Saturday, 31 March 2018

Germany’s military fears that the Airbus A400M will not fulfill its needs in time

German A400M - Image: Public domain


Exclusive: Germany raises fears over capabilities of Airbus A400M aircraft

 

Originlly published by Reuters

Sabine Siebold


BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany’s military fears that the Airbus (AIR.PA) A400M aircraft will not fulfill its needs in time as the troubled program faces further problems, a report seen by Reuters reveals.

The confidential German military report said there was a “significant risk” that the A400M would not meet all its tactical requirements by the time the armed forces retires a fleet of aging C-160 Transall transport planes after 2021.

“It is not clear whether, when and how many mature deployable A400M will be available with the contractually required suite of tactical capabilities,” the report said.

“There are significant risks associated with the availability of the required tactical capabilities at the time of the retirement of the C-160. A capability gap cannot be excluded after 2021,” it added.

Problems included data such as fuel usage needing to be entered into multiple systems, meaning it could take up to 50 man-hours to plan medical evacuations and other missions, which the report said was “not acceptable” operationally.

Airbus, which last month took a new 1.3 billion euro charge on the multinational A400M program, said the German assessment of mission planning time differed significantly from other nations. For instance, it took the French military a maximum of 90 minutes to plan a tactical mission, and just 40 to 60 minutes for a routine mission, a company spokesman told Reuters.

The A400M program was initially valued at 20 billion euros ($25 billion) but has reached well over 30 billion euros, sources told Reuters last year.

Germany, the largest buyer of the A400M, has received over 17 of the 53 A400M aircraft it plans to buy.

“CRITICAL” PROBLEMS

The German report said the mission planning process meant that certain tasks, such as providing disaster relief or evacuating wounded soldiers, “cannot be executed”.

Although planning could be shortened to six to 10 hours, this was only possible by reducing the load of passengers and equipment, said the report.

The latest setback for Airbus comes after a preliminary deal by which Germany and six other NATO nations agreed to slow the planned delivery schedule and negotiate removing certain difficult to achieve requirements for the aircraft.

In return, Airbus has pledged to provide “all necessary support and resources” to Europe’s largest defense project.

The report cited continued concerns about the plane’s inability to meet requirements, such as the ability to drop parachute troops. It said Airbus could also seek additional funds to complete work on the self-defensive capabilities.

It also cited delays in carrying out testing of the plane due to insufficient infrastructure in Europe, and said a site in Yuma, Arizona was now being considered.

There were also “critical” problems with the production of sensor chips for the plane’s airborne warning system that had not been resolved, the report said, noting that Germany had received five A400M aircraft without the warning system.

($1 = 0.8114 euros)

Reporting by Sabine Siebold; Writing by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Madeline Chambers and Alexander Smith


Original post: reuters.com

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Uzbekistan buys 12 Mi-35 helicopters

Mi-35 helicopter


Russia inks contract with Uzbekistan to deliver more than 10 Mi-35 helicopters


YEREVAN, March 29. /TASS/. Russia and Uzbekistan have clinched a contract to deliver more than 10 Mi-35 helicopters, deputy head of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation Vladimir Drozhzhov told reporters at the ArmHiTec exhibition on Thursday.

"We’ve got a delivery contract for Mi-35 helicopters signed in accordance with the agreements. The work is successful, and military-technical cooperation with Uzbekistan is actively developing," he said.

"More than 10 vehicles," Drozhzhov specified the delivery volume.

A diplomatic source earlier told TASS about the signing by the two countries of a contract to deliver 12 Mi-35 helicopters.

The Mi-35M is a multi-role combat helicopter built to destroy ground-based armored targets and provide air support for ground missions, as well as transport military staff, evacuate the injured, deliver cargoes and perform other tasks. The helicopter is outfitted with modern high-precision weapons and is capable of performing combat tasks on a round-the-clock basis under various weather conditions.


Original post: tass.com


Mi-35M (Hind E): Details

Trump Signals Withdrawal Of US Troops from Syria



Endgame In Syria: Trump Signals Withdrawal Of US Troops – OpEd

 

Originally published by Eurasia Review

Nauman Sadiq

In a momentous announcement at an event in Ohio on Thursday, Donald Trump said, “We’re knocking the hell out of ISIS. We’ll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon. Let the other people take care of it now.”

What lends credence to the statement that the Trump administration will soon be pulling 2,000 US troops out of Syria – mostly Special Forces assisting the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces – is that President Trump had recently announced to sack the National Security Advisor Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster.

