China`s new attack helicopter

China has published photos of its new attack helicopter ahead of its first public appearance in an air show.

Official media here published photos of WZ-10 attack helicopter conducting sorties. The chopper is due to be exhibited at the Zhuhai Air Show in China's Guangdong province, state-run Global Times reported without revealing details of its capabilities. China, which complaints of little access to advanced technologies of the US and the EU, has been developing large military hardware. 

Besides launching its first aircraft carrier recently, China also unveiled a second version of the stealth bomber J-20, becoming the second country after the US to have that technology. 

China`s new armed UAV

China showed off a new military drone and a model of a next-generation fighter plane as it builds up its own defense capabilities and seeks customers for its hardware. Industry giant China Aviation Industry Corporation displayed its Yi Long drone, called Wing Loong in English, at the opening of China's premier airshow in southern Zhuhai, state media said, AFP reports. AVIC, which makes both military and civil aircraft, also showed a model of a new generation fighter jet that Chinese media said was the J-31, a stealth plane whose existence was only recently known to the public.

Chinese President Hu Jintao last week called for China to step up the military's technological abilities, saying its most important task was to be able to “win a local war in an information age''. AVIC had previously shown only a model of the nine-meter long drone, which can carry two missiles, at previous Zhuhai airshows, an analyst said. At the air show, the gray-colored drone was tucked away at the corner of the exhibition, surrounded by journalists and officers of a foreign military, who declined to comment.

The website of the People's Daily newspaper said AVIC also displayed a fourth-generation fighter, which it identified as the J-31, a stealth plane that had its first test flight last month. But an AVIC official was quoted as saying by the Sina website that the model was only a “concept’’ plane that was still under development.

China's first stealth fighter, the J-20, was unveiled in early 2011 but is not expected to enter service until 2018.

New era in aircraft recognition system

A new era in aircraft recognition is on the horizon with the projected first flight of the Mode 5 Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system aboard an F/A-18E/F Super Hornet expected this winter.

The Naval Air Traffic Management Systems (PMA-213) program office here leads the Mode 5 effort to upgrade the IFF system in use by the United States and its allies for more than 45 years.

Mode 5 IFF provides the warfighter with positive, secure and reliable line-of-sight identification of friendly air and surface platforms. This system is projected to improve situational awareness while reducing the chances of friendly fire incidents and enemy disruption of IFF functions, said Christina Hall, deputy program manager for PMA-213’s Combat Identification program.

“Mode 5 is designed to be compatible with military and civilian IFF modes,” said Hall. “This ensures interoperability of military and civilian aircraft. The Navy is planning to acquire Mode 5 systems to equip and field on nearly every surface, subsurface and airborne platform in the fleet, as well as U.S. Coast Guard and Military Sealift Command vessels.”

The system recently underwent Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) and was rated “Effective and Suitable.” Testing of the system was conducted on multiple ship and airborne platforms including guided missile destroyers (DDG), cruisers (CG), fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft.

“The Mode 5 IOT&E was a truly integrated test effort,” said Tracy Wathen, Program Executive Office for Tactical Aircraft assistant executive officer for Test and Evaluation. “The Integrated Test Team showed great planning and facilitated data sharing with the Commander Operational Test and Evaluation Force to supplement their test points.”
Once fielded, Mode 5 IFF is expected to meet Joint Initial Operational Capability requirements in fiscal year 2014 with Joint Full Operational Capability. There is also a plan to use this capability on several Navy Unmanned Air Systems.

“This has been a long-term project with a long list of people who have helped to achieve a Full Rate Production decision,” said Capt. Darrell Lack, Naval Air Traffic Management Systems (PMA-213) program manager. “The Mode 5 capability brings an order of magnitude increase in confidence of secure identification and level of situational awareness to the warfighter.”

Indian Navy to 2nd Krivak III frigates

The second of three stealth frigates that Russia builds for India at the Yantar Shipyard in Russia’s Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad will be handed over to the Indian Navy on Friday. Sergei Mikhailov, a spokesman for the Yantar Shipyard, the solemn ceremony of delivering the warship will be held in Kaliningrad and be attended by high-ranking military officers both from Russia and India.

Russia and India signed a $1.6 billion contract on construction of three modified Krivak III class (also known as Talwar class) guided missile frigates for India in 2006. The first frigate, INS Teg, joined the Indian Navy on April 27.

The last in the series of three frigates, The Trikand, currently undergoes dock trials and after it completes sea trials in the Baltic Sea will join the Indian Navy in the summer of 2013. The new frigates are each armed with eight BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles.

They are also equipped with a 100-mm gun, a Shtil surface-to-air missile system, two Kashtan air-defense gun/missile systems, two twin 533-mm torpedo launchers, and an antisubmarine warfare (ASW) helicopter.

Russia previously built three Talwar class frigates for India – INS Talwar (Sword), INS Trishul (Trident), and INS Tabar (Axe).

Israel to Deploy New Missile Alert System

A new system of the Home Front Command, which will be put to use at the IAF Center for Ballistic Picture Management in Israel, will allow more efficient recognition of rocket and missile launches

For the first time, as a part of the Israeli-American AC Defense Exercise, a control system of the Home Front Command has been put into use. The new system, which has been developed to improve the IDF’s early warning system pertaining to missiles, will assist the Center for Ballistic Picture Management, the IAF center that is responsible for the detection of rocket and missile firings toward Israel.

The soldiers of the center work shoulder to shoulder with the people of the Home Front Command, and they share an immense mission: warning the citizens of Israel before approaching missiles. As a part of the AC exercise, in which American and Israeli forces practice aerial defense, the IAF and Home Front Command conducted an extensive exercise in which they used the system for the first time.

Instead of One Ballistic Picture–Division into Sections

Until now, the people of the Center for Ballistic Picture Management had one situation photo of Israel in its entirety, from which they had to identify every firing toward the country. The new system, on the other hand, will allow them to focus on various areas around the country, such that each team will be able to scan its sector with more care. “The new system allows us to divide the country in to various sections, and consequently be able to be more exact in warning different areas”, explained Major Ofir Walfish, Commander of the Center. “This is the first time that the Home Front Command and we are practicing in a sectoral manner”.

Inside the center’s operations room, ballistic picture officers sit by representatives of the Home Front Command. They must respond to every “target” they receive–every target is a simulation of a missile launching toward Israel as a part of the AC exercise. First, they receive notification of the launching. After examining the statistics of the launching and comparing it to the incoming information from various sensors, Ballistic Picture officers devise whether this is a launching that endangers Israel-and from here the information is transferred to the Home Front Command.

General Dynamics-built AN/USC-61(C) four-channel Digital Modular Radios for US Navy

The U.S. Navy has ordered an additional 53 General Dynamics-built AN/USC-61(C) four-channel Digital Modular Radios (DMR) for use aboard new Navy ships, submarines and inshore sites. In addition to the new radios, existing DMR hardware will be modified to accommodate networking waveforms owned by the government.

