzles both made in China. Russian assistance has been speculated with the supply of 14,000kg class Salyut 99M2 turbofan engines powering the prototypes. The Chinese could also get Russian assistance in radar cross section simulation for the new stealth design.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Fourth Airbus Military A400M Makes First Flight

The fourth Airbus Military A400M military airlifter has made its first flight – the culmination of a highly successful 2010 which also saw the fleet of Grizzly development aircraft complete just over 1,000 hours flight-time and 300 flights.

Known as Grizzly 4, the aircraft took off from Seville, Spain with a weight of 130 tonnes at 10h18 local time (GMT+1) and landed five hours and ten minutes later.

Experimental Test Pilot Klaus-Dietrich Flade captained the flight, supported by Experimental Test Pilot Christophe Cail. The crew also included Test Flight Engineers José Aragón-Gómez and, Bruno Bigand, and Flight Test Engineers José Casado-Corpas, and Catherine Schneider. Catherine is the first female Flight Test Engineer and test crew member to participate in an A400M first flight.

Grizzly 4 is the fourth of an eventual five aircraft which will conduct the 3,700 hour flight-test programme leading to first delivery in around two years time. It will be primarily dedicated to cargo and air-to-air refuelling operations and carries a medium flight-test instrumentation load.

Airbus Head of Flight Operations Fernando Alonso said: “The on-time first flight of Grizzly 4 highlights what has been an excellent first year of the flight-test programme. We end 2010 fully on schedule and with every expectation of rapidly building flight-hours and hitting our key test objectives in the year ahead. I am particularly proud of the seamless work done by the Airbus and Airbus Military teams in the Seville and Toulouse Flight Test Centres which has been instrumental in this achievement.”

The maiden flight of Grizzly 4 followed the completion of a series of milestones in recent months – notably the first paratrooper jumps from the aircraft, which were highly successful and demonstrated the excellent potential of the aircraft for this military operation. Flights with the ramp and doors open have proceeded smoothly.

An extensive programme of flying the aircraft with simulated icing shapes attached to the wings and tail has been completed. These flights were performed by Airbus and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) flight crews and represent the first set of certification tests completed on the A400M.

Preliminary tests of protective kits for rough-field operations have been completed in preparation for next year´s trials.

Flight and ground load testing is complete, as is measurement of cruise performance. All major aircraft systems have been tested and flutter tests throughout the flight envelope are extremely close to completion.

The Europrop International (EPI) TP400 engines have been performing well, with the in-flight relight capability having been successfully demonstrated and ground starts following an overnight cold-soak recently performed. Behaviour of the auxiliary power unit has been excellent, and it has been started as high as 40,000ft.

Following the A400M’s maiden flight on 11the December 2009, earlier this year Grizzly 2 and Grizzly 3 made their first flights in respectively April and July and their introduction into the fleet made possible the outstanding demonstrations of the A400M´s handling qualities at the Berlin and Farnborough airshows.

The A400M is an all-new military airlifter designed to meet the needs of the world's Armed Forces in the 21st Century. Thanks to its most advanced technologies, it is able to fly higher, faster and further, while retaining high manoeuvrability, low speed, and short, soft and rough airfield capabilities. It combines both tactical and strategic/logistic missions.

With its cargo hold specifically designed to carry the outsize equipment needed today for both military and humanitarian disaster relief missions, it can bring this material quickly and directly to where it is most needed. Conceived to be highly reliable, dependable, and with a great survivability, the multipurpose A400M can do more with less, implying smaller fleets and less investment from the operator. The A400M is the most cost efficient and versatile airlifter ever conceived and absolutely unique in its capabilities.

India, Russia Sign Contract to Design and Develop FGFA

A Contract for Preliminary Design of the Indo-Russian Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft was signed between Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Rosoboronexport and Sukhoi here today. The Project involves design and development of a Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft that will have advanced features such as stealth, supercruise, ultra-maneuvrability, highly integrated avionics suite, enhanced situational awareness, internal carriage of weapons and Network Centric Warfare capabilities.

The aircraft to be jointly developed is termed Perspective Multi-role Fighter (PMF). PMF draws upon the basic structural and system design of the Russian FGFA Technology Demonstrator with modifications to meet IAF specifications which are much more stringent. The broad scope of bilateral cooperation during the joint project covers the design & development of the PMF, its productionization and joint marketing to the third countries. Programme options include the design & development of a twin seater variant and the integration of an advanced engine with higher thrust at a later stage.