McMaster represented the institutional logic of the deep state in the Trump administration and was instrumental in advising Donald Trump to escalate the conflicts in Afghanistan and Syria. He had advised President Trump to increase the number of US troops in Afghanistan from 8,400 to 15,000. And in Syria, he was in favor of the Pentagon’s policy of training and arming 30,000 Kurdish border guards to patrol Syria’s northern border with Turkey.

Both the decisions have spectacularly backfired on the Trump administration. The decision to train and arm 30,000 Kurdish border guards had annoyed the Erdogan administration to an extent that Turkey mounted Operation Olive Branch in the Kurdish-held enclave of Afrin in Syria’s northwest on January 20.

After capturing Afrin on March 18, the Turkish armed forces and their Free Syria Army proxies have now cast their eyes further east on Manbij where the US Special Forces are closely cooperating with the Kurdish YPG militia, in line with the long-held Turkish military doctrine of denying the Kurds any Syrian territory west of River Euphrates.

More significantly, however, the US bombers and Apache helicopters struck a contingent of Syrian government troops and allied forces in Deir al-Zor on February 7 that reportedly killed and wounded dozens of Russian military contractors working for the private security firm, the Wagner group.

In order to understand the reason why the US brazenly attacked the Russian contractors, we need to keep the backdrop of seven-year-long Syrian conflict in mind. Washington has failed to topple the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. After the Russian intervention in September 2015, the momentum of the battle has shifted in favor of the Syrian government and Washington’s proxies are on the receiving end in the conflict.

Washington’s policy of nurturing militants against the Syrian government has given birth to the Islamic State and myriads of jihadist groups that have carried out audacious terror attacks in Europe during the last three years. Out of necessity, Washington had to make the Kurds the centerpiece of its policy in Syria. But on January 20, its NATO-ally Turkey mounted Operation Olive Branch against the Kurds in the northwestern Syrian canton of Afrin.

In order to save its reputation as a global power, Washington could have confronted Turkey and pressured it to desist from invading Afrin. But it chose the easier path and vented its frustration on the Syrian government forces in Deir al-Zor which led to the casualties of scores of Russian military contractors hired by the Syrian government.

Another reason why Washington struck Russian contractors working in Syria was that the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) – which are mainly comprised of Kurdish YPG militias – had reportedly handed over the control of some areas east of Euphrates River to Deir al-Zor Military Council (DMC), which is the Arab-led component of SDF, and had relocated several battalions of Kurdish YPG militias to Afrin and along Syria’s northern border with Turkey in order to defend the Kurdish-held areas against the onslaught of Turkish armed forces and allied Free Syria Army (FSA) militias.

Syrian forces with the backing of Russian contractors took advantage of the opportunity and crossed the Euphrates River to capture an oil refinery located east of Euphrates River in the Kurdish-held area of Deir al-Zor. The US Air Force responded with full force, knowing well the ragtag Arab component of SDF – mainly comprised of local Arab tribesmen and mercenaries to make the Kurdish-led SDF appear more representative and inclusive – was simply not a match for the superior training and arms of Syrian troops and Russian military contractors, consequently causing a massacre in which scores of Russian citizens lost their lives.

It would be pertinent to note here that regarding the Syria policy, there is a schism between the White House and the American deep state led by the Pentagon. After Donald Trump’s inauguration as the US president, he has delegated operational-level decisions in conflict zones such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria to the Pentagon.

The way the US officials are evading responsibility for the incident, it appears the decision to strike pro-government forces in Deir al-Zor that included Russian contractors was taken by the operational commander of the US forces in Syria and the White House was not informed until after the strike.

Notwithstanding, it bears mentioning that unlike dyed-in-the-wool globalists and “liberal interventionists,” like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, who cannot look past beyond the tunnel vision of political establishments, it appears that the protectionist Donald Trump not only follows news from conservative mainstream outlets, like the Fox News, but he has also been familiar with alternative news perspectives, such as Breitbart’s, no matter how racist and xenophobic.

Thus, Donald Trump is fully aware that the conflict in Syria is a proxy war initiated by the Western political establishments and their regional Middle Eastern allies against the Syrian government. He is also mindful of the fact that militants have been funded, trained and armed in the training camps located in Turkey’s border regions to the north of Syria and in Jordan’s border regions to the south of Syria.

