Sunday, 5 July 2020

Strategic-purpose missile submarine cruiser Prince Vladimir arrives in Gadzhievo


Strategic-purpose missile submarine cruiser Prince Vladimir arrives in Gadzhievo - Murmansk Bulletin

Translated by google

July 03, 2020 13:25

Photo: Lev Fedoseev

Today, Prince Vladimir, a strategic missile submarine cruiser, arrived at the main submarine base of the Northern Fleet - Gadzhievo.

On the pier, submariners were greeted by the commander of the Northern Fleet, Hero of Russia, Vice Admiral Alexander Moiseev, Governor of the Murmansk Region Andrei Chibis, representatives of the command of the Red Banner Submarine Forces of the Northern Fleet, the closed administrative-territorial formation Aleksandrovsk.

According to the report of the commander of the cruiser, Captain 1st Rank Vladislav Druzhin, the crew completed the inter-base transition tasks in full, the material part of the ship was serviceable, the personnel were healthy and ready to carry out the tasks.

Congratulating the ship’s crew on their arrival at the permanent base, the commander of the Northern Fleet, Vice Admiral Alexander Moiseev, stated that “the submarine cruiser Prince Vladimir will be part of the group of strategic submarine cruisers - the basis of the naval strategic forces of the Russian Federation.”

Vice Admiral Alexander Moiseev, who served most of his service on such cruisers, also noted that "the cruiser has the most modern weapons and unique equipment that are an effective factor in preventing armed conflicts." He also emphasized that "this is the most peaceful weapon and its use is unacceptable, it is precisely its presence and constant readiness for use that is the guarantor of Russia's peace and security."

The commander of the Northern Fleet assigned the command of the submarine forces and the crew of the cruiser the task "in the shortest possible time, taking into account the experience of testing and operating experience of the cruisers of the Borey shooting gallery, to master it, prepare it and take up combat duty."

At the pier, the submariners of "Prince Vladimir" commander of the Northern Fleet presented state and departmental awards and diplomas.

Strategic missile submarine cruiser Prince Vladimir was laid down at Sevmash on July 30, 2012. The ship was built according to the improved Borey-A project (955A) and belongs to the fourth generation of submarine nuclear submarines created for the Russian Navy.

From the first three Boreevs (the Yury Dolgoruky, Alexander Nevsky and Vladimir Monomakh submarine cruisers), the Prince Vladimir is distinguished by less noise, more advanced systems for maneuvering and keeping at depth, as well as weapon control.

“Prince Vladimir” is the fourth of the “Boreans” mastered in the Northern Fleet.

June 12, on the Day of Russia, at the Sevmash enterprise in Severodvinsk, under the leadership of the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, Admiral Nikolai Evmenov, the Naval flag was hoisted on the nuclear submarine cruiser Prince Vladimir. The cruiser entered the combat structure of the Russian Navy and was enlisted in the Red Banner Strategic Missile Submarine Division of the Northern Fleet.

Newest nuclear-powered sub enters service with Russian Navy

GKN Aerospace Continues to Support the Gripen's RM12 Engine

Andreas @flickr

GKN Aerospace Continues to Support the Gripen's RM12 Engine

$440M, four-and-a-half-year follow-on contract ensures comprehensive and cost effective RM12 engine support and availability

GKN Aerospace has signed a follow-on Performance Based Logistics (PBL) contract with the Swedish Armed Forces for the provision of comprehensive support for the GKN Aerospace RM12 engine. The RM12 engine powers the JAS 39 Gripen C/D fighter. This contract follows a series of multi-year RM12 PBL agreements and is expected to be worth approximately USD440M.

Under the agreement, GKN Aerospace will continue its support for the day-to-day operations of JAS 39 Gripen C/D users. The company will ensure engine availability for every Swedish Air Force mission as well as for Gripen C/D export customers: the Czech Republic, Hungary and Thailand. This will include the provisioning of technical product support as well as comprehensive maintenance, repair and overhaul including repair development and spare parts supply.

Joakim Andersson, President GKN Aerospace Engines said: “We are totally committed to ensuring RM12 engine availability and its secure and safe performance in all operations. At the same time GKN Aerospace closely monitors every aspect of product life cycle cost effectiveness.

 “With the recognition and award from the customer GKN Aerospace will continue to do its best in keeping this engine’s excellent track record, ensuring it is one of the best single engine installations in the world. The company understands the importance of keeping the engine system in active service for many years to come.”

