Saturday, 30 June 2018

Turkey won’t give up S-400 deal with Russia, presidential spox Kalın says


Turkey won't back down from its deal with Moscow for S-400 missiles despite threats of sanctions from the U.S., presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalın said on Thursday.

In an interview with Turkish Bloomberg HT channel, Kalın said "Turkey has the final say on these issues as a sovereign nation. Turkey will decide which defense systems to acquire or from whom."

According to Kalın, the government will always favor having good relations with the U.S. but Turkey "has never been or ever will be a part of an agreement which would exercise any limit on its sovereign rights."

The spokesperson added that warnings of possible sanctions serve no benefit to the relation between the two countries, adding that Turkey will take the necessary steps in case of such measures.

"There is no turning back from here. Deals have been made, signatures have been signed . They [S-400 missile systems] will be delivered next year. The transfer of technology was one of the most important things for us. We don't want to just acquire and use this technology, we want to produce it," said Kalın.

Kalın also said Turkey would consider buying Patriot missiles or other possible western-manufactured systems if they meet the required conditions.

This week, a U.S. State Department official threatened Ankara that Turkey's purchase of Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets would be jeopardized if it does not drop a plan to buy S-400 missile defense systems from Russia. The threat follows a series of warnings from Washington and visits to push back the delivery with more alternatives from the U.S.

In December, Turkey officially signed a $2.5 billion agreement with Russia for the S-400s – Russia's most advanced long-range anti-aircraft missile system. With the move, Turkey is set to become the first NATO member country to acquire the system.

With the S-400s, Ankara aims to build Turkey's first long-range air and anti-missile defense system to to boost its defense capabilities amid threats from PKK and Daesh terrorists at home and conflicts across its borders in Syria and Iraq.

Moreover, Turkey seeks to build its own missile defense systems as the deal also involves the transfer of technology and know-how. The S-400 system, which was introduced in 2007, is the new generation of Russian missile systems, and so far Russia has only sold them to China and India.

The first S-400 is expected to be delivered in early 2020.


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Friday, 29 June 2018

Boeing Wins $1.5B Deal for Delivering F/A-18 Jets to Kuwait

Zacks Equity Research June 28, 2018

The Boeing Company recently secured a contract for the production and delivery of 22 F/A-18E and six F/A-18F Super Hornets to support the government of Kuwait. Work related to the deal is scheduled to be over by January 2021.

Valued at $1.5 billion, the contract was awarded by the Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland. Majority of the order will be carried out in El Segundo, CA and Hazelwood, MO.

The company will utilize foreign military sales fund to finance the task.

Growing Demand for F/A-18

Boeing’s F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet is a twin-engine, supersonic, all weather multirole fighter jet. Notably, it comes in two versions — the single-seat E model and the twin-seat F model.

The company is continuously upgrading the Super Hornet program to outpace future threats. Also, Super Hornet’s radar, mission computers and sensors continue to evolve in order to meet extensive mission profiles. Due to the ever-rising worldwide demand of military aircraft, Boeing has developed the Advanced Block III Super Hornet. This fighter jet will complement existing and future air-wing capabilities, which include battle-space situational awareness, counter stealth targeting, increased acceleration and improved survivability.

As a result, Boeing is witnessing strong demand for its fighter aircraft and major aerospace programs, including the F-18 aircraft. This is evident from the contract that it secured from Kuwait in the first quarter for delivering 28 F-18 Super Hornets.


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German air force in dire straits: chief of staff


Sabine Siebold

BERLIN (Reuters) - NATO member Germany’s air force is in dire straits and funds are urgently needed to modernize its weaponry and systems, the air force chief of staff said on Wednesday.

“The Luftwaffe is at a low point,” Lieutenant General Ingo Gerhartz, who took over as chief of staff of the air force about a month ago, told 200 industry executives, military officers and lawmakers at an event in Berlin on Wednesday evening.

Gerhartz said his assessment followed visits to various air force sites and discussions with troops that revealed serious deficits in the readiness of aircraft and other equipment.

“Aircraft are grounded due to a lack of spare parts, or they aren’t even on site since they’re off for maintenance by the industry,” he said. He said a 400-hour inspection of the Eurofighter combat jets now took a total of 14 months, twice as long as planned, and this was unacceptable.

His comments followed recent reports by the defense ministry and the German parliament’s military ombudsman that revealed significant gaps in military equipment and personnel.