Today's contract is only the first in a series of such contracts which will cover different stages of this complex programme. The total cost including options and the value of production aircraft will make this the biggest Defence programme ever in the history of India involving production of over 200-250 aircraft.

The Contract was signed by Mr. A Isaykin, General Director, Rosoboronexport and Mr. M Pogosyan, General Director RAC MiG & Sukhoi from the Russian side and Mr. Ashok Nayak, Chairman, HAL and Mr. NC Agarwal, Director (D&D), HAL from the Indian side at Delhi.

Friday, December 17, 2010

FGFA/PAKFA - HAL, Sukhoi T-50 Preliminary Design by 2012; Cost USD 295 million

Russia and India have agreed the estimated cost of a design contract for their joint fifth-generation fighter project at $295 million, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Chairman Ashok Nayak said in an interview with RIA Novosti.

"The cost of preliminary design is estimated at $295 million. The work is expected to be complete within 18 months," Nayak said. Russia's Sukhoi holding and India's Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) agreed in early 2010 to jointly develop a fifth-generation fighter jet based on the prototype T-50 design. India confirmed that it had finalized a draft contract at a meeting with Russia in early October.

Nayak said the contract could be signed by the representatives of India's HAL and Russia's United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) during a visit by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to India on December 20-22. The two sides agreed to develop both a single-seat and a two-seat version of the aircraft by 2016, focusing on the single-seat version in the initial stages of development. The costs will be shared equally between Russia and India.

The first Russian prototype T-50 made its maiden flight in January 2010. The new fighter aircraft is expected to enter service with the Indian Air Force by 2020.

Indian Air Force takes delivery of first of six C-130Js

At a ceremony, Lockheed Martin delivered the first of six C-130Js for the Indian Air Force. The new fleet was ordered under a U.S. Foreign Military Sale in late 2008. The sale is India’s first under the FMS route. “There are few mottos that impart such passion as that of the Indian Air Force, which is ‘Touch the Sky With Glory’,” said Lorraine Martin, Lockheed Martin’s vice president for C-130 Programs, during 16 December ceremony. “Today begins a new glorious, enduring partnership with India as the fourth largest air force in the world proudly joins the worldwide C-130 family.”

As per Lockhed Martin, The first two of the Indian Air Force C-130J will be flown to India in early 2011, while two more will arrive in early summer and the last two will be delivered in late summer of 2011.

India′s final three C-130Js have now reached the final production positions at the Lockheed Martin Marietta facility. These aircraft will join the previous three, which are already in flight test prior to deliveries that will begin later this month.

Rosoboronexport to Begin Mi-17-V5 Helicopter Deliveries in March 2011

A contract for the procurement of 80 Mi 17-V5 helicopters along with spares and the associated equipment was signed between Ministry of Defence and M/s Rosoboronexport, Russia on 5th December 2008 at a cost of US $ 1,345,836,495.83.

The Mi-17-V5 helicopters will be utilized for Special Heliborne Operations, air-maintenance, transportation of troops and equipment, search and rescue, casualty evacuation and in armed helicopter roles. The delivery of these helicopters is likely to commence by March 2011.

This information was given by Defence Minister Shri AK Antony in a written reply to Shri Sonawane Pratap Narayanrao in Lok Sabha today.

Russian wings in the Indian skies

Russian-Indian cooperation in the aviation industry is targeting new horizons.

A cutting-edge fifth-generation fighter jet is in the works as part of a joint project between United Aircraft Corporation (UАC) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)

For decades, India has been buying Russian aircraft, both military and civil. A number of military aircraft has been produced at Indian plants under Russian licences. The first model designed specifically for India was the SU-30MKI heavy multirole fighter (MKI stands for Modernised Commercial Indian).
The first SU-30MKI contract was signed in 1996 and was followed by new orders in 2000, 2004 and 2007. The prime contractor in Russia has been IRKUT Corporation.

SU-30MKIs were the world’s first production air superiority fighters and also the first exported military aircraft that came with phased-array radars. In fact, the SU-30MKI is the engineering zenith (among production aircraft) in design among fourth-generation heavy-duty fighters. The SU-30MKI’s external design was largely influenced by Indian engineers.