According to the last year’s March 31 article [1] for the New York Times by Michael Gordon, the US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley and the recently sacked Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had stated on the record that defeating the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq was the top priority of the Trump administration and the fate of Bashar al-Assad was of least concern to the new administration.

Under the previous Obama administration, the evident policy in Syria was regime change. The Trump administration, however, looks at the crisis in Syria from an entirely different perspective because Donald Trump regards Islamic jihadists as a much bigger threat to the security of the US.

In order to allay the concerns of Washington’s traditional allies in the Middle East, the Trump administration conducted a cruise missiles strike on al-Shayrat airfield in Homs governorate on April 6 last year after the chemical weapons strike in Khan Sheikhoun. But that isolated incident was nothing more than a show of force to bring home the point that the newly elected Donald Trump is an assertive and powerful president.

Finally, Karen De Young and Liz Sly made another startling revelation in the last year’s March 4 article [2] for the Washington Post: “Trump has said repeatedly that the US and Russia should cooperate against the Islamic State, and he has indicated that the future of Russia-backed Assad is of less concern to him.”

Thus, the interests of all the major players in Syria have evidently converged on defeating Islamic jihadists, and the Obama-era policy of regime change has been put on the back burner. And after the recent announcement of complete withdrawal of US troops from Syria by President Trump, it appears that we are approaching the endgame in Syria, an event as momentous as the Fall of Saigon in 1975, which will mark a stellar military victory for Vladimir Putin.


Original post: eurasiareview.com


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Friday, 30 March 2018

Poland buys 4 more M-346 for more than €115 million


Aermacchi M-346 | Polish Air Force (Łukasz Lipka) by Łukasz Lipka


POLAND GROWS ITS M-346 FLEET WITH AN ORDER WORTH MORE THAN €115 MLN FOR FOUR ADDITIONAL AIRCRAFT


The four additional M-346 aircraft will be delivered by 2020 and will join the fleet of eight already in service.

CEO, Alessandro Profumo: “This contract reinforces Leonardo’s close partnership with Poland, a country where our technologies and skills are deeply rooted and which recognizes the unique capabilities of our integrated training system based on the M-346 aircraft.”
The M-346 is the most advanced trainer aircraft in the world with 72 aircraft ordered by Italy, Poland, Singapore and Israel

Leonardo and the Armament Inspectorate of the Polish Ministry of National Defense have signed a contract to supply four additional M-346 Advanced Jet Trainers (AJT) that will join the Polish Air Force’s existing fleet of eight aircraft by 2020. The contract, worth more than 115 million euro, includes a support package. It also contains options for additional four aircraft and support package.

Alessandro Profumo, Leonardo’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “This contract reinforces Leonardo’s close partnership with Poland, a country where our technologies and skills are already deeply rooted, and which recognizes the unique capabilities of our integrated training system based on the M-346 aircraft”, adding “training will be an increasingly important part of Leonardo’s strategy, as outlined in the Company’s 2018-222 Industrial Plan, as it allows us to develop a deep understanding of our customers’ needs and to  collaborate with them in the long term”. 

This latest success builds on Leonardo’s significant footprint in Poland where it has 3000 highly-skilled employees at its PZL helicopter site in ?widnik. In Poland, Leonardo has a long standing collaboration with Polish Armaments Group (PGZ) for the Rosomak programme providing the 30 mm Hitfist Turret to the Polish Army. Leonardo supplies also several defence and security systems like the ground segment for the COSMO-SkyMed earth observation satellites, early warning radar and coastal surveillance systems contributing significantly to the security of Poland. Across the aerospace, security and cyber domains, Leonardo partners with the Polish Government and local industries to meet their requirements.

The M-346 is the most advanced trainer aircraft available on the market today and is unique in its ability to prepare pilots to fly the latest generation high-performance aircraft. Its wide flight envelope, high thrust/weight ratio and extreme maneuverability allows the M-346 to offer flight conditions similar to those of new-generation combat aircraft maximizing training effectiveness and reducing the need to fly sorties on the far more expensive and complex variants of frontline aircraft.

The Embedded Tactical Training Simulation (ETTS) allows the M-346 to emulate sensors, countermeasures and armaments, as well as allowing pilots to interact in real time with a virtual tactical scenario, further enhancing flexibility and cost reduction. Thanks to its Helmet Mounted Display, in-flight refueling probe and pylons for up to 3,000 kilos of external loads, the M-346 can carry out a complete tactical training syllabus.