This order exercises an option on a contract awarded to General Dynamics in 2010. The option has a total potential value of $35 million. “Serving the fleet since 1998, DMR radios continue to be extremely cost-effective. With these hardware modifications the DMR will provide even greater cost savings as it becomes interoperable with the U.S. Department of Defense’s next-generation radios,” said Chris Marzilli, president of General Dynamics C4 Systems.

General Dynamics has delivered more than 500 DMR radios to the Navy. The radio is capable of simultaneous, secure short-range and global communications on any of its four channels. The radio is interoperable with a wide variety of legacy military radios and was the first software defined radio certified by the National Security Agency to protect information classified at the Top Secret level and below.

The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command for the Department of the Navy Research, Development and Acquisition is the contracting authority.

Sukhoi`s UAV

Russian aircraft maker Sukhoi is to focus on creating reconnaissance and strike unmanned air vehicles (UAV) in the near future. Sukhoi, which has historically designed fighter and ground attack aircraft but now also builds some civil aircraft, is part of UAC, a holding covering most of Russia's aircraft industry.

"UAVs are a strategic avenue for development for UAC, and Sukhoi is focused on creating reconnaissance and strike UAVs. But our firm plans on this are in the future,". Previous UAVs created for Russia's amed forces have been produced by Tranzas and Sokol, in addition to Sukhoi. Sukhoi has designs on its website for a series of unmanned aircraft known as Zond, optimised for the carriage of surveillance and synthetic-aperture radars and electro-optical sensors.

In 2011, Sukhoi won a contract to develope a heavy strike UAV with a mass of around 20 tons, Fedutinov said. Another Russian fighter aircraft design bureau, RAC MiG, will also be involved in this program, MiG's CEO Sergei Korotkov told Russian media earlier this year. MiG showed a demonstrator strike UAV design known as Skat at the MAKS airshow in Moscow in 2007.

St. Petersburg-based Tranzas and Kazan-based Sokol won a tender in October 2011 to create two UAV systems with a mass of one ton and five tons respectively.

US Navy continues testing new UAV

Navy representatives recently participated in tests for the Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D) that will drive recommendations for digital messaging implementation and unmanned aircraft integration into the carrier environment.

Air traffic controllers from USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) supported the final Human Systems Integration (HSI) modeling and simulation testing at the N-UCAS Aviation/Ship Integration Facility (NASIF) here. The HSI evaluations included analyses and tests of the displays, controls, environments, system communications, overall task allocations and operator situations.

The NASIF building contains Primary Flight Control (PriFly), Landing Signals Officer (LSO), Carrier Air Traffic Control Center (CATCC) and Mission Control Element (MCE) equipment required to direct manned and unmanned aircraft on and around a carrier. The UCAS-D program uses the facility for system integration, unmanned air vehicle and manned surrogate demonstration events.

“It was very exciting to see fleet CATCC controllers successfully demonstrate the technology our team has been developing for years,” said Capt. Jaime Engdahl, UCAS-D program manager, who observed USS Vinson controllers during tests in early October. “There was such a high level of energy in the room during their test periods. You really felt like you were observing a CATCC team actually conducting operations at sea.”

NASIF team members matured technologies for carrier suitable unmanned air systems by updating the current aircraft carrier systems’ software functionality and integrating them into a common digital network. Next year, this integrated carrier environment will be demonstrated using the Northrop Grumman-built X-47B, the first tailless unmanned aircraft designed to operate aboard an aircraft carrier.

“Due to the extremely limited availability of aircraft carriers for installation and testing of new aviation systems, shore-based emulation of shipboard systems and procedures is paramount to ensure cost-effective and timely integration,” Engdahl said. “We support the fleet users. That’s why having them come down and test this technology early is so important.”

During recent tests using the program’s CATCC simulator, the NASIF team challenged controllers to conduct operations in a future digitized environment, far advanced from what they are used to in the fleet today. Presently, they control multiple aircraft using radar displays and issue flight instructions to pilots using voice radio communications. Inside the NASIF, they had the ability to send and receive digital instructions to aircraft, in addition to using voice instructions.

The Sailors utilized actual shipboard CATCC radar consoles with software modified to send air traffic controllers’ digital instructions and receive digital responses from the air vehicle. The program’s ship interface systems team lead Kevin Kjose noted that the air traffic controllers did not have to learn a new skill set, just a different way to deliver commands to aircraft.

“After the learning curve the first day, we realized it was not too much for our controllers to handle,” said Lt. John Woods, CVN 72 CATCC Officer. “We do see that there is a clear advantage to using this technology in the future.”

Each nine-person air traffic control team completed approximately 20 simulated test scenarios. Controller workload was captured during these scenarios by testing a combination of digital and voice messaging test conditions with a mixture of manned and unmanned aircraft. During early scenarios, the controllers relayed verbal commands to a UAV mission operator elsewhere on the “ship” who entered digital commands to control the vehicle. Later in the week they graduated to testing advanced scenarios, using integrated digital messaging capability and higher levels of system automation.

“A major objective for our program is to demonstrate a completely digital carrier control environment where any aircraft could utilize this technology in the future, but we need to introduce that technology incrementally to allow controllers to embrace change,” Kjose said. “As we bring the X-47B demonstrators to the carrier for sea trials, controllers will continue to use voice control for manned aircraft operations, but in the not too distant future, users will become more proficient with digital technology and will look for the ability to fully integrate air wing operations with manned and unmanned aircraft.”

The tests demonstrated the controllers’ effectiveness to manage operations in the carrier control area. Engineers measured the time it took operators to send and transmit messages, calculated from button actions, message times and voice recordings. They also looked at the impact on the controllers’ visual senses by using a tracking camera to record eye movement. Overloading visual senses can lead to reduced performance, which is why human factors engineers seek to organize the on-screen displays and controls in the most efficient manner possible.

“We wanted to find out if the system was easy to use; did the display promote effective mission task completion; and if users felt comfortable with autonomous operations,” said John Winters, a human factors engineer who helped design the software.

The concept provides functionality improvements with a goal of decreasing controller work load, which will help improve safety, Kjose said. For example, controllers will not need to ask pilots for fuel state updates every 10 minutes like they do today. Instead, updates will be automatically populated and displayed on the carrier’s Integrated Ships Information System (ISIS).

Another improvement is controllers can send digital messages to specific aircraft at any time during flight. Aircraft routinely land aboard carriers at 60 second intervals and controllers are restricted from speaking on the radios during the last 20 seconds prior to landing. For controllers, it’s a huge advantage to communicate directly with other aircraft while one is on final approach, he added.

“The digital data link definitely adds flexibility that is not there today,” said Chief Air Traffic Controller (SW/AW) Robert Rygg.

The extensive modeling and simulation of launch and recovery operations conducted in the NASIF by fleet users allowed the UCAS-D team to evaluate integration of manned and unmanned aircraft flight operations and the effects on human operators utilizing new digital messaging technology.

“The information the CVN 70 and CVN 72 teams gave this program is going to help revolutionize carrier operations, Kjose said. “We are laying the groundwork for future carrier-based operations.”