Currently, Russia supplies to India aircraft produced at the Irkutsk aviation plant and also complete sets of SU-30MKI parts to be assembled by HAL. After all the contracted aircraft have been delivered, the Indian Air Force (IAF) will have 230 SU-30MKI fighters. These aircraft have already formed the core of the IAF and are deployed in critical areas, ensuring absolute air supremacy over potential enemies. In mock dogfights IAF pilots flying SU-30MKI generally defeat modern fighters produced elsewhere.

In November of 2008, British journal Flight, a reputed industry publication, conducted a survey among its website visitors asking them to select the best fighter from a list containing the SU-30MKI, F-22 and F-15. The Russian fighter was voted for by 59 per cent of the survey participants.

In November of 2009, Indian President Pratibha Patil took a ride in a SU-30MKI. Her predecessor, Abdul Kalam, did the same in 2006.

The President of IRKUT Corporation Oleg Demchenko made the following comments on the project: “The SU-30MKI programme opened a new stage of Russian-Indian partnership in the aircraft industry. We have progressed from aircraft sales to R&D cooperation and aircraft production at HAL facilities. Note that these fighters will be armed with Russian and Indian-made BraMos missiles. This one-two punch, SU-30MKI and BraMos, will offer unrivalled combat performance.

Mikhail Pogosyan, CEO of Sukhoy Aviation Holding Company and MiG Russian Aircraft Corporation said: “Developing collaboration with the Indian aviation industry is a top priority for Russian combat aviation producers.

Another custom-designed fighter is the MiG-29K. The contract with India was signed on 20 January 2004 envisaging the delivery of 12 single-seat MiG-29K and 4 two-seat MiG-29KUB fighters, and also provisions training for IAF pilots and technicians, supplying flight simulators, spare parts, and maintenance for the new aircraft at IAF bases.

On 19 February 2010, a ceremony was held at the Hansa naval base to commission the first set of sea-based MiG-29К/КUB fighters. The aircraft was included in the Black Panthers squadron. Indian Defense Minister Arackaparambil Kurian Antony said: “Adoption of Russian fighters MiG-29K/KUB by the Indian Navy will contribute to India’s defense capability and strengthen the strategic partnership between our nations”.

Indian pilots gave high praise to the new fighters, and in March of 2010 India signed a contract for 29 more MiG-29K/KUBs. Today, MiG-29К/КUB is one of the best carrier-born combat aircraft in the world in terms of cost and effect. The Russian Navy has recently placed orders for the fighter. The MiG-29К/КUB became the basis for 4++ generation land-based aircraft, notably including the MiG-35 multi-purpose fighter.

This fighter combines excellent flight and operating performance with reinforced combat capability. The MiG-35 is fitted with advanced onboard avionics, including active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and a unique optical locator system (OLS) based on a technology originally designed for space applications.

MiG Corporation is also running a large-scale programme to upgrade India’s MiG-29 fighters. The respective contract between the Indian Ministry of Defense and MiG was signed in March of 2008. The upgrade will provide the entire IAF fleet of MiG-29 fighters with state-of-the-art avionics, standardized in line with similar systems in sea-based MiG-29K/KUB produced under the above-mentioned contract with the Indian Navy.

The upgraded MiG-29 onboard equipment will include a number of advanced systems developed and produced by HAL, Bharat Dynamics Ltd, and some other companies in other countries.

Today, India and Russia have effectively defined their long-term cooperation plan in developing combat aircraft. It includes the following aspects:

- Aircraft production under the SU-30MKI programme, which will be expanded with the SU-30MKI/BraMos combination;

- MiG-29K/KUB sales and production cooperation;
- MiG-29 upgrade programme carried out jointly by Russian and Indian companies;
- Potential sales contracts and production cooperation under MMRCA (MiG-35/MiG-35D);
- Russian-Indian Fifth-Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) programme;

Coordinated delivery of these programmes will help India:

- Maintain and expand its standardised aircraft fleet as the basis for its Air Force and Navy to create integrated combat systems;

- Build an integrated infrastructure of after-sales maintenance for most aircraft of the Indian Armed Forces;

- Ensure sustainable development of its aviation and electronics industries.

The integration of Sukhoy and MiG capabilities under Mikhail Pogosyan’s leadership helps maximise the scope of the Russian-Indian combat aviation development programme.