The M-346 is the basis of the T-100 Integrated Training System, the solution offered by Leonardo DRS in the T-X competition for the U.S. Air Force’s advanced pilot training system programme.

Original post: leonardocompany.com

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Sikorsky CH-53 King Stallion Heavy Lift Helicopter Arrives in Germany for International Debut

A Sikorsky CH-53K heavy lift helicopter was unloaded from the cargo bay of a C-17 Globemaster, which touched down in Holzdorf, Germany, ahead of its international debut at the ILA Berlin Air Show next month. Photo courtesy Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company.



A King Has Arrived: Sikorsky CH-53 King Stallion Heavy Lift Helicopter Arrives in Germany for International Debut


King Stallion will demonstrate its flight capabilities and maneuverability at ILA Berlin Air Show

HOLZDORF, Germany, March 28, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- A CH-53K heavy lift helicopter built by Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company (NYSE: LMT), arrived in Holzdorf, Germany, ahead of its international debut at the ILA Berlin Air Show next month.

This is the first time a King Stallion helicopter has been loaded into a C-17 Globemaster and transported to the base of a European ally.

"We are excited for the opportunity to showcase the capabilities of this all new CH-53K heavy lift helicopter to an international audience. This is the only true heavy lift helicopter in production," said Sikorsky President Dan Schultz.

Sikorsky demonstrated the King Stallion's strategic airlift capability during an exercise at the Sikorsky Development Flight Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, prior to the departure for Germany.

A trained Sikorsky crew partially disassembled the CH-53K helicopter, loaded it into the C-17 cabin and then unloaded the helicopter while representatives from Naval Air Systems Command and the U.S. Marine Corps observed the exercise. As a result, the CH-53K program achieved its Air Transportability Test Loading Activity certification from the U.S. Air Force.

The CH-53K King Stallion test program recently completed the following milestones: maximum weight single-point cargo hook sling load of 36,000 pounds (16,329 kilograms); forward flight speed of 200 knots; 60 degrees angle of bank turns; 12-degree slope landings and takeoffs; external load auto-jettison; and gunfire testing. These milestones come just weeks ahead of Sikorsky delivering the first CH-53K helicopter to the U.S. Marines.

The helicopter will remain at the Holzdorf Air Base, a military airfield operated by the German Air Force (Luftwaffe), until the start of the ILA Berlin Air Show. The CH-53K will showcase its capabilities, maneuverability and advanced fly-by-wire technology during demonstration flights at the air show.

The CH-53K aircraft is an all-new aircraft, using modern intelligent design. The rugged CH-53K is designed to ensure reliability, low maintenance, high availability and enhanced survivability in the most austere and remote forward operating bases.

The CH-53K helicopter is the best choice for completing missions like humanitarian aid, troop transport, casualty evacuation, support of special operations forces, and combat search and rescue. No matter the mission, the aircraft will provide the highest degree of safety for its crew and occupants in all conditions.

Original post: lockheedmartin.com

Russia's defences could shut out the US Air Force in a war -- here's how the US plans to win anyway

The US Army’s Army Tactical Missile System - wikipedia.org


Alex Lockie
 

  • Russia has the US and NATO outgunned in eastern Europe, but US Army generals came up with a plan to counter it.
  • Instead of risking planes over Russia’s fierce air defences, the US will pivot to developing and deploying long-range artillery and missile systems to knock out defences from afar.
  • With the changes recommended, the generals said the US would be able to fight Russia for weeks without even using air power.

The US military and NATO have been significantly outgunned by Russia in eastern Europe for some time, but US Army generals recently laid out a plan to close the gap.

As it stands, Russia has more tanks, aircraft, better air defences, and more long range weapons systems than the US and NATO have in eastern Europe......Read rest of article: HERE

 

Hate to spoil the party but Russia has plenty of Missiles and Rocket systems that are far more advance than the Western nations

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Thursday, 29 March 2018

UK gov’t invests more in building new class of submarines

Dreadnought nuclear submarines - royalnavy.mod.uk


The UK is to receive its new world-class nuclear submarines on time after the country’s government announced additional funds for defense.

Specifically, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) will benefit from an extra GBP 800 million in the next financial year, the Chancellor and Defence Secretary have confirmed.

This includes access to GBP 600 million from the Dreadnought contingency, announced in 2015, and will ensure that new submarines are delivered on time and within the GBP 31 billion budget agreed at the Strategic Defence and Security Review in 2015.