The GKN Aerospace RM12 engine has powered the JAS 39 Gripen throughout the approximately 310,000 flight hours this aircraft has already achieved. It is based on the General Electric F404 engine from which it has been developed to include single engine safety criteria, higher performance and greater durability.  The primary focus of the development programme for the RM12 engine was to deliver the highest possible operational effectiveness with the most favorable life-cycle cost. GKN Aerospace holds the military type certificate (MTC) for the RM12 engine.

In January this year, FMV selected GKN Aerospace to be the product support and MRO provider for the RM16, the engine for Gripen E, with the aim to utilize synergies between the RM12 and the RM16 as much as possible.

Source: GKN Aerospace
Date: Jul 3, 2020

Gripen Multirole Fighter: Details

Japan begins refitting first of two Izumo-class carriers to support F-35B operations

sixfeeetunder (flickr)

Japan begins refitting first of two Izumo-class carriers to support F-35B operations

30 JUNE 2020

Tokyo has begun the process of converting the first of two Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Izumo-class helicopter carriers into aircraft carriers capable of supporting the operations of the short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

As confirmed by Janes on 30 June, the Japan Marine United (JMU) Corporation recently started conducting refit work on JS Izumo at the company’s Isogo shipyard in Yokohama City.

JMSDF helicopter carrier JS Izumo is seen here on 30 June undergoing a refit at the JMU Corporation’s Isogo shipyard in Yokohama City. The JMSDF has begun the process of converting Izumo into an aircraft carrier capable of supporting F-35B operations. (Kosuke Takahashi)

Janes understands that the modifications will be made in two main stages meant to coincide with the vessel’s periodic refit and overhaul programmes, which take place every five years.

While initial modifications are taking place during the refit and overhaul planned for this fiscal year, the final changes are only expected to be made during the vessel’s next overhaul in FY 2025, after which a series of tests and sea trials are expected to follow.

The 248 m-long, 24,000-tonne Izumo class has been built with weight considerations for the F-35B in various parts, including the stowage, elevators, and flight deck. However, further modifications are needed such as reinforcing the flight deck to support additional weight, placing additional guidance lights, and fitting the ship with heat-resistant deck spots for vertical landings, among other things.

It is still unclear, however, whether a ski-jump will be added.

GE lands $101.3M to build engines for F-15EX aircraft

Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew

GE lands $101.3M to build engines for F-15EX aircraft -

By Christen McCurdy

June 30 (UPI) -- General Electric was awarded $101.3 million to produce engines for F-15EX aircraft for the Air Force, the Pentagon announced Tuesday.

The deal funds the purchase and delivery of F110-GE-129 engines for the aircraft.

That includes installs, spare parts and monitoring engine monitoring system computers, according to the Department of Defense.

In 2019 a Pentagon budget estimate showed that the Air Force intended to spend nearly $7.9 billion over a five-year period to procure 80 F-15EX aircraft to replace its aging F-15 fleet.

The F-15EX is based on the F-15QA fighters Boeing has been contracted to produce for Qatar's military, the Air Force said.

The newer plane is designed to handle a crew of up to two people and include the Eagle Passive Active Warning and Survivability System and the Suite 9.1 Operational Flight Program software.

Work on the contract will be performed at GE's Cincinnati worksite and has an expected completion date of Nov. 30, 2022.

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The Air Force Wants 80 'New' F-15X Fighters. What About the F-35? | The National Interest
Pentagon To Request $1.2 Billion for 12 Boeing F-15 X Fighters
Israel Air Force selects F-15 IA over the F-35I as the new fighter jet to be acquired over the next decade

Sierra Nevada Corp. nabs $700M to supply RFCMs for Special Ops

Sierra Nevada Corp. nabs $700M to supply RFCMs for Special Ops -

By Christen McCurdy

Per a $700 million contract it received this week, Sierra Nevada Corp. will incorporate Northrop Grumman’s RFCM system on aircraft, including the AC-130J Ghostrider, seen here at Florida's Hurlburt Field in 2019. Photo by Joel Miller/U.S. Air Force

July 2 (UPI) -- Sierra Nevada Corp. won a $700 million contract this week to supply Radio Frequency Countermeasure systems for U.S. Special Operations Command, according to the Pentagon.

