Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Qatar in advanced negotiations with Russia for S-400 air missile defense systems

S-400 air missile defense system

Russia, Qatar move forward on military cooperation

Samuel Ramani

Moscow and Riyadh have entered the final stages of negotiations on the sale of Russian S-400 air missile defense systems to Saudi Arabia. On Feb. 21, Saudi Ambassador to Moscow Raed Bin Khaled Qrimli said the two parties are having “detailed discussions … on the final arrangements and technical issues, especially with regards to the transfer of technology and information.”

But Riyadh isn't the only one looking to acquire these systems form Moscow. A month ago, on Jan. 25, Qatar’s Ambassador to Russia Fahad bin Mohammed Al-Attiyah told the Russian state news agency TASS that Doha was holding “advanced negotiations” with Moscow over the purchase of S-400 air missile defense systems. The announcement came just weeks after Russia’s presidential aide for military-technical cooperation, Vladimir Kozhin, singled out Qatar as an important new Russian arms export partner. Attiyah’s statement underscored the Kremlin’s commitment to strengthening its relationship with Doha.

On Feb. 22, top Qatari military figures were in Moscow for Putin’s meeting with the leadership of the defense ministries of several countries invited to a gala meeting devoted to Defender of the Fatherland Day — Russia’s major national holiday celebrated on Feb. 23.

As Russia has been improving relationships with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in recent months, Moscow’s decision to sell sophisticated weaponry to Qatar comes with considerable risk of backlash. Russia’s efforts to strengthen its relationship with Qatar can be explained by Doha’s unique appeal as a trade partner and its potential to assist Moscow’s conflict-arbitration efforts in the Middle East.

Although the Qatari Investment Authority possesses a $2.5 billion stake in Russia’s oil industry, recent trade negotiations between Russia and Qatar have focused primarily on the defense sector. Since the start of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) blockade against Qatar in June, Doha has upgraded its military capabilities to defend itself against what it perceives as aggressive actions from Saudi Arabia and the UAE. As the United States has been reluctant to antagonize Qatar’s GCC rivals by contributing greatly to Doha’s military modernization efforts, Qatar has aggressively courted Russian military assistance.

To demonstrate its willingness to purchase air defense systems from Russia, the Qatari Defense Ministry signed a landmark military technology sharing agreement with Moscow in October. Russia has swiftly converted this rhetorical pledge into arms contract negotiations, as Qatar has been a more amenable partner for Moscow to negotiate with than Turkey or Saudi Arabia.

Even though the United States has attempted to deter Turkey from purchasing S-400 missiles from Moscow, Washington has not tried to obstruct Qatar’s proposed S-400 deal with Russia. The US government’s silence on Qatar’s S-400 negotiations has increased Doha’s appeal as a Russian arms client, as Qatar is much less likely than Turkey or Saudi Arabia to backtrack on its arms deals with Russia due to external interference.

In addition, Qatar’s recent purchases of SY-400 missiles from China highlighted its ability to swiftly procure sophisticated weaponry from foreign arms vendors. As the Kremlin’s $3 billion arms contract with Saudi Arabia will not be completely implemented until 2021, Doha’s track record of implementing swift covert arms purchases appeals greatly to Kremlin policymakers.

The benefits of convincing Qatar to purchase Russian military technology extend beyond hard currency and export revenues. The resulting improvement in bilateral relations generated from a strengthened Russia-Qatar defense partnership could reduce the risk of a Moscow-Doha struggle for hegemony over the liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector. In June 2017, Russian energy giant Novatek announced two major LNG projects in the Arctic region that could eventually allow Russia to surpass Qatar as the world’s leading LNG producer.

Even though Qatar’s Minister of Energy and Industry Mohammed bin Saleh Al-Sada recently said the expansion of Russia’s LNG sector is mutually beneficial, analysts predicted an intensified struggle between Moscow and Doha for supremacy over LNG markets. These predictions have been supported by allegations that Moscow encouraged Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to block the passage of Qatari natural gas through Syrian territory. Strengthening the Russia-Qatar relationship could increase collaboration between the two countries on LNG export projects.