A February ministry report showed only 39 of 128 Eurofighter jets were available for training and combat use last year on average, and just 26 of 93 older-model Tornado fighter jets.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) are finalizing budget plans for 2019, but Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, from the SPD, has been resisting moves to accelerate increases in military spending.

Merkel this month forecast steady increases in German military spending in coming years, in line with Berlin’s pledge to meet a NATO target of moving toward spending 2 percent of economic output by 2024, but she gave no details.

Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen has been pressing for increased spending after Scholz’s previous longer-term plan called for military outlays to edge lower after reaching 1.3 percent of economic output in 2019, up from 1.2 percent now.

Von der Leyen has pledged that German military spending will reach 1.5 percent of gross domestic product by 2025.

Gerhartz urged lawmakers at the Wednesday event to back a more sustainable spending plan that would allow the air force to rebuild its equipment and improve planning for new weapons and upgrades to existing systems.

Reporting by Sabine SieboldWriting by Andrea Shalal


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US Army awarded a contract worth nearly $200 million for Israel’s TROPHY defense system its Abrams tanks

Leonardo DRS and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd

US Army inks $193 million deal to buy Israeli tank defense system

The TROPHY system, in use since 2011, will be supplied by an American company that partnered with Israel's Rafael arms manufacturer


The US Army on Tuesday awarded a contract worth nearly $200 million for Israel’s TROPHY defense system to shield its Abrams tanks, according to the Rafael Advanced Defense Systems contractor.

The systems, which block incoming anti-tank missiles, will be supplied to the US Army by the Armerican defense contractor Leonardo DRS, Inc., which partnered with Rafael to manufacture them.

The TROPHY, known in Hebrew as me’il ruach, or windbreaker, is an active defense system manufactured by Rafael that is designed to protect tanks and other armored vehicles from missiles and rockets.

It was first developed by Rafael and the Israel Aircraft Industries’ Elta Group and was declared operational in 2009.

The system is made up of a radar detection system that spots incoming missiles and predicts their trajectories, and launchers that fire buckshot-like metal pellets, which cause the incoming missile or rocket to detonate away from the tank.

The deal with the US Army to supply the system and accompanying parts is worth $193 million, Rafael said in a statement.

“Under the terms of the contract, Leonardo DRS will provide the [US] Army with TROPHY systems, countermeasures, and maintenance kits,” the Israeli defense contractor said.

Parts of the TROPHY will be made in the US and some in Israel, according to Rafael.

“Leonardo DRS is proud to be a part of this important effort to bring life-saving technology to our warfighters, and we are actively investing to ensure TROPHY provides a solid, American-made foundation for the Army’s coming Vehicle Protection Suite program,” said Aaron Hankins, of Leonardo DRS, in a statement.

The TROPHY system has been in use in Israel’s Merkava-model tanks since at least 2011, and more recently in the military’s armored personnel carriers.

Rafael said it has supplied “some 1,000 systems to all major Israeli ground combat platforms.”

I tried to kill the Abrams tank 48 times and failed

In 2016, the US military announced that it was planning to purchase the TROPHY system to protect American tanks until the US defense contractor Raytheon could produce its own active defense system.

Last year, the US Army said it would be fielding tanks with the TROPHY system by 2020.

At a conference, representatives from the US military said they were impressed by the system’s capabilities from live-fire testing on an Abrams tank equipped with the TROPHY.

“I tried to kill the Abrams tank 48 times and failed,” said US Army Col. Glenn Dean at a defense expo last year, according to the news site.

The system saw extensive real-world use in the 2014 Gaza war. Though many sustained damage, no tanks were destroyed in the fighting.

TROPHY™ Active Protection System (APS):  Details

U.S. to sanction Turkey for receiving S-400 missiles

Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation

The United States will take an unprecedented step against a NATO ally and impose sanctions on Turkey should it take delivery of Russian S-400 air defence missiles, a State Department official told Congress.

The United States has been clear with Turkey that the “acquisition of S-400 will inevitably affect prospects for Turkish military-industrial cooperation with the U.S., including F-35,” Wess Mitchell, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, said in testimony to the Senate on Tuesday, Bloomberg reported.

“A decision on S-400 will qualitatively change the U.S.-Turkish relationship in a way that would be very difficult to repair,” he said.