IAF SU-30MKI`s Upgrade talks

India has opened talks with Russia to upgrade its fleet of air superiority Sukhoi Su-30s with a new radar and avionics to make the fighters more lethal than what they already are. The upgrades are likely to begin in 2015.  However, a debate is currently in progress between the two nations on India getting full access to all software and equipment design of the new systems that will be integrated on the upgraded Sukhois.

"We have begun talks with Russia on modifying the Sukhois and giving them the latest technologies," the officer said of the combat jets that were first inducted by IAF in 1997. The planes, considered to be in the heavy category of fighter aircraft, are the most advanced the IAF has and is the frontline plane for all forms of airborne warfare. 

"The modified Sukhoi will be an entirely new plane in terms of radar and avionics," said the officer, who is in the know of the discussions with Russia. "We are currently holding a dialogue with Russia for full access to software and design of equipment to be integrated to the aircraft," he added. 

India has raised eight of the 14 planned Sukhoi squadrons till now with the ninth squadron planned for raising in Sirsa, Haryana, in December. Six months from then, India will raise its 10th Sukhoi squadron in the Punjab sector under the Western Air Command. 

This will be the third and fourth Su-30MKI squadron of the IAF to be deployed close to the Pakistan border in two years, after Jodhpur in Rajasthan in October 2011 and Halwara in Punjab in September 2012.  It also plans to raise two more squadrons in the eastern sector, adding to the existing two squadrons there. 

Besides, four more Sukhoi squadrons will be raised by 2015, completing the entire 272-plane complement of the fleet.  After the raising of these squadrons, India will start upgrading the fleet beginning with the first 50 Sukhois it had inducted in 1997. India has till now lost three Sukhoi planes in crashes - the first one in April 2009, the second in November 2009 and the third in December 2011. While two IAF pilots were killed in the first accident, two pilots each bailed out to safety in the second and third crashes. 

The twin-seater Sukhois are also being modified for carrying the India-Russia joint venture BrahMos supersonic cruise missile. 

Future Weapon System for Indian Armed Forces

P8i Poseidon

Boeing proposed the P-8I, a customized export variant of the P-8A, to the Indian Navy. In 2009, the Ministry of Defence of India signed an agreement with Boeing for the supply of eight P-8I Poseidons at a total cost of US$2.1 billion. These aircraft would replace Indian Navy's aging Tupolev Tu-142M maritime surveillance turboprops. Each aircraft will cost about US$220 million. The deal not only made India the first international customer of the P-8, but also marked Boeing's first military sale to India.

On May 12, 2010 Boeing announced that it received the Data Link II communications technology for the Indian Navy’s P-8I from Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) in April, one month ahead of schedule. BEL delivered the Indian-designed communications system that will enable exchange of tactical data and messages between Indian Navy aircraft, ships and shore establishments. In 2012 , India have already received 3 of these aircraft's.


SPYDER is a low-level, quick-reaction, surface-to-air missile (LLQRM) system capable of engaging aircraft, helicopters, unmanned air vehicles, drones and precision-guided munitions. The system provides air defence for fixed assets and for point and area defence for mobile forces in combat areas.

The SPYDER-SR (short range) system has 360° engagement capability and the missiles can be launched from the full-readiness state in less than five seconds post target confirmation. The kill range is specified as being less than 1km to more than 15km. The altitudes range from a minimum of 20m to a maximum of 9,000m. The system is capable of multi-target simultaneous engagement and also single, multiple and ripple firing, by day and night and in all weathers.

Rafael is developing a medium-range version, SPYDER-MR, which has a range over 35km at altitudes from 20m to 16km. SPYDER-MR carries eight missiles while SPYDER-SR has four. SPYDER-MR also has new IAI/Elta MF-STAR surveillance radar.

The main components of the SPYDER system are the truck-mounted command and control unit, the missile firing unit with Python 5 and Derby missiles, a field service vehicle and missile supply vehicle. The system can launch missiles in two modes of operation: lock on before launch (LOBL) and lock on after launch (LOAL).

A typical SPYDER squadron consists of one mobile command and control unit (CCU) and four mobile firing units (MFU). The mobile CCU is equipped with a surveillance radar and two operator stations with a radio datalink between the CCU and the four MFUs.

Hypersonic Brahmos II

Work on the air-launched version of the missile is in the final stages and BrahMos scientists are now waiting for the Su-30MKI aircraft from India to act as a platform for test launch of the missile.

The air-launched version, will be lighter and smaller than the land-based version of the missile so that it can be fitted to the aircraft. One of the two speed boosters in the missile has been removed for the air version of the weapon system as after being launched from an aircraft moving at a speed of more than 1.5 mach, the missile will automatically gain its momentum and maintain its speed of 2.8 mach, the sources said.

After being released from the aircraft, the missile will have a free fall of about 150 metres before getting activated and flying to its target. The range and speed of the missile will remain the same as that of its land and ship-launched versions, they said.

For the integration of the aircraft with the missile, two of IAF Su-30 MKI planes will be used. These aircraft would be the part of the 40 additional Su-30s, for which orders were placed in 2006.

Soon after induction into the IAF, the two aircraft will be sent back to Russia where their airframe will be strengthened to carry the missile in their underbelly, the source said adding, they are expected to be inducted into the operational service of both India and Russia by 2012.

A joint Russian-Indian company has started the development of a cruise missile capable of flying at Mach 5, which will make it 'impossible to intercept'. BrahMos-2 will be the next generation of the highly successful the BrahMos missile already used by Indian military.

The BrahMos missile (the acronym stands for Brahmaputra-Moscow) has been in development since 1998 and had its first successful test launch in 2001. Russia provided the design of its P-800 Oniks missile as the basis of the project while India developed its guidance system. It has a maximum speed of Mach 2.8, making it is the world's fastest cruise missile.

The BrahMos-2 is expected to have twice the speed of the current version, which, the developers say, will make it practically immune to all existing missile defence systems.


F-INSAS is a Ultra Mordern Programme that has been taken up to equip Indian infantry with the future weaponry, communication network and instant access to information on the battlefield.

This program is similar to the future soldier programs of other nations. F-INSAS includes a fully networked all-terrain, all-weather personal-equipment platform, enhanced firepower and mobility for the digitalised battlefield of the future. The weight carried by soldiers will need to be reduced by at least 50%.

The fully integrated Infantry of tomorrow will be equipped with mission-oriented equipment integrated with his buddy soldier team, the sub-unit, as also the overall C4I2 (Command, Control, Communications Computers, Information and Intelligence) system.

Falcon AWACS

The induction of the Phalcon comes as a tremendous force multiplier in the present standoff between India and Pakistan. The only platforms offering such a capability, albeit a limited one, are the spy planes of the R&AW's Aviation Research Centre and the IAF's fleet of Israeli-built Heron and Searcher-II drones.