In addition to these economic benefits, a sustained improvement in Russia-Qatar relations could give Moscow a vital new partner in its conflict arbitration efforts in the Middle East. As Qatar has been able to balance favorable relations with ideologically disparate factions, Doha’s diplomatic strategy has close synergy with Russia’s support for the establishment of all-inclusive political settlements to regional conflicts.

The synergies between Russian and Qatari diplomatic strategies have revealed themselves most strikingly in Yemen. Since Qatar was expelled from the GCC coalition on June 7, Doha has echoed Russia’s calls for a swift end to military operations in Yemen and the implementation of a comprehensive peace settlement. Qatar’s alleged mediation efforts between Houthi rebels and supporters of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh in early December also resemble Moscow’s long-standing use of clandestine diplomacy to assuage tensions between these Shiite factions.

Even though Russia distanced itself from the Houthis after Saleh’s assassination, Moscow wants Yemen to be governed by a secular authoritarian leader willing to share power with pro-Iran factions. As Qatar maintains favorable relations with the Houthis and Sunni militant groups — such as Yemen’s Muslim Brotherhood branch, al-Islah — and has acted as an on-and-off mediator between the Houthis and Yemeni government since the mid-2000s, forging a stronger partnership with Doha could greatly strengthen Moscow’s arbitration ambitions in Yemen.

In the long run, Kremlin policymakers hope that highlighting the compatibility between Russian and Qatari conflict resolution strategies will ameliorate tensions between the two countries over Syria. Qatar’s cooperation with Iran over the March 2017 evacuation of four Syrian towns and its diplomatic ties with Hezbollah suggest that Qatar could be willing to compromise with Russia over Syria if bilateral relations continue to improve.

These actions have encouraged Russian policymakers to engage in more frequent dialogue with their Qatari counterparts on resolving the Syrian conflict. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Nov. 20 phone conversation with the Qatari emir on the Syrian conflict underscores Moscow’s willingness to entice Qatar into convincing Doha-aligned Syrian opposition factions to diplomatically engage with Assad. As Syrian opposition representatives boycotted the Sochi talks, achieving a compromise from Qatar would provide a necessary boost for Moscow’s increasingly stagnant diplomatic efforts in Syria.

Even though the Russian government has remained officially neutral in the Saudi Arabia-Qatar standoff, a sustained improvement in Russia-Qatar relations would give Moscow a valuable client for Russian military technology, facilitate the development of Russia’s LNG sector and enhance Russia’s effectiveness as a Middle East conflict arbiter.

Original post:

S-400 Triumph (SA-21 Growler): Details

US Zumwalt Destroyers may be armed with Nuclear Cruise Missiles in future

DDG 1000s Zumwalt destroyers

US Zumwalt Destroyers May One Day Shoot Nuclear Cruise Missiles

As US military strategists reconsider what will become of the $22 billion Zumwalt-class’ three ships, one of the possibilities on table is arming the destroyers with nuclear cruise missiles, reports.

The US government's Nuclear Posture Review calls for the development of new, small-yield, sea-launched cruise missiles (SLCMs), but the weapons need not necessarily be added to a submarine's weapons bay.

"It's important to know that the NPR, when it talks about the sea-launched cruise missile, does not say ‘submarine-launched cruise missile,'" General John Hyten, chief of US Strategic Command, said February 16 at an event in Washington. Which begs the question: what other marine platforms could be armed with nuclear weapons?

When pressed further, Hyten said, "we want to look at a number of options — everything from surface DDG 1000s [Zumwalt destroyers] to submarines, different types of submarines… that's what the president's budget has requested of us, to go look at those platforms, and we're going to walk down that path."

The Zumwalt program suffered a high number of technical issues and cost overruns that ultimately led to its cancellation. Instead of getting 32 ships as the original acquisition plans called for, the Navy will receive just three Zumwalt-type ships, unless Congress revives the program with fresh cash.