The most exciting and cutting-edge engineering work will be the Fifth-Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) project. Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the UAC Board of Directors Sergei Ivanov said: “We have already agreed upon all the principal arrangements with India regarding the development of the fifth generation fighter”. Ivanov also noted that the Russian Sukhoy T-50 and the Russian-Indian FGFA will be developed simultaneously. In November of 2010, Sergei Ivanov became the co-chair of the Russian-Indian Intergovernmental Commission for Economic, Technical and Cultural Cooperation. Experts believe that this appointment will boost collaboration in the aircraft industry.
India’s defense minister said that the IAF will buy 250 to 300 FGFAs.

India and Russia also made steps to launch the Multi-role Transport Aircraft (MTA) programme to develop a new aircraft capable of carrying 20 tons of cargo for replacing An-12, An-32 and other transport aircraft in Russian and Indian air fleets. The contract to design and produce MTA was signed between HAL and UAC on 9 September 2010. Under its terms, the parties will invest 300 million dollars in the joint venture. MTA manufacturing facilities will be located both in Russia and India. The Indian Defense Ministry will place its first order for 45 MTAs, whereas the Russian Air Force is expected buy about 100 new aircraft.

HAL CEO Ashok Nayak said in a statement that the initial plan is to produce 205 aircraft, of which 30 per cent will be sold on the global market. He expects that the first MTA will take off in 2016-2018.

In compliance with the contract, a joint venture was registered in India in November to manage the MTA project.

Currently, UAC is in the process of launching full-scale production of the IL-476 military transport aircraft based on thoroughly upgraded IL-76. India has IL-76 in service along with its modifications: IL-78MKI tanker aircraft and А-50EI airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft

Among other Russian aircraft that India might find useful is the Beriev Be-200 Altair amphibious aircraft. With this unique multi-purpose system Russia could confidently bid in the tender for new maritime patrol aircraft that will soon be announced by the Indian Coast Guard.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

First C130J aircraft to be delivered to India next week

WASHINGTON: The first of the six state-of-the-art C-130J military transport aircraft would be delivered to India on December 16, its manufacturer Lockheed Martin said today.

India has placed orders for six of these aircrafts. "The first C-130J for India will be formally delivered on December 16 at a ceremony in Marietta," Lockheed Martin said in a statement.

"Two will be flown to India in early 2011, while two more will arrive in early summer and the last two will be delivered in late summer of 2011," it said.

Robert Blake, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, said on Wednesday that in conjunction with the purchase of six C-130J transport aircraft in 2008 the recent USD 4.1 billion C-17 Indian deal with Boeing will double US-India defense trade and provide the Indian Air Force a strategic airlift and humanitarian response capability that is unique to the region and emblematic of India's ambitions to play an increasingly global role.

"Once all the aircraft have been delivered, ladies and gentlemen, India will have the second largest C-17 fleet in the world behind the US - a highly visible manifestation of the US-India defense partnership," Blake said.

Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules is the most advanced airlifter ever built.

The C-130J combines the latest in aerospace technology with a proven, rugged airframe design, resulting in an aircraft that gives an operator more capability with greater operational efficiency.

The Indian Air Force's new Super Hercules will be the longer fuselage or "stretched" variant of the C-130J, similar to those being delivered to the US Air Force.

With this India joins the growing number of nations with C-130J fleets including the US, Australia, Canada, Italy, Denmark, Norway and the United Kingdom.

The C-130J carries eight 463L pallets, 97 medical litters, 24 CDS bundles, 128 combat troops and 92 paratroops.

Equipped with an Infrared Detection Set (IDS), the aircraft will be able to perform precision low-level flying, airdrops, and landing in blackout conditions. Self protection systems and other features are included to ensure aircraft survivability in hostile air defence environments.

In addition the aircraft is equipped with air-to-air receiver refueling capability for extended range operations.

Lockheed Martin will integrate this equipment and other capabilities into the Indian configuration as agreed between the governments.

High cost of Indian Mirage 2000 fighter upgrade causing a rethink

French President Nicholas Sarkozy may miss signing of the Mirage 2000 upgrade deal with the Indian Air Force (IAF) during his visit to India. While officially, “negotiations are still going on”, according India’s senior foreign ministry officials, the reason for the delay seems to be that the high cost of upgrading the fighters is causing a rethink, informed sources told

The cost of upgrading the 51 fighters is working out to an average of Euro 45 million per piece which is well over the price of acquiring a new generation fighter such as the Rafale or F-16 which is around Euro 30million-35 million. India is seeking to upgrade the fighters with Beyond Visual Range (BVR) capabilities, Look-down, shoot-down capabilities, Advanced Electronic Counter Counter Measures (ECCM) and Multi-target, multi-shoot capabilities.