According to the contract, the systems, designed to "help protect aircrews from air- and land-based enemy radar and missile systems," will be integrated onto AC-130J Ghostrider and MC-130J Commando II aircraft operated by the Air Force Special Operations Command.

The contract also finances system engineering services, logistics support and spare parts for the systems.

According to SNC, the contractor will incorporate Northrop Grumman's RFCM system on aircraft to provide threat detection, precision, geolocation and active countermeasure capabilities to improve aircraft survivability, and draw on its expertise in electromagnetic and aerodynamic modeling to maximize the system's performance.

"We are excited to expand our solutions for SOF warfighters," said Bob Horky, senior vice president for Sierra Nevada Corp's ISR, Aviation and Security business area. "The aircraft they operate need the protection RFCM provides."

Saturday, 4 July 2020

Selling F-35s to Saudi Arabia Risks an Arms Race


Selling F-35s to Saudi Arabia Risks an Arms Race


OPINION — American arms sales have surged in recent years, transcending both political parties and presidential administrations. Saudi Arabia in particular has benefited from this increase. Total arms deliveries to Saudi Arabia increased by 96 percent between the Bush and Obama administrations. The trend continued in 2017, with $18 billion in new sales completed. Recently, bipartisan support appears to be waning due to concerns regarding weapons use in Yemen. Despite the recent objections and efforts by Congress to block proposed sales, Saudi Arabia remains Washington’s largest customer for military hardware, by far. Now, the Kingdom wants the United States to sell them the most advanced fighter currently available: the F-35.

Some scholars view F-35 sales positively, as a way to maintain U.S. global dominance or to remedy the collective action problem posed by the U.S. alliance network. Without a viable alternative, the assumption is that F-35 sales will become a necessary acquisition for allies and arms customers alike, increasing global reliance on U.S. weapons while reducing ally reliance on U.S. military support. Considering this, some may consider Saudi Arabia a potential F-35 candidate. However, this sale creates major risks for both Middle East and U.S. security.

Saudi possession of F-35s would significantly alter the military balance of power in the region and could initiate a chain reaction throughout the Middle East. At minimum, it presents two major problems.

First, selling F-35s to Saudi Arabia would undermine Israel’s qualitative military edge (QME). Protection of Israel’s QME has been a factor in U.S. arms sales for decades. However, since the 2008 Naval Vessel Transfer Act, it has become a legal contract. Second, an F-35 sale to Riyadh would unnecessarily escalate tensions with Iran. Policy experts suspect that concerns regarding Iran are behind the Kingdom’s push for the F-35.

Taken together, these two problems raise the risk of starting a Middle Eastern arms race.

Israel is the superior military force in the region and already has F-35s, expressing an interest in purchasing fifty more. For years, Washington has upheld its commitment to ensuring that any weapons sales to the Middle East do not jeopardize Israel’s standing as the dominant military force or their comparative edge in any potential conflict with another Middle Eastern nation.

Historically, Israel-Saudi Arabia relations have not been friendly and, at times, the Saudis have even been “implacably hostile.”  U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia have a history of fueling these tensions. When President Ronald Reagan announced a substantial arms deal with the Saudis in 1981, including five Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft, it immediately sparked Israeli disapproval. Israeli officials considered Saudi Arabia a threat to their security and feared the sale would jeopardize their “technological edge” as it would give the Saudis the ability to track Israeli aircraft. The AWACS deal set off a bitter multi-year congressional battle and foreign policy debate.

But if AWACS threatened Israel’s military edge, F-35s would erase it entirely. Israel is currently the only Middle Eastern country to have F-35s, giving Israeli forces the ability to travel through the region undetected. Dating back to 2015, Israeli officials have stated that they view F-35 regional exclusivity as essential to maintaining their military edge. To now equip the Saudi military to be on-par with Israel’s would be considered a direct threat to Israeli security.

It is only very recently that relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel have started to improve, largely due to both countries’ continued cooperation with the U.S. and mutual concerns regarding Iran. Washington encourages these improved relations and, while Saudi Arabia and Israel are tolerant of each other to secure continued U.S. support, the two are nowhere near allies. Still, a stable framework of cooperation between the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Israel would be highly beneficial in enhancing stability in the region. The introduction of F-35s would tarnish prospects for this, upending the regional military balance of power and irreparably fracturing these emerging positive relations.