The US Navy's 2019 budget request states that the service decided to "refocus the primary mission of the Zumwalt-class destroyers from land attack to offensive surface strike." The 2019 budget requests $89 million for arming the ships with long-range SM-6 missiles, for use against air or sea targets up to 250 miles away.

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The U.S. plans to develop a new sea-launched cruise missile as a bargaining chip, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said today.

Russia has developed and deployed nuclear weapons that violate the bilateral Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, and the U.S. wants to nudge it back into compliance. But Moscow isn’t likely to “give up something to gain nothing from us in terms of reduction,” Mattis told lawmakers at the House Armed Services Committee. Source:

W80-1 Warhead Selected For New Nuclear Cruise Missile

The U.S. Nuclear Weapons Council has selected the W80-1 thermonuclear warhead for the Air Force’s new nuclear cruise missile (Long-Range Standoff, LRSO) scheduled for deployment in 2027.

The W80-1 warhead is currently used on the Air Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM), but will be modified during a life-extension program and de-deployed with a new name: W80-4.

Under current plans, the ALCM will be retired in the mid-2020s and replaced with the more advanced LRSO, possibly starting in 2027.

The enormous cost of the program – $10-20 billion by some estimates – is robbing defense planners of resources needed for more important non-nuclear capabilities.

Even though the United States has thousands of nuclear warheads on ballistic missiles and is building a new penetrating bomber to deliver nuclear bombs, STRATCOM and Air Force leaders are arguing that a new nuclear cruise missile is needed as well.

But their description of the LRSO mission sounds a lot like old-fashioned nuclear warfighting that will add new military capabilities to the arsenal in conflict with the administration’s promise not to do so and reduce the role of nuclear weapons. 

What Kind of Warhead?

The selection of the W80-1 warhead for the LRSO completes a multi-year process that also considered using the B61 and W84 warheads.

The W80-4 selected for the LRSO will be the fifth modification name for the W80 warhead (see table below): The first was the W80-0 for the Navy’s Tomahawk Land-Attack Cruise Missile (TLAM/N), which was retired in 2011; the second is the W80-1, which is still used the ALCM; the third was the W80-2, which was a planned LEP of the W80-0 but canceled in 2006; the fourth was the W80-3, a planned LEP of the W80-1 but canceled in 2006.

The B61 warhead has been used as the basis for a wide variety of warhead designs. It currently exists in five gravity bomb versions (B61-4, B61-4, B61-7, B61-10, B61-11) and was also used as the basis for the W85 warhead on the Pershing II ground-launched ballistic missile. After the Pershing II was eliminated by the INF Treaty, the W85 was converted into the B61-10. But the B61 was not selected for the LRSO partly because of concern about the risk of common-component failure from basing too many warheads on the same basic design.

The W84 was developed for the ground-launched cruise missile (BGM-109G), another weapon eliminated by the INF Treaty. As a more modern warhead, it includes a Fire Resistant Pit (which the W80-1 does not have) and a more advanced Permissive Action Link (PAL) use-control system. The W84 was retired from the stockpile in 2008 but was brought back as a LRSO candidate but was not selected, partly because not enough W84s were built to meet the requirement for the planned LRSO inventory.

Cost Estimates

In the past two year, NNSA has provided two very different cost estimates for the W80-4. The FY2014 Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plan (SSMP) published in June 2013 projected a total cost of approximately $11.6 billion through 2030. The FY2015 SSMP, in contrast, contained a significantly lower estimate: approximately $6.8 billion through 2033 (see graph below).  

Conclusions and Recommendations

The W80-1 warhead has been selected to arm the new Long-Range Standoff (LRSO) missile, a $10-20 billion weapon system the Air Force plans to deploy in the late-2020s but can poorly afford.

Even though the United States has thousands of nuclear warheads on land- and sea-based ballistic missiles that can reach the same targets intended for the LRSO, the military argues that a new nuclear standoff weapon is needed to spare a new penetrating bomber from enemy air-defense threats.

Yet the same bomber will be also equipped with conventional weapons – some standoff, some not – that will expose it to the same kinds of threats anyway. So the claim that the LRSO is needed to spare the next-generation bomber from air-defense threats sounds a bit like a straw man argument.