Turkey has ordered F-35 stealth fighter aircraft from the United States, but at the same time has signed a deal with Russia to acquire the S-400s. The plans to buy the missiles, part of wider political and military cooperation between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin, have angered U.S. officials. Legislators in Washington have called on the White House to suspend sales of the aircraft, pointing to the missile purchase and Turkey’s jailing of U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson on terrorism charges.

Last week, the Senate passed a bill calling on the Trump administration to freeze arms sales to Turkey until an assessment is made of military and diplomatic ties, including the S-400 deal.

Erdoğan says he was forced to order the Russian missiles after the United States and its allies failed to provide Turkey with similar military hardware in a way that Turkey could also benefit from a transfer of technology to its defence industry. Erdoğan is seeking to develop Turkish defence firms’ global business as part of his plans to boost economic growth and Turkish political influence.


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Thursday, 28 June 2018

The ‘Terminator’ tank combat vehicles to get smart shells

Russian internet images

Russia’s ‘Terminator’ advanced combat vehicles to get smart shells

The ‘Terminator’ tank support combat vehicle is armed with two 30mm 2A42 guns with a combat load of 900 rounds

MOSCOW, June 21. /TASS/. Russia’s Terminator advanced tank support combat vehicles that have recently arrived for the troops will be capable of firing smart 30mm shells with controlled air burst, the press office of Techmash Scientific and Production Association told TASS on Thursday.

The work on developing these munitions is at the final stage, Techmash said.

Similar Western munitions are used to hit sheltered enemy manpower and destroy missiles and small-size drones.

"In the interests of the Russian Army, work is now nearing completion for tank support combat vehicles to create a system with 30mm controlled burst shells," Techmash said, without specifying the munition’s design.

So far, the Terminator can fire 30mm shells with the ordinary contact fuze, which explodes when hitting an obstacle.

European variants

Small-caliber (35mm and 30mm) shells with the programmed air burst were earlier developed by the Swiss company Oerlikon (currently, part of Rheinmetall). The munition is furnished with ready-made strike elements that are ejected by a small knock-out charge at a time calculated by a specialized fire control system. Thus, shells can be activated over enemy trenches to destroy manpower hiding from the direct impact by a burst of strike elements. These munitions can be used to reliably destroy air targets, including small-size drones or missiles.

The data on the activation time is entered into the shell by a programming device located at the end of the gun barrel. Smart shells can be used as munitions for Germany’s Puma infantry fighting vehicles, on which MK-30-2/ABM guns are mounted. Their 30mm shell contains 162 ready-made cylindrical strike elements. The fragments fly to the target using kinetic energy received together with the shell during the shot and the task of the ejection charge is to spread strike elements in the form of a circular field (the projectile’s size does not allow inserting both a powerful blast charge and a sufficient number of ready-made fragments).

‘Terminator’ tank support combat vehicle

The ‘Terminator’ tank support combat vehicle is armed with two 30mm 2A42 guns with a combat load of 900 rounds. The combat vehicle is also furnished with the Ataka-T anti-tank missile system, 30mm automated grenade launchers and a large-caliber machinegun. The vehicle is designed to provide fire support for the armor in an offensive, including neutralizing enemy manpower that uses man-portable anti-tank systems.

It was officially announced in April this year that ‘Terminator’ tank support combat vehicles had been accepted for service in the Russian Army. As a source in the domestic defense industry earlier told TASS, a batch of 10 such combat vehicles had been delivered to the troops.


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Australia cleared to buy Aegis combat system equipment for integrating with its CEAFAR 2 phased array radar system

Australia cleared to buy $185 million in Aegis equipment

By: Aaron Mehta

WASHINGTON – The U.S. State Department has cleared Australia to purchase long-lead equipment for integrating its CEAFAR 2 phased array radar system with the Aegis combat system, with a potential price-tag of $185 million.

Australia seeks to add nine Aegis capable Future Frigates over the next 20 years, while upgrading their three existing Aegis capable Hobart Class destroyers, per an announcement by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

“This sale enhances Australia’s self-defense capability, while significantly improving interoperability with U.S. Navy AEGIS combatants in the region,” the notification reads. “By deploying a surface combatant fleet that will incorporate Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC), Australia will significantly improve network-centric warfare capability for U.S. forces operating in the region.”

Designed by Australian company CEA, the CEAFAR radar is a modular phased array radar system already in use by Australia’s navy. The goal of this equipment package is to get everything aligned between the radar and the Aegis weapon systems going on the new frigates.