While undermining relations with Israel, F-35 sales would simultaneously exacerbate tensions with Iran. Tehran’s regional aggression is the one security threat warranting continued U.S. cooperation with the Kingdom. Like many in Washington, the Saudis perceive Iran as pursuing an “expansionist, sectarian agenda,” to the detriment of Sunnis in the Middle East, with which it is actively competing for dominance in the region. Saudi Arabia is also concerned about Iran’s nuclear ambitions and continued sponsorship of terrorism. Taken together, Saudi Arabia has an understandable interest in containing Iranian influence. Given a shared interest in checking Iranian expansion, the United States relies on the Saudis to deter Iranian aggression. Arming the Saudi military is not without risks but, done strategically, can serve U.S. interests in deterring Iran without requiring further U.S. engagement in the region.

But further sales are unnecessary. Saudi Arabia already has F-15s, which are a more than sufficient deterrent to Iranian aggression as they are more capable than any fighter in the Iranian inventory. To give Saudi Arabia anything more than what is necessary for effective Iranian deterrence risks emboldening the Saudi military.

From the U.S. perspective, maintaining the status quo that currently exists is highly preferable to direct confrontation. The military hardware Washington sells to Saudi Arabia should serve both its deterrence of Iranian aggression and also restrain Saudi Arabia from further escalation. It is highly unlikely that the Saudi military will exercise restraint amidst continued provocations from Iran should they acquire the most advanced weaponry currently available. Should escalation occur, it threatens to entrap the United States in another Middle Eastern war with multiple powers.

As it stands now, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Israel essentially echo the same sentiment regarding war: they do not want it. They are, however, prepared and willing to fight if conflict does break out. Once Israel and Iran feel threatened, neither will allow the perceived military imbalance to continue unchecked. Rather, they will take steps to bolster their own military capabilities, seeking to regain a sense of security. For Israel, this would likely mean acquiring additional weapons. Saudi Arabia may perceive this as a threat and increase their own capabilities once again. Iran, given their economic troubles, may respond by other means, including increasing their support for proxies. This would then further exacerbate the existent proxy wars, while also raising the potential for additional, new conflicts. These reactions are likely to become an ongoing cycle and to spread to countries across the Middle East.

An F-35 sale to Saudi Arabia risks creating a security dilemma and an arms race in the immediate future, increasing the potential for a wide scale war in the Middle East. A relatively subdued U.S. response to recent Iranian provocations, including the Saudi oil attack, has come as a surprise, casting doubt on U.S. commitment in the region. Rather than selling F-35s, Washington should reaffirm its own commitment to Iranian deterrence. This would decrease the concerns currently driving the Saudi pursuit of F-35s, without risking an arms race.

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GE Aviation Awarded $203 M for CF6-80C2K1F Propulsion System

Takk D. Martin @flickr

GE Aviation Awarded $203 M for CF6-80C2K1F Propulsion System

GE Aviation Distribution Japan has been awarded a contract valued at 18.8 billion Japanese Yen (USD $203 million) from the Japan Ministry of Defense (JMOD) for CF6-80C2K1F Propulsion Systems to power Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) C-2 transport aircraft. The contract includes 12 units due for deliveries, starting from late 2021.

The JASDF C-2 is positioned as a key strategic aircraft for “mobile/deployment capability” which is a part of Japan’s “Priorities in Strengthening Core Elements of Defense Capability”. In 2003, the CF6-80C2 was selected to power this important platform and GE actively worked with JMOD and Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. to develop a large indigenous transporter.

After successful completion of the development program in 2017, GE Aviation supplied 26 CF6-80C2K1F propulsion systems which included nacelle system and thrust reversers to support the aircraft production program.   

In alignment with the initiative of the JMOD to optimize acquisition program and cost reduction efforts, GE Aviation has continued to work with JMOD to exercise a consolidated procurement of CF6 propulsion systems over the last few years. As a result, JMOD successfully obtained the budget for the initial 12 units for the JFY2020 contract. With this contract, JMOD expects acquisition cost reduction by as much as 4.8 billion Japanese Yen (USD $44.6 million). GE Aviation will continue to work with JMOD for the remainder of their propulsion system requirement for the forthcoming years. (Editor: Li Xinyang, Photographers: Xu Bingnan and Wang Jiliang)

Source: GE Aviation
Date: Jul 3, 2020

Takk D. Martin @flickr