The mission for the LRSO is vague at best and to the extent the Air Force has described one it sounds like a warfighting mission from the Cold War with nuclear cruise missiles shooting holes in enemy air defense systems. Given the conventional weapon systems that have been developed over the past two decades, it is highly questionable whether such a mission requires a nuclear cruise missile.


AGM-129 Advanced Cruise Missile (decommissioned)

The AGM-129A advanced cruise missile is a stealth, nuclear-capable cruise missile used exclusively by U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress strategic bombers.

The AGM-129A is a subsonic, turbofan-powered, air-launched cruise missile. It is harder to detect, and has greater range and accuracy than the AGM-86 air-launched cruise missile. The ACM achieves maximum range through its highly efficient engine, aerodynamics and fuel loading. B-52H bombers can carry up to six AGM-129A missiles on each of two external pylons for a total of 12 per aircraft. When the threat is deep and heavily defended, the AGM-129 delivers the proven effectiveness of a cruise missile enhanced by stealth technology. Launched in quantities against enemy targets, the ACM's difficulty to detect, flight characteristics and range result in high probability that enemy targets will be eliminated.

The AGM-129A's external shape is optimized for low observables characteristics and includes forward swept wings and control surfaces, a flush air intake and a flat exhaust. These, combined with radar-absorbing material and several other features, result in a missile that is virtually impossible to detect on radar.

The AGM-129A offers improved flexibility in target selection over other cruise missiles. Missiles are guided using a combination of inertial navigation and terrain contour matching enhanced with highly accurate speed updates provided by a laser Doppler velocimeter. These, combined with small size, low-altitude flight capability and a highly efficient fuel control system, give the United States a lethal deterrent capability well into the 21st century.

In 1982 the Air Force began studies for a new cruise missile with stealth characteristics after it became clear that the AGM-86B would soon be too easy to detect by future air defense systems. In 1983 General Dynamics was awarded a contract to develop the new AGM-129A ACM. The first test missile flew in 1985; the first missiles were delivered to the Air Force in mid-1990.

Plans called for an initial production of approximately 1,500 missiles. The end of the Cold War and subsequent budget cuts led the Air Force to cease production after 460 missiles, with the final delivery in 1993. Several corporate changes during production resulted in Raytheon Missile Systems as the final production firm.


Russia’s Su-57 stealth fighter is about to meet the US F-22 over Syria

VLADIMIR Putin has sent his most secret stealth fighter to square-off against the best the United States has to offer.

Jamie Seidel

IT’s a next generation combat jet of many names.

It was the PAK FA. It was the T-50. Now it’s the Su-57.

It’s Russia’s answer to the United States’ cutting-edge F-22 “Raptor” stealth fighter.

Now, more than 15 years after the F-22 entered service, Russia is on the brink of pitting the best its military aviation industry can offer against its rival in Syria.

F-22 versus Su-57: It’s the ultimate face-off between East and West.

And their arrival comes amid an increasing number of aggressive stand-offs between Russian and US air force tactical aircraft over Syria.

Between two and four of the still experimental combat jets landed at the Russian Khmeimim air base in Latakia province on the Mediterranean coast.

This was a surprise........Read rest of article: HERE

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Sukhoi Pak Fa T-50 (Su-57): Details
F-22 Raptor: Details

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Production of anti-aircraft systems S-500 at Nizhny Novgorod machine-building plant was started


Production of anti-aircraft missile systems S-500 and S-400 on a truck chassis already started at the Nizhny Novgorod machine-building plant. This was reported by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin in an interview with the newspaper Kommersant, published on Monday.

"By decision of Vladimir Putin, the concern "Almaz-Antey" has built two plants in Kirov and Nizhny Novgorod. So, at the Kirov machine-building enterprise design capacity for the production alone of promising anti-aircraft missile systems – thousands of missiles a year. Nizhny Novgorod machine-building plant has already started production of the final systems like S-500 and S-400 on a truck chassis and semi-trailers on wheels", - said Rogozin.