In addition, GBP 200 million was agreed at the Supplementary Estimates earlier in the year.

A Royal Navy submarine has always been on patrol, providing the continuous at sea deterrent for almost 50 years. And the next generation of submarines will ensure this can continue into the future, deterring conflict and protecting the nation, a statement issued by Treasury and MOD reads.

As explained, the money funds a key government priority that has been the bedrock of defence policy for nearly 50 years.

“Our commitment to defence and national security is unwavering. The UK’s defence budget is the highest in Europe and the second highest in NATO and ensures Britain can continue to respond effectively to the ever-changing threats we face,” Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, said.

“We will continue to invest in our world-class Armed Forces and this additional investment of GBP 600 million will ensure the UK is protected by the nuclear deterrent provided by the new Dreadnought fleet into the 2030s and beyond,” Hammond added.


Original post: navaltoday.com


Ministry of Defence
Published on Oct 5, 2016
Building Begins on Britain's BIGGEST EVER Submarine



Dreadnought nuclear submarines 


The Dreadnought class of ballistic submarines for the Royal Navy is now being built. Successor was the name for the programme of delivering these submarines for the Royal Navy until the first boat was named in October 2016.


savetheroyalnavy.org

This is the enduring commitment of the Navy's dedication to continuous at sea deterrence (CASD) since April 1969.  Source: royalnavy.mod.uk


savetheroyalnavy.org


hisutton.com

Source: wikipedia.org

Air Force Risks Losing Third of F-35s If Upkeep Costs Aren't Cut



This article was originally published by Bloomberg

By Anthony Capaccio


March 28, 2018, 3:00 PM GMT+7 Updated on March 28, 2018, 8:54 PM GMT+7

  •     Operating costs may force cutting 590 fighters, analysis finds
  •     Half of support expenditures are spent on contractor support

The U.S. Air Force may have to cut its purchases of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 by a third if it can’t find ways to reduce operations and support costs by as much as 38 percent over a decade, according to an internal analysis.

The shortfall would force the service to subtract 590 of the fighter jets from the 1,763 it plans to order, the Air Force office charged with evaluating the F-35’s impact on operations and budgets, in an assessment obtained by Bloomberg News.

While the Defense Department has said it has gained control over costs for developing and producing a fleet of 2,456 F-35s for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps -- now projected at $406 billion -- the internal analysis underscores the current and looming challenges of maintaining and operating the warplanes.

It may cost as much as $1.1 trillion to keep the F-35s flying and maintained through 2070, according to the current estimate from the Pentagon’s independent cost unit.

A chart in the Air Force analysis, which was completed in December, said the service has “very limited visibility into how” increasing funds going to Lockheed for “contractor support” are spent.
 

First Disclosure

The analysis represents the first public disclosure of the potential impact if support costs aren’t reduced. Using figures developed in 2012, the Air Force faces an annual bill of about $3.8 billion a year that must be cut back over the coming decade.

The Air Force analysis doesn’t represent anything close to a final decision, according to spokeswoman Ann Stefanik. The potential reduction in aircraft was a “staff assessment on aircraft affordability. It’s premature for the Air Force to consider buying fewer aircraft at this time,” Stefanik said.

The Air Force is working with the Pentagon’s F-35 program office to reach the 38 percent reduction in operation and support costs through 2028 from the $38 billion calculated in 2012, she added.

The long-term support concerns are on top of current F-35 challenges including parts shortages, unavailable aircraft and technical issues that must be resolved as the program ends its 17-year development phase. In September, the F-35 is to begin as much as a year of rigorous combat testing that’s required by law. Successful testing would trigger full-rate production, the most profitable phase for Lockheed, as soon as late 2019.

The F-35 program is accelerating: Congress bankrolled 90 jets, or 20 more than requested, in the spending bill for the current fiscal year.


Lockheed’s Costs

Half of the operations and support expenditures are tied to Lockheed’s costs and include “program management, depot maintenance, part repair, software maintenance, engineering,” Stefanik said. Those costs “are growing with the increase in flight hours. The Air Force is working to gather visibility into cost data to better understand the rationale for the growth,” she said.

The remaining costs are managed by the Air Force, including military personnel and fuel, she said. Upkeep costs for the F-35 are also a challenge for allies buying the plane, including the U.K., Australia and Italy.