The aircraft can do this using its Israeli-built AEW mission suite called the Phalcon, mounted on a Russian-built IL-76 transport aircraft. The system is used for tactical surveillance of airborne and surface targets and intelligence gathering to a radius of over 400 km. The solid-state phased array Elta EL/M-2075 radar is mounted on a radome above the fuselage. The electronically steered beam provides a 360 degree coverage around the aircraft and it carries air force personnel on board to analyse the data and steer fighter aircraft.

"AEWs have a three-fold advantage of flexibility-they can be deployed anywhere, provide much better coverage because they are mounted on an elevated platform and carry control systems and datalinks, which can be used to vector your own fighter aircraft," says Air Marshal V.K. Bhatia, former western air commander.

MMRCA - Rafale

The Indian Air Force Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) Competition, commonly known as the MRCA Tender, is an ongoing competition to supply the Indian Air Force with 126 Multi-Role Combat Aircraft. The Defence Ministry has allocated Rs. 42,000 crore for the purchase of these aircraft (Approx. US$10.5 billion).

Six aircraft were bid for this multi-billion dollar contract, which has been touted as India's single largest defense deal ever. India choose Rafale as winner and it is believed that it will be signed by 2013 and by 2020 , IAF will receive all 126 of these kinds of fighters. 

INS Vikramaditya &IAC 1

INS Vikramaditya  is the new name for the former Soviet aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, which has been procured by India, and is estimated to enter service in the Indian Navy after 2013.

The Vikramaditya is a modified Type 1143 Kiev class aircraft carrier built in 1978-1982 at Black Sea Shipyard, Mykolaiv, Ukraine. The ship is presently being extensively refitted at Sevmash shipyard in Russia. It is projected to replace India's only currently serving aircraft carrier, INS Viraat.

The Vikrant class aircraft carriers (formerly, the Project 71 "Air Defence Ship" (ADS)) are the first aircraft carriers of the Indian Navy to be designed and built in India. They are being built by Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL).

The Vikrant class carriers will be the largest warships built by CSL. Work on the lead vessel of the class started in 2008, and the keel was laid in February 2009. Eighty percent of works on the carrier will be completed before its launch in 2010. The first carrier of the class was expected to enter service by 2012, but was delayed by a year reportedly due to the inability of Russia to supply the AB/A grade steel. This led to SAIL creating facilities to manufacture the steel in India.

Ballistic Missile Defence

The Indian Ballistic Missile Defense Program is an initiative to develop and deploy a multi-layered Ballistic Missile Defence.

Introduced in light of the ballistic missile threat from Pakistan, it is a two tiered system consisting of two interceptor missiles, namely the Prithvi Air Defence (PAD) missile for high altitude interception, and the Advanced Air Defence (AAD) Missile for lower altitude interception. The two-tiered shield should be able to intercept any incoming missile launched 5,000 kilometers away.

PAD was tested in November 2006, followed by AAD in December 2007. With the test of the PAD missile, India became the fourth country to have successfully developed an Anti-ballistic missile system, after United States, Russia and Israel. On March 6, 2009, India again successfully tested its missile defense shield, during which an incoming "enemy" missile was intercepted at an altitude of 75 km.

INS Arihant

INS Arihant (S-73) is the lead ship of India's Arihant class of nuclear-powered submarines. The 5,000–6,000 tonne vessel was built under the Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) project at the Ship Building Centre in Visakhapatnam.

The symbolic launch ceremony for the Arihant was held on July 26, 2009 marked the anniversary of Vijay Diwas (Kargil War Victory Day). It was reported that the nuclear reactor and other systems were not included at the time of the submarine's launch.

Full integration of key systems and Sea trials are expected to be extensive. The name of the vessel, Arihant is in Sanskrit and literally translates into destroyer of enemies.

The completion of the INS Arihant will make India one of six countries in the world with the ability to design, build, and operate its own nuclear submarines (the others being the United States, the UK, Russia, France, and China).


The Sukhoi PAK FA is a fifth generation fighter aircraft being developed by Sukhoi OKB for the Russian Air Force.

The current prototype is Sukhoi's T-50. The PAK FA when fully developed is intended to replace the MiG-29 Fulcrum and Su-27 Flanker in the Russian inventory and serve as the basis of the Sukhoi/HAL FGFA project being developed with India. A fifth generation jet fighter, it is designed to directly compete with Lockheed Martin's F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II. The T-50 performed its first flight January 29, 2010. Its second flight was on February 6 and its third on February 12.

Sukhoi director Mikhail Pogosyan has projected a market for 1000 aircraft over the next four decades, which will be produced in a joint venture with India, two hundred each for Russia and India and six hundred for other countries. The Sukhoi/HAL Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) is a fifth-generation fighter being developed by Russia and India. It is a derivative project from the PAK FA (T-50 is the prototype) being developed for the Indian Air Force (FGFA is the official designation for the Indian version).

According to HAL chairman A.K. Baweja shortly after the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Committee meeting on 18 September 2008, the Russian aircraft will be a single-seater, the Indian FGFA will be a twin seater, analogous to the Su-30MKI which is a twin seat variant of the baseline Su-30. Two separate prototypes will be developed, one by Russia (designated the T-50), and a separate one by India (designated FGFA). 

Trident II D5 successful test launch

The U.S. Navy supported the Oct. 23 launch of a U.K. Royal Navy Trident II D5 Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM) built by Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT). The unarmed missile was launched from the submerged Royal Navy submarine HMS Vigilant in the Atlantic Ocean. The test marked the 143rd successful test flight of the Trident II D5 missile since design completion in 1989 – a reliability record unmatched by any other large ballistic missile or space launch vehicle.

“The Royal Navy and the U.S. Navy continue to demonstrate the readiness and reliability of this highly capable system, whose mission is to discourage aggression,” said Melanie A. Sloane, vice president of Fleet Ballistic Missile programs, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, the Trident missile prime contractor.

“The cooperation of both governments, supported by industry, provides a credible submarine-based strategic deterrent.”

The test, which was part of a Demonstration and Shakedown Operation that verified the integrity of the strategic weapon system following an overhaul of the submarine, was the 10th consecutive successful Trident II D5 missile test flight by the U.K. since 1994.

The missile was converted into a test configuration using a test missile kit produced by Lockheed Martin that contains range safety devices, tracking systems and flight telemetry instrumentation.

First deployed in 1990, the D5 missile is currently aboard U.S. Navy OHIO-class and Royal Navy VANGUARD-class submarines. The three-stage, solid-propellant, inertial-guided ballistic missile can travel a nominal range of 4,000 nautical miles and carries multiple independently targeted reentry vehicles.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems has been the U.S. Navy’s prime strategic missile contractor since the inception of the Fleet Ballistic Missile program more than 50 years ago.

Since 1968, Lockheed Martin has provided program support to the Royal Navy under the terms of the 1963 U.S.-U.K. Polaris Sales Agreement, which was modified in 1982 to provide for the Trident II D5 ballistic missile system.

Lockheed Martin provides program management and engineering services for the United Kingdom’s Trident missile system through an annual contract funded by the U.K. Royal Navy, with work performed at facilities in the U.S. and the U.K.