S-500 will replace the S-400 complex. The system is created to allow operation within the next 25 years. Earlier, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reported that shipments of new air defense missile systems to the troops will begin in 2020.

The construction "Of the plant 70 anniversary of the Victory" in Nizhny Novgorod and plant for the production of components for S-400 and S-500 in Kirov concern "Almaz-Antey" led with 2012.

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The S-500 air defense missile system being developed in Russia will be able to hit targets at altitudes of up to 100 km above the earth, Pavel Sozinov, general designer at missile manufacturer Almaz-Antei, said — RIA Novosti reports. 

"We have made a forecast for the next 25 years as regards the development of aerospace attack weapons. Our system must be able to hit weapons that are not yet available today but could appear in the future. We are talking of intercepting targets in the rarefied layers of the atmosphere, including the upper levels of the atmosphere a hundred kilometers from the earth," he said.

The S-500 is positioned as a system that can hit all targets, ranging from small-sized ones to space vehicles in near-earth orbit. The system has a strike range of 600 km and will be able to detect and simultaneously hit up to 10 supersonic ballistic targets flying at speeds of up to seven km/sec, as well as to hit hypersonic missile warheads. Source:

Related articles:
Russian Aerospace Forces to Get State of the Art S-500 Air Defense Systems

Swiss weapons exports increase

Swiss surface-to-air missiles on a hill in canton Schwyz in 2013 (Keystone)

Switzerland delivered war materiel worth CHF446.6 million ($477 million) to 64 countries last year, an increase of 8% on 2016 – despite a 1% drop in commodity exports as a whole. 

The export of war materiel made up 0.15% of total Swiss exports, according to figuresexternal link published on Tuesday by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). 

Almost half of all exports headed to Europe, although that proportion is dwindling. On the other hand, more are ending up in Asia, which currently buys around a quarter of all Swiss weapons. In addition, the share of exports to Africa dropped from 12.2% to 7.3%. 

Here is a breakdown of the top five export destinations for Swiss weapons exports: 

Other notable sales include to India (CHF8.9 million), Pakistan (CHF6.6 million) and Saudi Arabia (CHF4.8 million). For the full list of 64 countries, go to the SECO reportexternal link. 

Reacting to the figures, Amnesty International Switzerland called on the government to not ease arms exports controls, as currently demanded by the weapons industry. 

“Given the arms exports to countries that are known for conflict and serious human rights violations, any further loosening would be cynical and irresponsible,” said Patrick Walder from Amnesty Switzerland in a statementexternal link. 

Switzerland was the 14th-largest arms exporter in the worldexternal link in 2016, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The US and Russia are by far the largest.


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Wow didn't see that coming Thailand 2nd largest importer of Swiss weapons

F-35 and Super Hornet Back on the Table for Canada


by David Donald

Following the relaunch on Dec. 12, 2017 of its Future Fighter Capability Project (FFCP) to replace the CF-188 (F/A-18A/B) Hornet, the Canadian government has issued a list of eligible suppliers. While the inclusion of the three “Euro-canards”—Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon and Saab Gripen E/F—is no surprise, the inclusion of both Boeing and Lockheed Martin indicates a softening of policy toward the U.S. fighters, both of which have been the subject of considerable controversy in Canada.

Despite remaining a Level 3 industrial partner in the F-35 program, Canada cancelled its 65-aircraft order in November 2015. The action had been one of incoming Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s campaign pledges. While there had been concerns about the aircraft itself, particularly its high cost and whether it could be delivered in time to meet the Hornet’s expected out-of-service date, there were objections to the way it had been ordered by the previous government through an untendered procurement process with unclear costings.

In the wake of the cancellation, Canada was left with a potential capability gap. In more than three decades of service—including participation in several multinational campaigns in Iraq, the Balkans, Libya, and Syria—the CF-188 fleet had dwindled from 138 aircraft to its current level of 76. To remedy the situation, Canada announced an intention to buy 24 Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets in November 2016. Soon after, Royal Canadian Air Force staff met with the Royal Australian Air Force to learn lessons regarding procurement of the Super Hornet.