Stephen Lovegrove, the U.K.’s No. 2 civilian defense official, told reporters Tuesday at a Defense Writers Group breakfast in Washington that although the F-35 “is doing everything we hoped it would do,” his country also is grappling with the size and scope of the future support costs for a “very, very complicated platform.”

Lovegrove, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Defence, said he’d be discussing the “slightly unknown territory” of long-term costs in meetings with F-35 program officials. The U.K. is buying 138 of the Marine Corps version of the F-35 designed to be flown off aircraft carriers.


‘Bit Frustrated’

“I am constantly being asked by parliamentarians in the U.K. what the total cost is going to be and they are sometimes, understandably, a bit frustrated when I have to tell them, ‘At the moment nobody is entirely sure,’” Lovegrove said.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office said in an October report that “there is little doubt” the F-35 “brings unique capabilities to the American military, but without revising sustainment plans” the military “is at risk of being unable to leverage the capabilities of the aircraft it has recently purchased.”

It’s a sentiment shared by Undersecretary Ellen Lord, the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer, who told reporters in January that “right now, we can’t afford the sustainment costs we have on the F-35. And we’re committed to changing that.”


Original post: bloomberg.com


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Air Force 2030 - Call to Action - Video

Switzerland names contenders in $8 billion ‘Air 2030’ program



By: Sebastian Sprenge

COLOGNE, Germany — Swiss officials have unveiled details of their envisioned reboot of the country’s air-defense complex, setting the stage for purchases of aircraft and ground-based missiles totaling more than $8 billion.

The head of Switzerland’s defense and civilian protection department, Guy Parmelin, on Friday unveiled a list of requirements for the “Air 2030” program that the neutral country wants to begin fulfilling in the mid-2020s to defend its skies and repel intruders.

The existing fleet of decades-old F/A-18 and F-5 jets is considered too outdated for the task.

New aircraft under consideration include the Airbus Eurofighter, Dassault's Rafale, Saab's Gripen, the F/A-18 Super Hornet from Boeing and Lockheed Martin's F-35A, according to the March 23 list of requirements published by the defense department.

Ground-based weapons on the short list are the Eurosam consortium’s SAMP/T system; the David’s Sling missile shield from Israel; and Raytheon’s Patriot system. Swiss officials want to protect an area of 15,000 square kilometers with ground-based weapons, which is more than one-third of the country. They also seek to intercept targets up to 12 kilometers high and 50 kilometers away.

The envisioned concept of operations dictates that a fleet of roughly 40 aircraft will intercept those targets outside of the ground weapons’ range. Officials want enough capacity to have four planes in the air at any given time during crises.

Request for proposals for an acquisition program are expected to be published in the summer, Renato Kalbermatten, a spokesman for the defense department, told Defense News in an email Tuesday.

Before a referendum is held about the project in the first half of 2020, ministry officials want to finish qualification of all potential vendors. That includes studying the data from a first round of proposals and collecting final offers from those still in the running at that time, according to Kalbermatten.

Referendums are a key tool of the Swiss political process. Asked by a Swiss news agency this month if the country would still have an air force if the population voted against spending money on Air 2030, Parmelin responded dryly: “That’s policymaking in Switzerland.”

The Swiss won’t be asked which type of aircraft the country should buy, only about the program as a whole. Government analysts would then decide which system is best suited for the task, Parmelin said.

A 2014 plebiscite saw the acquisition of Sweden’s Gripen defeated, a rare outcome for a referendum on security policy matters, Swiss national broadcaster SRF commented at the time.

Notably, Germany’s future TLVS air and missile defense system, a development based on the trinational Medium Extended Air Defense System, is missing from the lineup of candidate ground-based weapons. That is because the Swiss consider that system suitable only for short and medium ranges, according to Kalbermatten.

“As Switzerland has not had a defense system for long ranges since 1999, the first goal is buying a long-range system,” he wrote.

Exactly how much money will go to aircraft purchases and how much to ground weapons will depend on the interplay between the two program components ultimately picked, according to officials. However, previous estimates assume that $6 billion or $7 billion would be spent on planes.

Winning bidders must agree to arrange for 100 percent of the program cost to flow back into the Swiss economy through so-called offset agreements. Those can be negotiated after final contracts are signed, according to the defense department.

The government is looking for aircraft and missile hardware as is, meaning few to no “Helvetizations,” or Swiss-specific tweaks, would be made to the weapons, the new requirements document states. The ministry wants to purchase a single plane type under a “one-fleet policy.”

Original post: defensenews.com

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