Included in the package are a number of Aegis-related equipment, including “Command Display System (CDS) Consoles (including 2 consoles in Gun Weapon System configuration); Multi-Mission Display (MMD) systems, including projectors, sensors and cameras; Tactical Equivalent Core Computing System (CCS) Cabinets; Tactical Equivalent AEGIS LAN Interconnect System (ALIS) Cabinets; Tactical Equivalent AEGIS Conversion Equipment Group Input/Output (ACEG I/0) Cabinets; Tactical Equivalent Advanced Storage Area Network (ASAN) Cabinets; Global Command and Control System - Maritime (GCCS-M); Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) sites systems, to include processing rack, simulation equipment and workstation; AN/SPQ-15 Converter/Receiver and /signal data converter equipment; Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DIVDS) cabinet; AN/SQQ-89 Sonobouy Processing Core Computing System racks, with console and laptop; AEGIS simulator racks and workstations; AEGIS Training System; and various ancillary equipment and support products, including desktop computers, displays, test units and compilations servers, printers, workstations, spares, cabling and software licenses.”

Technical assistance is also requested. Primary work will occur at the Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems facility in Moorestown, NJ.

Being cleared by the State Department does not guarantee a sale will be completed. Congress can still intervene, and final price and quantity are often altered during negotiations. The proposed sale is being handled under a Foreign Military Sales vehicle.

This is the second Aegis-related FMS notification in as many days. On Tuesday, a notification that Spain is seeking to buy 5 Aegis weapon systems, potentially worth $860.4 million, was released.

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The Royal Thai Army (RTA) Introduces Elbit Hermes 450 unmanned aerial system (UAS)

 Elbit Systems

Thailand Introduces Elbit’s Hermes 450 UAS

by Chen Chuanren and Chris Pocock

- June 25, 2018, 6:05 AM

The Royal Thai Army (RTA) has introduced the Elbit Hermes 450 unmanned aerial system (UAS), becoming the second Southeast Asian country after Singapore to operate this drone. Elbit Systems says that the H450 has now performed “40,000 successful combat missions,” but like other Israeli companies, it does not specify customers. Meanwhile, Thales UK is separately marketing for export the Watchkeeper UAS that it developed from the H450 for the British Army, in cooperation with Elbit.

The Elbit sale to Thailand is worth $28 million and consists of four H450 air vehicles and a ground-control station. The UAS will be used for a variety of roles including ISR, target designation, and aerial mapping. The system will be based at the 21st Aviation Battalion, RTA Aviation Centre in Lopburi Province. The Lopburi complex has been flying IAI Searcher Mk II UAVs since 2001.

The RTA and Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) each have their own independent UAV programs, the latter flying four Israel Aeronautics Defence Systems Aerostar UAVs.

Thales UK delivered all 54 Watchkeepers ordered by the British Army between 2014 and 2017. It developed “Equipment Stage 2” enhancements that included the ability to control three air vehicles from one ground station, with more autonomy in the mission-planning system. Thales received a £80 million ($106 million) support and training contract for the British Army in 2016. Some of this support, plus further development such as maritime utility trials, takes place at the West Wales Airport at Aberporth that specializes in UAV flying. One Watchkeeper crashed near there on June 15, the fifth loss so far.

According to Thales officials who gave a briefing at the DSEI show last September, the Watchkeeper offers “three times the performance of the H450” as a result of its better sensors and other enhancements. The Watchkeeper is equipped with a Thales I-Master SAR/GMTI radar, and the company is now replacing the original Elbit Compass 4 EO/IR sensor with the higher-definition FLIR Systems 380 sensor ball. Thales is also in a joint venture with Qinetiq to offer a communications intelligence (COMINT) sensor.

The export offer is designated Watchkeeper-X. Thales has not made any sales yet but is in competition with Elbit (the H450) and Textron (the Shadow) for a Polish requirement named "Gryf."


Thai Army version is equipped with The Electronic Intelligence (ELINT), Electronic Warfare (EW), Communication Intelligence (COMINT) and COMM JAM

กองพันบินที่ ๒๑ 21st Aviation Battalion
กองพันบินที่ ๒๑ 21st Aviation Battalion

Hermes 450 Multi-Role High Performance Tactical UAS

Royal Thai Army (RTA) -

Hermes 450 is a multirole high performance tactical Unmanned Air System (UAS) developed by Elbit Systems. It has been serving as the main Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) platform for the Israel Defense Forces for more than a decade.