By August 2017 Canadian technicians were also assessing the state of Australia’s “legacy” Hornet fleet as a potential source of aircraft to bolster the RCAF’s force. In the following month Canada sent an Expression of Interest to Australia, covering the acquisition of 18 aircraft. That same month the U.S. government approved a Super Hornet sale, but subsequent events concerning the Bombardier/Boeing airliner trade dispute put an end to further negotiations.

Canada continues to negotiate with Australia regarding the surplus F/A-18 Hornets. Australia’s aircraft have been upgraded to extend their operational lives, including the adoption of the MBDA ASRAAM short-range missile in place of the standard AIM-9 Sidewinder.

In the meantime, FFCP continues with the F-35 and Super Hornet back in the running. An element of the request—presumably aimed at Boeing—notes: “The evaluation of bids will also include an assessment of bidders’ impact on Canada’s economic interests. When bids are assessed, any bidder that is responsible for harm to Canada’s economic interests will be at a distinct disadvantage.”

A full RFP for the government-to-government deal is expected in spring 2019, with contract award scheduled for 2021/22. First deliveries are slated for 2025, with initial operationa capability a year later. Full operational capability is scheduled for 2031.

Original post:

F-35 Lightning II: Details
F/A-18E/F Super Hornet: Details

Russia to build a new aircraft carrier with both ski-jump ramp and accelerating device

Russia will build a new aircraft carrier for the Russian Navy

 The new aircraft carrier will be built for the Russian Navy, said Nikolai Maksimov, head of the Institute of Shipbuilding and Armament of the Military Training and Research Center of the Navy of the Russian Defense Ministry. Its reported by Interfax.

"The aircraft-building complex is planned to be built, which will include the aircraft carrier itself, the air wing and the location system," he said on the Zvezda TV channel.

A new aircraft carrier will combine the ski-jump ramp for take-off and accelerating device, said channel head of Department of forward planning of ships of the military educational and scientific center of the Navy of Ministry of defense of the Russian Federation Vladimir Pepelyaev. “If you combine the ski-jump ramp and accelerating device, then we will increase opportunities off weight of the aircraft,” he said.

According to him, on Board the aircraft carrier will be based on the Su-57 fifth-generation fighter, in the case if the decision on the establishment of its marine version. "Su-57 will be adopted for the deck, if it is decided," said Pepelyaev.

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"The Navy will build an aircraft carrier," Bursuk told reporters at the International Maritime Defense Show in St. Petersburg.

He said the Krylov State Research Center had submitted a carrier mock-up and added that additional designs are being looked at.

The work to modernize Admiral Kuznetsov, the Russian Navy’s only aircraft carrier, will begin in 2018, ice-Adm. Viktor Bursuk, deputy navy commander in charge of procurement, said Wednesday.

"Next year, in 2018, we shall begin the modernization of the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier," Bursuk said at an international navy show in St Petersburg.

In October 2016, a Russian naval group, headed by the Admiral Kuznetsov which also included the Pyotr Veliky battle cruiser and, the Severomorsk and Vice-Admiral Kulakov anti-submarine destroyers, the Admiral Grigorovich frigate, and support vessels, deployed for three months to the Mediterranean Sea to support Russian combat operations in Syria. Source:

Saab extends Anzac FFH sustainment contract

Saab Australia has received an order under the Warship Asset Management Agreement (WAMA) to continue its sustainment work on the RAN’s Anzac-class frigates (FFH).

The WAMA partnership includes Saab Australia, BAE Systems Australia Defence and Naval Ship Management Australia, and the new order is a five-year follow-on of the ongoing framework sustainment agreement that covers the Anzac-class frigates, shore support and training facilities until the anticipated life of the capability.

“The signing of the WAMA is a recognition of our long-term commitment to the Royal Australian Navy. The ANZAC frigates are the trusted workhorse of the Navy and Saab has played an important role in evolving the fighting capability of the ships to meet current and future threats.” Andy Keough, Managing Director for Saab Australia said in a statement.