Lockheed Martin leads the industry in performance and domain expertise in strategic missile and missile defense systems. Lockheed Martin designs and produces ballistic missiles, interceptors, target missiles and reentry systems with unmatched reliability. Lockheed Martin’s focus on operational excellence yields affordable high-quality systems and services.

New mini UAV`s

General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems and the U.S. Army Armament Research and Development Engineering Center (ARDEC) have successfully demonstrated a GPS-guided munition for use on small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV).

The testing consisted of three separate engagements using a Tiger Shark UAV launching an 81mm mortar equipped with General Dynamics’ Roll Control Fixed Canard control system and an ARDEC-developed fuzing solution. All three mortars were launched from a UAV at altitudes of approximately 7,000 ft and guided to within seven meters of a GPS-identified target grid.

“This effort demonstrated a low-cost, tactical version of a GPS strike weapon for UAV platforms,” said Mark Schneider, general manager of General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems’ Seattle operations. “Together with ARDEC, we have demonstrated a weapon in the 10-pound class for tactical UAVs that can be used to quickly engage and defeat targets. Advancements in GPS targeting and data-link technology provide a built-in growth path for this demonstrated technology.”

“The Air Drop Mortar (ADM) program with General Dynamics provided a platform to successfully demonstrate and mature subsystems including communication links, munition deployment, guidance and control and fuzing,” said Tony Sebasto, senior associate for Munitions at ARDEC. “The utilization of existing mortar production components, along with demonstrated guidance and control and fuzing, gives the U.S. warfighter an option for a very affordable and very capable precision strike weapon.”

Designed to meet the needs of the Army, Marine Corps and Special Forces for a rapid target response capability, the ADM uses existing mortar inventory to provide a low-cost, lightweight weapon system with proven energetics. The General Dynamics’ patented Roll Controlled Fixed Canard (RCFC) guidance kit, with an innovative flight-control and GPS-based guidance and navigational system adds precision-strike capability to existing mortars.

The nose-mounted guidance kit replaces existing mortar fuzes and has been successfully demonstrated on multiple mortar calibers in both air-drop and tube-launch applications. The kit provides a common, multi-platform Guidance, Navigation and Control (GNC) and integrated weapon system for unmanned aircraft.

Qatar asks for THAAD

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress November 2 of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Qatar for two Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Fire Units and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $6.5 billion.

The Government of Qatar has requested a possible sale of 2 Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Fire Units, 12 THAAD Launchers, 150 THAAD Interceptors, 2 THAAD Fire Control and Communications, 2 AN/TPY-2 THAAD Radars, and 1 Early Warning Radar (EWR).

Also included are fire unit maintenance equipment, prime movers (trucks), generators, electrical power units, trailers, communications equipment, tools, test and maintenance equipment, repair and return, system integration and checkout, spare/repair parts, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor technical and logistics personnel support services, and other related support elements.

The estimated cost is $6.5 billion.

This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a friendly country that has been and continues to be an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East.

This proposed sale will help strengthen U.S. efforts to promote regional stability by enhancing regional defense capabilities of a key U.S. partner. The proposed sale will help strengthen Qatar’s capability to counter current and future threats in the region and reduce dependence on U.S. forces. Qatar will have no difficulty absorbing this weapon system into its armed forces.

The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The principal contractors are Lockheed Martin Space Systems Corporation in Sunnyvale, California, and the sub-contractor is Raytheon Corporation in Andover, Massachusetts.

There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale at this time.

Implementation of this proposed sale will require periodic travel of up to13 U.S. Government and contractor representatives to Qatar for an undetermined period for delivery, system checkout, and training as determined by the schedule. There is no known adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.

This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.

Iron Dome upgrades

The Ministry of Defense officially announced this evening that a series of tests to the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system has been successfully completed, an important step in the IDF’s plans to upgrade the system.

Following the tests, IDF forces will acquire an additional Iron Dome battery, this one with improved capabilities. The new battery, which will be the IDF’s fifth, will soon be transferred to the IAF.

The series of tests was designed to broaden the activities of the Iron Dome system and to improve its capabilities against an unprecedented variety of threats. The advancement of the system will enable it to handle the threats posed by the Fajr and Zelzal missiles.

The tests were carried out by the staff of the Defense Ministry’s Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure. They tested upgrades including improvements to the system’s radar, which should enable it to operate more quickly and smoothly and to cope with broader threats than in the past.

“This is another brilliant achievement of those involved in improving the capabilities of the system,” said Defense Minister Ehud Barak. “The defense establishment invests large sums in the multi-layered anti-missile defense system, which within several years is expected to protect the entire territory of the State of Israel. The success of the tests is a significant step toward the completion of this defense system, and in the future it will require the allocation of additional resources for this matter.”

Upgrades of M-346 advanced trainer aircraft

Northrop Grumman has been selected by prime contractor Alenia Aermacchi to provide the Attitude Heading Reference System (AHRS) for the Israel Ministry of Defense’s M-346 advanced trainer aircraft fleet.

Northrop Grumman Italia will provide the LISA-200 AHRS for the fighter trainer under a new contract that builds on its five-year experience as a supplier for the M-346 programme.

“The LISA-200 is ideally suited to meet the rigorous standards set by the M-346, which is one of the world’s most modern and advanced jet trainer systems,” said Marco Clochiatti, managing director and general manager of Northrop Grumman Italia.

“This award builds on prior collaboration with Alenia Aermacchi through programmes such as the Eurofighter and exemplifies Northrop Grumman’s navigation leadership in international markets.”

Based on accurate and reliable fibre-optic gyro technology, the LISA-200 AHRS incorporates advanced features such as a high-speed data refresh rate and output to fulfill the stringent requirements of a fly-by-wire quadruple-redundant control system. Northrop Grumman Italia has delivered more than 4,000 LISA-200 systems worldwide.

The twin-turbofan M-346 is a highly advanced lead-in fighter trainer. It offers fully digital flight controls and avionics, along with high angle-of-attack manoeuvering.

Mini BRAHMOS for MIG-29K`s

Brahmos Aerospace gave Navy Recognition an update on the status of Brahmos Mini during INDODEFENCE 2012, the Tri-service defence exhibition currently being held in Jakarta. While the mini version will be significantly reduced in size, the Indian-Russian joint venture is focusing on retaining the same speed, range and overall performance as the original, larger missile.

While the regular Brahmos missile already equips Indian Army and Indian Navy, the first drop tests from a SU-30MKI will occur in the next 5 to 6 months. Integration work on the platform has already occured for quite some time now in India with the participation of HAL, Sukhoi and the Indian MOD.

However Brahmos Aerospace has the feeling that with a smaller missile, it will be able to be present on many platforms. The company's first focus will be the integration of the future Brahmos mini on future Indian platforms such as the Rafale (winner of MMRCA) and Mig-29K of Indian navy.

Early work on Brahmos Mini is aimed at reducing many systems of the original missile, and the target weight for the "mini" version is 1.5 tons while retaining the original speed (Mach 2.8) and range 290 Km. First live tests could be conducted in about 2 years while subsystems trials are currently being conducted.