Hermes 450 formed the basis for the development of unmanned aerial vehicles, such as Watchkeeper WK450 and Hermes 900.

Hermes 450 is the first UAS to fly with the approval of Civil Aviation Authority of Israel (CAAI). The UAS is mainly designed to assist the armed forces to conduct ISTAR missions.

The UAS is operational in more than 20 countries and has accumulated more than 300,000 flight hours.

The major operators include the Israeli Air Force, Azerbaijani Armed Forces, Brazilian Air Force, the Republic of Singapore Air Force, Georgian Air Force and Cyprus Air Force.

Design, payload and sensors of the multirole tactical UAS

The Hermes 450 incorporates a high wing design. The cylindrical shaped fuselage is attached with straight wings. The tail section integrates V-tail design to reduce the drag and decrease its radar signature.

Elbit Systems

The UAS is designed to support long endurance and concealed operations. The low fuel consumption ensures long endurance and allows the supply of power to onboard electronics for longer periods.

กองพันบินที่ ๒๑ 21st Aviation Battalion

Hermes 450 carries dual payloads at a time and can support a wide range of sensors. The maximum payload capacity of the UAS is 180kg.

Electro-Optical (EO)/Infrared (IR) camera - กองพันบินที่ ๒๑ 21st Aviation Battalion

Electro-Optical (EO)/Infrared (IR) cameras carried by Hermes 450 allow it to capture high quality imagery during day or night. The payload also includes Laser Designator to assign targets.

Elbit Systems

Payloads such as Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), Ground Moving Target Indication (GMTI), Medium Power Radar (MPR) and Automatic Identification System (AIS) are integrated into the vehicle to provide the situational awareness, as well as to indicate and identify targets.

Elbit Systems

The Electronic Intelligence (ELINT), Electronic Warfare (EW), Communication Intelligence (COMINT) and COMM JAM payloads impart communication ability to the vehicle.

Elbit Systems

Hermes 450 can also carry a newly developed hyperspectral payload. The payload enables the UAS to map the area at different wavelengths simultaneously and to acquire the spectral signature of the materials.

Elbit Systems

The hyperspectral payload provides the ability to identify, measure and track objects which are difficult to obtain with other sensors, and to find invisible objects and unsafe materials. It is interfaced with a ground section that interprets the images and the data collected by the payload.

Hermes 450 navigation

Elbit Systems
Elbit Systems
Elbit Systems
Elbit Systems
Elbit Systems

The UAS is fully autonomous from the time of take off to landing. Auto pilot of the Hermes 450 enables the vehicle to take off and land safely. The vehicle can also be controlled completely by a Universal Ground Control Station (UGCS). The British version of Hermes 450 uses inertial navigation system.

Engine of the high performance UAS

กองพันบินที่ ๒๑ 21st Aviation Battalion

Hermes 450 is powered by an R902 (W) Wankel engine delivering 52HP at 8,000rpm to a double bladed pusher propeller. The engine is supplied by UAV Engines in the UK.

* Only found data for AR801R -51BHP from UAV Engines website

AR801R Wankel engine

UAV Engines

Hermes 450 universal ground control station (UGCS)

กองพันบินที่ ๒๑ 21st Aviation Battalion

Hermes 450 can be controlled by mobile / fixed UGCS. The same UGCS allows the operators to control all UAS in the Hermes family. The UGCS features a ground data terminal (GDT), a remote video terminal and a flight line tester / loader.

กองพันบินที่ ๒๑ 21st Aviation Battalion
กองพันบินที่ ๒๑ 21st Aviation Battalion

The UGCS has two consoles, one acting as a spare console. The software of the system enables in-flight mission editing and operation of payloads. The UAS can simultaneously conduct two missions with a single GCS and two GDTs.

Unmanned Air System performance

Elbit Systems

Hermes 450 can reach up to an altitude of 5,486m with a rate of climb of 4.6m/s. The UAS has a maximum speed of 176km/h and a cruising speed of 130km/h. It can be operated in adverse weather condition from semi-prepared runways. The UAS can operate for 17 hours and the endurance can be extended up to 30 hours with the integration of external fuel tanks. The aircraft has a maximum range of 300km.