The majority of the work under WAMA will be carried out in Western Australia and at the Saab Australia headquarters in Adelaide.

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Monday, 26 February 2018

Russian MoD Disclosed the purpose on the transfer of the Su-57 fighters to Syria

Disclosed the purpose of the transfer Su-57 fighters to Syria

The Russian Ministry of Defense sent several Su-57 fifth-generation fighters to the airbase Khemeymim in Syria in order to test them in conditions close to the combat ones. This is written by Kommersant, citing its sources.

In Syria, the Su-57 approves the systems of electronic warfare (EW) and radar, writes Kommersant.

A full-fledged combat use is not yet planned.

Sources say that testing fighter aircraft in combat conditions is necessary to demonstrate the capabilities of the Russian Military-Industial Complex, as well as create a positive impression of the actions of Russian military in Syria.

According to unofficial information, four fifth-generation fighter planes were sent to Syria.

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What Russian Experts Are Saying

Russian military experts have offered a myriad of possible reasons for the Su-57s' deployment to Syria.

For instance, Andrei Frolov, editor-in-chief of Arms Export, a Russian military publication, told RBC that the deployment would help to advertise the planes, especially to the Indian market, in light of the joint Russian-Indian Sukhoi/HAL Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) program.

For one thing, he said, "Lockheed Martin is active on the Indian market. Furthermore, there are difficulties with India on the FGFA project. The public launch of the Su-57 last year and its deployment to Syria now is aimed at convincing the Indians that the FGFA is a real project, which has a prototype that not only flies, but is capable of operating in a warzone."

For his part, Nikolai Antoshkin, Col-Gen (ret.) a veteran Soviet and Russian military pilot, commander and combat training specialist, explained that while the first squadron of production Su-57s would soon be deployed to the Lipetsk Combat Training Center, "fighters, like any other weapon, are tested mainly in combat. Therefore, sending the Su-57 to Syria is a natural solution."

Emphasizing that the Su-57 was an excellent tool which would "come in handy" in the event of any "provocations against our forces in Syria," Antoshkin also commented on rumors circulating online about the US Air Force allegedly suspending its F-22 Raptor flights over Syria due to the appearance of the Russian planes in the country.

For one thing, Antoshkin recalled, the Su-57 is equipped with 3D thrust vector jets, as opposed to the F-22's 2D thrust vector jets, meaning higher maneuverability for the Russian plane. "In addition, these engines allow our fighter to reach speeds up to Mach 2 without an afterburner. With its onboard Belka radar station, the Su-57 can detect 'stealth' aircraft, and track over 10 targets simultaneously. Add to this the plane's excellent radio-electronic warfare module, which suppresses enemy missiles' homing systems."

As far as onboard weapons are concerned, the observer recalled that "the Su-57 has two large internal weapons compartments, taking up practically the entire useful length of the aircraft. Each compartment can carry up to four K-77M air-to-air missiles," which have a range of nearly 200 km and serve as the rough equivalent to the US's AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile.  

Ultimately, Antoshkin stressed that while deploying just two planes is not enough to provide Russia with an overwhelming military advantage in the Syrian theater, it would cause Russia's potential adversaries to think twice: "I think it will give our geopolitical rivals an extra reason to ponder whether it is worth raising their hand against Russia," the veteran air force officer concluded.

Western Military Observers Respond

Wednesday's photo and video evidence of the Su-57 fifth-gen stealth fighters flying around Hmeymim certainly got the Pentagon's attention, with a DoD spokesperson complaining that the deployment was an indication that Russia was not living up to its "announced force drawdown."

Many Western military observers were similarly critical, with Business Insider quoting experts who claimed that the deployment was a "cynical move" aimed at boosting Russian arms sales and gaining valuable intelligence on advanced US air power operating in the region.