The first platform to be integrated with Brahmos Mini will be of Russian origin, possible the Mig-29K of the Indian Navy. Brahmos Mini will be capable of withstanding aircraft carrier deck landings as the heavier, 2.5 tons missile already withstands all sorts of stress when launched from the various existing launchers. 

While no talks have occured yet between Brahmos Aerospace and Dassault Aviation they plan to start contacts once the first missile tests have occured. 

Regarding weapon loads, the Indian-Russian Joint Venture believes that after the required development and testing, both Mig-29K and Rafale should be able to carry between 1 and 3 Brahmos Mini.

On a larger scale, Brahmos Aerospace is confident that Brahmos Mini will open a huge potential market for the company, with specifications that very few competitors will be able to match.

Finally, regarding its presence at Indo Defence, Brahmos Aerospace told us that a lot of countries from the area have expressed interest for its land attack and anti-ship missile. 

J-31 a new challenge for Indian Navy

Was last week’s inaugural flight of China’s second stealth fighter linked to the ongoing 18th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party? Was President Hu Jintao demonstrating his relationship with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), a powerful lever for elevating his protégés to the apex Politburo Standing Committee?

Several unanswered questions surround the October 31 debut of the J-31 Shenyang fighter, which the pathologically secretive PLA took unusual pains to publicise. Having already unveiled the J-20 Chengdu stealth fighter in January 2011, China is the only country that is developing two separate stealth fighters. The US is developing the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, albeit in three versions; Russia is working on a single design, the PAK-FA, to which India has hitched its wagon. Separately, Japan is developing the ATD-X demonstrator.

Other intriguing questions include: Given the J-31’s close resemblance to the US F-35 fighter, has China reverse-engineered it from blueprints that Lockheed Martin had reported stolen in 2009 from the computers of six American aerospace subcontractors? Is the J-31 for export only, which would explain the publicity that the PLA is giving it? Or will the PLA use the J-31 as an air superiority fighter while the larger J-20 strikes ground targets, an allocation of roles that mirrors the employment of the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 by the US Air Force? Or is the F-31 a competitor to the J-20, with the better of the two designs destined to go into production?

But the question that most worries the Indian Navy is: does the sturdy landing gear that experts have spotted on the J-31 indicate that the new fighter will operate from Chinese aircraft carriers, giving the PLA Navy, or PLA(N), an aerial combat capability that would outmuscle India’s in the Indian Ocean?

China is focusing keenly on naval air power. Just a month ago China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, had joined the PLA(N) fleet. The 58,500-tonne Liaoning — bought as scrap from Ukraine for a floating casino, but then renovated in Dalian shipyard into an operational carrier — is the PLA(N)’s first attempt at learning the complex skills of aircraft carrier operations. This is difficult learning. The US Navy lost some 12,000 aircraft and 8,500 airmen from 1949-1988 in developing its naval aviation skills. But Indian planners believe the Chinese will learn quickly, especially when the Liaoning is joined by more modern aircraft carriers that are already being built in China.

Indian Navy planners tell Business Standard that the PLA(N)’s three-pronged process — learning aircraft carrier operations; building one or two modern carriers; and inducting the J-31 — could take a decade or more. But after that, PLA(N) aircraft carrier battle groups could operate in the Indian Ocean, fielding fighters that are superior to India’s.

The Indian Navy’s 45 Russian MiG-29Ks, purchased for two new aircraft carriers, are capable fighters today, but would certainly be outclassed by the stealthy J-31 whenever it enters service. The navy’s new carriers — the 44,000-tonne INS Vikramaditya that could join the fleet next year; and the unnamed, 40,000-tonne Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) that will be ready only by 2017 — are both fitted with ski-jumps that are custom-built for the MiG-29K to take off.

If the navy wants a more capable fighter, e.g. the Dassault Rafale, which the Indian Air Force is buying, or the F-35C, which is the naval version of the Joint Strike Fighter, it will need an aircraft carrier with a catapult rather than a ski-jump. If the navy designs its second IAC (a 60,000-tonne vessel that is still being conceptualised) with a catapult on the flight deck, a fifth-generation stealth fighter could soon follow.

The navy has already signaled such an interest. In 2006, and again in 2007, New Delhi asked Lockheed Martin (which runs the F-35 programme) for briefings on the F-35B, a short take off and vertical landing (STOVL) variant that the US Marine Corps will fly off its smaller aircraft carriers called Landing Helicopter Docks. While the F-35B could operate from a ski-jump, the F-35C needs a catapult to propel it off the flight deck.

Will the J-31 push the navy towards more advanced fighters and a second IAC with catapult assisted launch? All options remain on the table. Then naval chief, Admiral Nirmal Verma, speaking in Delhi on August 7 shortly before he retired, did not rule out “having an entirely different carrier with a different complement of aircraft.”

That decision, however, would be a difficult one, keeping in mind that two carriers would already be fielding the MiG-29K, and a new fighter would complicate training and logistics.

“I can’t rule out anything or rule in anything. It is something at the concept stage and it will take a couple of years before we firm up our ideas on this,” said Admiral Verma.

The navy’s eyes will be focused on the Zhuhai Air Show, in China, in mid-November for more details that might emerge about China’s new stealth fighter.

60 Gripen combat aircraft needed for Swedish defense

Radio Sweden is reporting that Sweden needs at least 60 Gripen combat aircraft in the future. That is the message the Swedish Armed Forces Supreme Commander Sverker Göransson, told a parliamentary hearing on Thursday.
More from the Radio Sweden report:

“Sweden needs 60-80 fighter aircraft to meet the technical and operational threat scenario, “says Armed Forces Supreme Commander Sverker Goranson. The government has asked for a parliamentary mandate to buy 40-60 planes.  The armed forces could not provide details of what initiatives are needed and what they would cost if the number of Super-Jas, the so-called E-model of the JAS 39 Gripen, was to reach 60.

The first Super-Jas plane made by Saab aerospace is expected to be operational from 2023 and will be used until 2042. Defence Ministry State Secretary Carl von der Esch said that the total annual cost for the system is estimated at SEK3 billion starting from next year, ie a total of SEK 90 billion.

Parliament will decide in December whether to allow the Government to order between 40-60 planes.

India to test 8 interceptor missile tests within Nov

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is set to conduct its eighth ballistic interceptor missile test any day between November 19 and 22.

V.K. Saraswat, Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister, said that while the attacker, a modified Prithvi missile, would take off from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur, Odisha, the interceptor would blast off from the Wheeler Island and pounce on the attacker in endo-atmosphere at an altitude of 15 km to 16 km. The interceptor missile is called Advanced Air Defence (AAD) system. While the attacker would mimic the path of a ballistic missile launched from a hostile country, the AAD would race at a supersonic speed to intercept the attacker and destroy it.

As the crow flies, the Wheeler Island, off Dhamra village on the Odisha coast, is 70 km away from Chandipur. Asked what improvements were made in this interceptor mission, Dr. Saraswat said the modified Prithvi missile would have a higher velocity.