The total cost is around Euro 2.4 billion of which work worth Euro 1.5 billon will be directly with the French company Dassault and the rest for work done and equipment supplied by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

In comparison, India signed a similar upgrade contract for 62 MiG-29 fighters in 2008 for around $850 million which works to $13.71 million (Euro 10.28 million approximately) per fighter.

Further, the bulk of the IAF Mirage 2000 fleet was acquired in 1986-87 which makes it over 20 year old. The upgradation process is expected to take 7-9 year and residual life of the airframe after the upgrade will be about 15-10 years. A new fighter instead will have a life of 30 plus years.

Air Force Attack Helicopters Deal - Field Trials Conducted for Boeing AH-64 Apache Longbow Helicopters

Boeing has responded to an Air Force / Ministry of Defence Request for Proposal (RFP) for 22 attack helicopters and has offered the Boeing AH-64 Apache Longbow attack helicopter platform for this requirement. The Indian Air Force has conducted field trials for the Apache Longbow helicopters, which offer a range of capabilities including lethal attack, peacekeeping, reconnaissance over land and sea.

"We responded to the RFP for 22 attack helicopters for the Indian Air Force with our Apache Longbow helicopters and completed field trials this year. The Apache Longbow is the only available combat helicopter with a spectrum of capabilities for virtually any mission requirement. We believe it is uniquely suited to meet the commander’s needs – including reconnaissance, security, peacekeeping operations, and lethal attack -- in both land and littoral environments -- all without reconfiguration. The Apache is a versatile aircraft capable of meeting the needs of operators in both military and paramilitary markets."
-- Dr. Vivek Lall, Vice President, Boeing Defense, Space and Security, India

The Boeing AH-64 Apache is a four-blade, twin-engine attack helicopter with tailwheel-type landing gear arrangement, and tandem cockpit for a crew of two. The Apache was developed as Model 77 by Hughes Helicopters for the United States Army's Advanced Attack Helicopter program to replace the AH-1 Cobra. First flown on 30 September 1975, the AH-64 features a nose-mounted sensor suite for target acquisition and night vision systems.

The U.S. Army is the primary operator of the AH-64, however it has also become the primary attack helicopter of several nations it has been exported to, including the United Kingdom, Israel, Japan, Greece and the Netherlands. U.S. AH-64s have served in conflicts in Panama, Persian Gulf War, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Israel has made active use of the Apache in its military conflicts in Lebanon and Gaza Strip; while two coalition allies have deployed their AH-64s in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Russian Air Force to receive first Su-35 by yearend - Sukhoi

MOSCOW: The Russian Defense Ministry will receive its first Su-35 fighter plane by the end of the year, Russia's Sukhoi Aircraft Design Bureau said on Monday.

The first modernized Su-35 was presented at the 2007 MAKS air show outside Moscow. The Russian Defense Ministry signed a deal with Sukhoi on the purchase of 48 modernized Su-35 jets in 2009.

Sukhoi is also holding talks with customers in South-East Asia, the Middle East and South America on Su-35 sales.

The Su-35 Flanker-E, a modification of the Su-27, is a heavy class, long-range, multi-role fighter, whose technical characteristics can be compared with those of fifth-generation jets.

Russian Air Force to procure 1,500 new aircraft by 2020

MOSCOW: The Russian Air Force will procure over 1,500 new aircraft and significantly increase the number of high-precision weapons in its arsenal by 2020, a deputy Air Force commander said on Wednesday.

"Overall, we are planning to acquire and modernize about 2,000 aircraft and helicopters by 2020...including more than 1,500 new aircraft and about 400 modernized," Lt. Gen. Igor Sadofyev told reporters in Moscow.

According to the general, in 2011 the Air Force plans to adopt Su-27SM, Su-30M2 and Su-35S multirole fighters, Su-34 fighter-bombers and Yak-130 combat trainers as well as Ka-52 and Mi-28N attack helicopters, Mi-8 armed assault helicopters, Ka-226 and Ansat-U light multipurpose helicopters.

"The priority for the strategic aviation is the modernization of 80 percent of existing Tu-160, Tu-95MS, Tu-22M3 bombers and Il-78M aerial tankers...and the extension of their service life," Sadofyev said.