Popular Mechanics was somewhat more evenhanded, pointing out that the deployment will give the Russian military an opportunity to "learn a lot about how the jet works in less-than-ideal conditions, how good its sensors are at picking up targets in the air and on the ground, and how difficult it is to maintain the planes thousands of miles from Mother Russia." However, that publication too offered its share of criticism, suggesting the Su-57s might stoke conflict with F-22s over US-controlled airspace in Syria, and would face the constant threat of mortar or drone attacks so long as they remain stationed in Hmeymim.

The National Interest's Dave Majumdar did one better, actually speaking to a Russian military expert – Vasily Kashin of the Moscow-based Center for Comprehensive & International Studies. According to Kashin, the Su-57s' deployment amounts to "testing in actual war," something that would help prepare the planes for mass production.

As for Majumdar, as far as the analyst can tell, the deployment will likely help the Russian military gain valuable operational experience and performance data on the Su-57's advanced avionics, including its active electronically scanned array radar and ELINT systems. Even "limited combat missions" are a possibility, he wrote.  Source:

Ka-52 helicopter to be armed with new defense system

The helicopter may be also equipped with new armaments

KUBINKA /Moscow Region/, August 22. /TASS/. The reconnaissance and attack helicopter Ka-52 Alligator is to undergo upgrade to be equipped with a new defense system and, possibly, new armaments, the press-service of the holding company Helicopters of Russia (an affiliate of Rostec) said on Tuesday.

"The Alligator will be equipped with a new onboard defense complex, which will enhance protection from guided surface-to-air and air-to-air missiles. In cooperation with the Defense Ministry and a number of other manufacturers the possibility is being considered of arming Ka-52 with new weapon systems," the company said.

The auxiliary power plant will be equipped with an extra generator, which will increase its reliability, the press-service said.

"The helicopter’s payload will be increased and tactical capabilities expanded. Corresponding amendments are being made to the designer documentation," the Helicopters of Russia said.

Earlier the company told TASS that the upgraded Ka-52 will have foldable airscrews. It will be possible to keep helicopters of that type in hangars.

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Russian Navy to receive project 21631 Corvette the "Vyshniy Volochek"

The Zelyony Dol small missile ship. © Vasiliy Batanov / Sputnik

The Navy may receive in March a small rocket ship "Vyshniy Volochek"

KAZAN, February 23 (Itar-Tass) - RIA Novosti. The Russian Navy will be replenished by a small rocket ship Vyshniy Volochek, built at the Zelenodolsk plant named after A.M. Gorky in Tatarstan, in March, said on Friday the head of the department of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation to ensure state defense order Pavel Pechkovsky.

On Friday, the eleventh small missile ship of project 21631 was laid on the slabs of the Zelenodolsk plant (Zelenodolsk design-and-design bureau JSC) "Naro-Fominsk" was developed. Currently, the five ships of this project - the main "Grad Sviyazhsk" and the serial "Uglich", "Great Ustyug", "Green Dol" and "Serpukhov" - already serve in the Russian Navy. At the various stages of construction and testing are five more ships of the project - Vyshny Volochek, Orekhovo-Zuevo, Ingushetia, Graivoron and Grad.

"He (the Vyshny Volochok MRC) was due to be delivered last year, but in connection with the implementation of measures for import substitution, we expect it to be received, I think that in March the Navy will be supplemented with another combat unit," said Pechkovsky journalists.

He noted that due to the implementation of the import substitution program at present all types of basic equipment on the ships of the Navy are of domestic production.
Earlier, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation reported that the small missile ship of the Black Sea Fleet "Vyshniy Volochek" is completing factory running and state tests. It was planned that he would be admitted to the Navy before the end of 2017, after the completion of all stages of the tests.

The small missile ships of Project 21631 are multi-purpose ships of the "river-sea" class equipped with the most modern examples of artillery, missile, anti-sabotage, anti-aircraft and radio-technical weapons. Appointment of the ships of this project is the protection and protection of the economic zone of the state. In particular, they have an increased displacement and are equipped with the newest high-precision long-range missiles - the universal missile system Caliber-NK, designed to defeat sea and coastal targets.

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Buyan Class Corvettes (Project 21630/21631): Details