“We have improved the accuracy of the interception in the endo-atmosphere… The interceptor will be launched in a hit-to-kill mode,” he added. The Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) programme aims at protecting India’s vital assets from being targeted by the ballistic missiles launched by hostile neighbours.

Of the seven interceptor missiles tests conducted by the DRDO so far, six have been successful. The first interceptor mission took place in November 2006 in exo-atmosphere at an altitude of 48 km and it was successful. The second test, again successful, took place in December 2007 in endo-atmosphere at an altitude of 15 km. Out of the seven tests, five took place in endo-atmosphere at a height less than 20 km.

After the seventh interceptor missile test on February 10, 2012, Dr. Saraswat asserted that the success confirmed that India’s BMD programme in the endo-atmosphere “is now ready for deployment and the country is now in a position to take it to the next phase of production and induction.”

The maiden launch of Nirbhay, India’s sub-sonic cruise missile, has been further delayed. The launch, which was to take place in November this year, will now be done in January 2013, Dr. Saraswat said.

A DRDO official said the Nirbhay launch was delayed because modifications had to be made in the launcher. While India already had had a successful supersonic cruise missile in BrahMos, it felt the need to develop a sub-sonic cruise missile. Hence the development of Nirbhay, which would fly at 0.65 Mach. The Aeronautical Development Establishment, a DRDO unit in Bangalore, designed Nirbhay, which had been derived from Lakshya, a pilotless target aircraft. Nirbhay is a two-stage, surface-to-surface, terrain-hugging missile. “It takes the oxidiser from the air. So it can travel for a longer duration and a longer distance. Its range is around 1,000 km.”

Vietnam and Israel getting closed in Arms deal

A small arms deal and negotiations that may lead to additional deals have positioned Vietnam as a key objective of many Israeli industries. "Vietnam has tremendous potential," says Lior Kunitzki, Deputy CEO of the Israel Export & International Cooperation Institute.

The parade of senior executives from Israeli defense industries and the Israel defense establishment, who visited Vietnam in the summer of 2012, leaves no room for doubt: this South-East Asian country has been marked as a primary objective for trade and sales activities.

However, will Vietnam actually become a major client of the Israeli defense industries? The potential is deemed to be high. Vietnam has a number of on-going border disputes with its neighbors, which motivate it to acquire modern weapon systems. 

Additionally, the central government wishes to secure numerous strategic installations, so as to ensure its own survival. One of these border disputes, considered to be relatively minor, is currently under way between Vietnam and Laos, over territories in the rain forests. Several on-going disputes involve islands and territorial waters. 

One of them pertains to the Spratly islands – a group of more than 700 tiny islands and reefs located half way between the estuary of the Mekong River and the southern Philippines. The issue of ownership of these islands is almost as complex as the Middle East problem: China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam all present ownership claims. Each one of these countries began airing the yellowing documents it possesses the moment it was established that there are major oil and gas deposits on the continental shelf. In 2011, Chinese forces attacked Vietnamese vessels engaged in preliminary surveys in preparation for oil exploration in two different incidents.

Another on-going border dispute involves the Paracel islands and sections of the border with Cambodia. To this date, these disputes have not amounted to anything more serious than occasional exchanges of fire, but they might definitely escalate.

Such Good Friends

The US currently regards Vietnam as a very friendly country. This fact makes it possible for US companies to supply various types of armament to Vietnam.

The relationship between Israel and Vietnam has warmed up considerably over the course of 2011. Following months of behind-the-scenes contacts, this warm-up was reflected in a state visit by Israeli President Shimon Peres, who was accompanied by dozens of Israeli business people, notably senior executives from the defense industries. Sources in Israel explain that Vietnam needs several types of weapon systems, according to the characteristics of the border disputes in different areas.

Another substantial market in Vietnam involves Homeland Security – HLS. Here the range of relevant products extends from monitoring and surveillance systems to riot control gear. In Vietnam, there was always tension between the north and the south, and the central government is fully aware of this and wants to ensure that the situation is under control.

Experts say that Vietnam regards Israel as a source for knowledge and equipment the government seeks, mainly for the Vietnam People's Army (VPA) – the name for all of the country's armed forces. The organizational structure of the VPA was inspired by the Chinese People's Liberation Army. It consists of the land forces (which include strategic rear-area forces and a border guard), the navy, the air force and the coast guard.

According to current estimates, some 500,000 officers and other ranks serve in Vietnam's military. The government also organizes local militia in the provinces as well as local police forces. The involvement of the armed forces in the country's social life has gradually decreased since the 1980s.

A senior defense establishment source told Israel Defense that Vietnam is a growing country that currently possesses outdated Russian and Chinese military equipment. The country faces a number of significant military threats, and therefore requires western capabilities and advanced technologies.

According to this source, Israel is a classic ally – a country possessing proven military technology, free of any political premium and other constraints, and with the willingness to transfer capabilities and know-how.

The same source estimates that in the coming years, Vietnam will evolve into a major client of the Israeli defense industries as well as into an ally, in many respects. He added that the level of cooperation will not be as high as with India, but will definitely be substantial.

As far as the defense field is concerned, the Vietnamese are interested in several major items: upgrading of outdated equipment, such as aircraft and helicopters; advanced artillery systems; fast patrol boats; aerial radar systems and state-of-the-art communication systems.

Some 'serious' negotiations are already in progress between several Israeli defense industries and the Vietnamese Ministry of Defense. Last year, a major deal was signed between Vietnam and Israeli arms manufacturer IWI, in the context of which the Israeli company will establish an arms manufacturing plant on Vietnamese soil. Project scope is estimated at more than $100 million. This year, most of the negotiations currently under way between Israeli and Vietnamese parties are yet to mature into deals of any substance.

"The government is highly centralized, but the situation is promising," said sources in Israel. Procurement processes, so it seems, are relatively short.

The government of Vietnam is concerned about its own survival and wishes to be aware of all on-going developments in order to avoid surprises. This creates a demand for various surveillance systems in the fields of communication and optics.

"In the field of HLS," says Lior Kunitzki, Deputy CEO of the Israel Export & International Cooperation Institute, "Vietnam is a good potential market. The Ministry of Public Security has shown interest in several projects based on equipment developed by Israel to high levels of performance. Vietnam has several major integrators in the field of Homeland Security, and negotiations are under way mainly with them."

One of the major Vietnamese corporations is the government-owned GTEL. According to a number of sources, this company is already negotiating with Israeli industries for state-of-the-art internal security equipment.

The Israel Export & International Cooperation Institute is supported by the Economic & Trade office at the Israeli Embassy in Hanoi. According to information available to the institute, representatives of some of the Vietnamese integrators will attend the HLS conference the Institute is holding in Israel in November 2012.

Lior Kunitzki states further that thus far, the dialogs have indicated that in the field of HLS, airport and strategic installation security equipment is expected to be in high demand as well.