He also said that the share of high-precision weaponry in the Russian Air Force arsenal would increase by 18 times, including the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) - by six times.

"In addition to a thorough upgrade of the aircraft fleet, the measures planned until 2020 will allow us to increase the share of high-precision weaponry to 70 percent of the total, or by 18 times," the general said.

Sadofyev added that the number of all-weather aircraft, capable of carrying out day and night missions would increase almost five-fold, and the share of UAVs would constitute about 30 percent of the total by 2020.

However, Douglas Barrie, senior fellow for military aerospace at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies told RIA Novosti that Russia's ability to fund and manufacture 1,500 military aircraft over the next decade is "questionable."

"The defense aerospace industry suffered from a decade plus of serious under-investment following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and only in the past few years has there been any appreciable improvement in the flow of cash," Barrie said.

"With regard to increasing the percentage of precision guided-weapons in the Air Force inventory, Russia's Tactical Missile Systems (TRV) has been designing and developing a range of 'precision' munitions, including the Kh-38 family of air-to-surface missiles, since at least the early 1990s," Barrie continued.

He said these projects had been hampered by the lack of adequate state funding until recently. He noted, however, that funding has been "noticeably improved," which will likely increase the pace of development on the Kh-38, as well as other weapons projects.

Russian air force completing MiG-31BM modernization program

MOSCOW: The Russian air force is completing a modification program for its MiG-31 interceptor aircraft to the MiG-31BM standard, the force's commander Col.Gen. Alexander Zelin said on Friday.

"The air force is currently carrying out the vital task of deep modification of the MiG-31 aircraft to MiG-31BM standard. This task is being successfully carried out," he said.

The MiG-31BM is fitted with upgraded avionics and digital datalinks, a new multimode radar, color multi-function cockpit displays, a new, more powerful computer and ability to carry new air-to-air and possibly air-to-surface missiles such as the AS-17 Krypton anti-radar missile.

Information on display next to a MiG-31BM in 2009 associated the aircraft with air-to-air missiles including the Vympel R-73 (AA-11 Archer), R-77 (AA-12 Adder), and R-33S (upgraded AA-9 Amos) and the K-37M (AA-X-13 Arrow).

The air force is also accepting other new aircraft, including the Su-34 strike aircraft, the forthcoming Su-35, the Yak-130 advanced trainer, and Ka-52 and Mi-28 helicopters, he said.

Manufacturer's tests are also underway on the Sukhoi T-50 fifth generation fighter prototype.

Russia's missile forces to replace Topol-M with multiple-warhead RS-24

MOSCOW: Russia's Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) will be rearmed with multiple-warhead RS-24 missiles instead of the RS-12M Topol-M (SS-27 Sickle) mobile intercontinental ballistic missile systems, SMF Commander Lt. Gen. Sergei Karakayev said on Tuesday.

"The mobile missile system with the RS-24 ballistic missile is an improved version of the Topol-M, and during production experience with fifth generation mobile missile systems was taken into account," Karakayev said, adding that the missile proved itself a reliable weapon. "Therefore it was decided to rearm the SMF with this type of missile system," he continued. "At the same the Topol-M mobile missile system will not be supplied to the Strategic Missile Forces in the future."

RS-24 is believed to have up to six independent warheads, and is thus more likely to be able to penetrate anti-missile defense systems than the single warhead Topol-M.

The SMF said in August that the Topol-M and RS-24 missiles would be the mainstay of the ground-based component of Russia's nuclear triad and would account for no less than 80% of the SMF's arsenal by 2016.

As of June 2010, the SMF operated at least 50 silo-based and 18 road-mobile Topol-M missile systems. The RS-24 was commissioned in 2010 after successful testing.

The RS-12M Topol is a single-warhead intercontinental ballistic missile, approximately the same size and shape as the U.S. Minuteman ICBM. The first Topol missiles entered service in 1985.

The missile has a maximum range of 10,000 km (6,125 miles) and can carry a nuclear warhead with a yield of 550 kilotons.

Next year the SMF will hold 10 intercontinental ballistic missile launches, twice as many as in 2010, Karakayev said.


The Msta-S was developed by the design bureau of the Ural Heavy Machinery plant (UZTM) as a replacement for the 152-mm Akatsia self-propelled gun with a T-80 tank chassis and the 2A65 Msta-B artillery system.