He estimates that the first contracts involving HLS equipment will be signed in the next two years. "Vietnam has tremendous potential, and they know exactly what Israel can give them in this field," concludes Kunitzki

Steyr Mannlicher STM556 AR-15 Rifle

The most important innovation of this rifle is the quick change barrel. The barrel can be easily remove by the removing bolts that attach the gas block onto the one piece upper receiver/handguard. The STM556 is fully ambidextrous and is fitted with a Magpul stock and pistol grip.

Steyr has finally introduced a credible modern service rifle (long ago having ceded development of the Steyr AUG to the Australians). This rifle, with its premium features, looks like a strong competitor to the SIG516 and the HK416. If the rest of the world follows the USMC lead and introduces IAR-style machine guns, the STM556 with its quick change barrel will have a distinct advantage over the before-mentioned competitors.

It appears as though Steyr might have a new rifle in the works. This rifle is a pretty large departure from anything in their current catalog, it's an AR-pattern rifle. Naturally, Steyr isn't content to make just another AR-15 and this upcoming rifle will stand out from the pack. 

Called the STM 556, this rifle features a monolithic upper and quad-railed handguard that implements a quick-change barrel system. The rifle uses a short-stroke gas piston-operating system, and it's adjustable with four positions for normal, over- and under-gassed settings as well as shut off. 

While we're not positive that the rifle will be available in this configuration, photos of it at Strategie & Technik show the STM completely decked out in Magpul accessories, not just limited to furniture but also including an ambidextrous bolt release, a windowed magazine and back-up iron sights. Magpul does not recommend that their polymer MBUS sights be mounted on railed gas blocks so we wouldn't be surprised if this isn't the way Steyr plans on shipping their latest rifle. 

Like all Steyr rifles, the STM uses a famously-accurate cold hammer-forged barrel and famously-pretty tulip-stylized flash hider. It is chambered in 5.56x45mm NATO, and naturally can shoot .223 Remington as well. 

Details are still a little sparse, but we're going out on a pretty sturdy limb and assuming that the receivers are constructed from billet aluminum and hard-anodized. The rifle weighs 7 pounds unloaded. 

It will be interesting to see if Steyr eventually makes barrels for the STM in other calibers, too. The AR platform can host more than just 5.56, and at the very least developing a drop-in barrel chambered in .300 AAC Blackout seems like an obviously natural addition. 

The photos of the STM 556 show that it is a select-fire rifle. We can assume that for now the STM is being developed for military and law enforcement use, and that there could be a wait before Steyr produces a variant for the commercial market. 

We also doubt this is an end to the Steyr AUG. Just because they're making AR rifles now doesn't mean that they will stop making their incredibly popular bullpup, too. What would be nice is if the STM is a low-cost alternative to the AUG, but we fully expect this to be a competitor to the HK 416 and other high-end piston-driven rifles.

From just this small amount of information and a couple of photos, we're already excited about Steyr's new gun. The AUG will always be special to us but this thing just looks great. And hopefully we'll get to see one hit American shores sooner rather than later.

Turkey discusses Patriot deployment with NATO

Turkey said Wednesday it is in talks with NATO over the possible deployment of Patriot missiles on its soil amid the escalating conflict in neighbouring Syria, but the prime minister insisted that no request has yet been made.
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters during a visit to Brussels that it was only “normal” to discuss any defence measures in the face of potential risk from Syria, according to the state-run Anatolia news agency.
Turkey has already beefed up border security with tanks and anti-aircraft batteries in the face of the deadly 20-month conflict in Syria, which has occasionally spilled over into Turkish soil.
Davutoglu would not say if his government was planning to make an official request to the transatlantic military alliance, emphasising that NATO had a responsibility in any case to protect all member states including Turkey.
But Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is currently in Indonesia, said: “We have not made such request so far,” according to Anatolia.
Davutoglu’s spokesman Selcuk Unal had told AFP earlier that discussions with NATO were under way as party of “contingency planning on the security of Turkey and NATO territories.”
A NATO official in Brussels also said: “At this point we are not aware of any Turkish request.”
US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Washington had been in discussions for “many months” with Ankara and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization “to look at what other defensive support Turkey might require.”
“My understanding is that as of today, we haven’t had a formal request of NATO, but as you know, in the past we have reinforced Turkey with Patriots,” she told journalists.
Turkey has systematically retaliated to every cross-border shelling since Syrian fire killed five Turks on October 3, also calling an emergency NATO meeting and demanding UN Security Council action over what it called a “heinous” attack.
A Turkish diplomat told AFP it was too early to directly link the possible deployment of Patriots to the Syria conflict, adding that the request for the missiles was within Turkish plans to reinforce its air defence system.
The US-made Patriot system is capable of intercepting both aircraft and missiles.
One-time allies Turkey and Syria fell out after Ankara joined Arab and Western countries in demanding that President Bashar al-Assad halt his violent crackdown on the popular uprising that erupted in March last year and has now escalated into civil war.
Turkey is home to over 110,000 Syria refugees in several camps along its border as well as exiled military and political opposition leaders.
But its pleas for a safe haven inside Syria fell on deaf ears at a UN Security Council meeting in August.
Turkey is hoping to secure more backing for its stance from the United States following the re-election of President Barack Obama, after diplomatic sources expressed disappointment with what they saw as a lack of robust action on the Syria conflict by Washington.
Erdogan said Wednesday he now expected the United States to handle the Syria crisis differently, in remarks carried by Anatolia, without elaborating.
Turkey’s Milliyet newspaper reported that the United States was considering installing Patriot missiles along the Turkey-Syria border to create some form of no-fly zone, as long as there was no involvement of ground troops in Syria.

Pakistan defence is purely security driven: Gen Wynne

The security scenario at the regional and global level is undergoing a major transformation, which has strategic implications for Pakistan, said Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Khalid Shameem Wynne on Wednesday.
As the regional security situation becomes more complex and uncertain, Pakistan’s defense industry would be compelled to develop a response that is proportionate to challenges that lie ahead, said the CJCSC.
Gen Wynne was speaking at an international seminar on ‘Security Outlook 2025 : Future Security Trends and Challenges for Defense Industry in Mounting Technological Response’.
The seminar was held under the aegis of Defense Export Promotion Organization (DEPO) and organised by Center for International Strategic Studies (CISS). It was a part of bi-annual international defence exhibition IDEAS -2012 Pakistan; starting today at Karachi Expo Center.
Gen Wynne, who was the chief guest, said that this mega-event signifies the accomplishments of Pakistan’s defence industry despite serious security challenges confronting it.
He praised the DEPO and CISS for organizing this international seminar in befitting manner which is also been participated by defence experts from 56 countries.
The IDEAS-2012 will provide a platform to exhibit latest and sophisticated weapons. It will also provide an interactive opportunity to the armed forces to review the defence needs.
He underlined the need for making investments to meet future security and economic challenges to the country.
General Wynne said that possibility of state-to-state conflict cannot be totally eliminated.
Thus, he emphasized, it is the global responsibility to address the security concerns.
He made it clear that Pakistan’s defence preparedness is purely security driven.