Northrop Grumman Air Force KC-X was abandoned, Boeing likely rising by withdrawal

Northrop Grumman to buy on March 8 for the U.S. Air Force KC-X tanker competition, EADS North America does not support the Company no longer participate virtually abandoned by announcing in a year and a half down from heaven to hell was an experience.

Northrop Grumman to buy 68 units in February 2008 as the primary delivery of next-generation aerial tanker competition has been won. Northrop at a 184 million dollar per KC-45 tanker aircraft, including R & D to supply 1.5 billion U.S. dollars, but in August the same year as Boeing's protest is the plan collapsed.

After reviewing the various conditions since last February 24 that the U.S. Department of KC-X request for proposals (RFP) to announce the participation requirement, but eventually developed, based on Boeing's 767 fixed RFP for a small gas reported that Northrop and has decided to boycott.

KC-X plans to first 179 cars to replace the KC-135 is preparing for a budget of $ 3,500,000,000. I was alone with the U.S. Air Force Boeing fait accompli against qualified to negotiate the price and performance problems that have been embraced, the external friction between the EU will be unable to avoid,If EADS and Northrop to leave without any regrets, except in cooperation with other U.S. companies likely to participate, but due to the current economic crisis is likely to nationalistic atmosphere of the good times can not be seen.

Somehow KC-45's round was developed based on the A330-200 Airbus A330 MRTT (KC-30) and Royal Australian Air Force 5, the Royal Air Force 14, UAE Air Force 3, Royal Saudi Air Force has six, while comparable to the final order The Boeing KC-767 and four units of Italy and Japan, respectively, have been ordered, i dont have an Italian Air Force specifications for four public has not supplied, it central to the rear fuselage boom and hose-drogue combination mounted under the wing jaegeupyusiseutemgwa hose-drogue wingpod flight refueling systems, and others result of a complex system equipped with a wing to the "flutter" phenomena have been discovered, because it does not resolve. India late last year to No. 4 while completing the delivery of Japan's refueling boom on the rear fuselage, the center has just installed.
Northrop Grumman / EADS KC-45 and Airbus A330 MRTT (KC-30) was developed based on the Aerial Refuelling Boom System (ARBS) and a juikha Cobham 905E refueling pods on the fuselage 1 2 gaemit Cobham 805E Fuselage Refuelling Unit (FRU ) to attach.

AH-1Z approved for full rate production

NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md.: The U.S. Marine Corps’ AH-1Z Cobra was approved for full rate production .

The H-1 program office received official word on the milestone III approval decision from Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology & Logistics, Dr. Ashton B. Carter through an acquisition decision memorandum.

"This is the culmination of a lot of focused hard work by a lot of dedicated professionals," said Col. Harry Hewson, the Marines' program manager for light and attack helicopter programs. "We spent the past two years executing a very detailed risk reduction program that tested every part of the weapons and fire control system on the AH-1Z. It performed very well in operational test last spring and I am confident that it will do as well in combat as the UH-1Y is doing right now in Afghanistan. The next phase of this program is getting the Zulu into the hands of the fleet and into combat. The Zulu is going to give the Marines on the ground a whole new level of long range targeting and precision firepower for close air support."

After completing operational testing this summer, the AH-1Z was determined to be operationally effective and suitable, a finding that is a prerequisite to the full rate production decision.

"Getting the Zulu into full rate production is very important for the Marines and for our Nation," said Rear Adm. Steve Eastburg, Program Executive Officer for Air, Assault and Special Mission Programs. "Both the UH-1Y and AH-1Z deliver superb combat effectiveness to the Marine warfighter. We continue to build in production cost efficiencies to ensure that the taxpayer is getting the most for every dollar spent."

The AH-1Z Cobra helicopters are part of the Marine Corps’ H-1 Upgrade Program. The program’s goal is to replace AH-1W helicopters with new and remanufactured AH-1Z which provide significantly greater performance, supportability and growth potential over their predecessors.

A total of 189 new and remanufactured AH-1Z helicopters are anticipated, with deliveries expected to be complete by the end of 2021.

The AH-1Z is expected to achieve initial operating capability and embark on its first deployment in 2011.

The AH-1Z and the UH-1Y, the Marine Corps’ combat utility helicopter, are 84 percent identical. The UH-1Y was approved for full rate production in 2008.