Friday, 30 November 2018

Syria shot down an Israeli war plane and four missiles on Thursday

F-16 Barak -

Syrian army says downs 'hostile targets' in suspected Israel attack: sources

Suleiman Al-Khalidi, Dan Williams

AMMAN/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Syria’s air defense forces shot down an Israeli war plane and four missiles on Thursday, Russia’s RIA news agency said, citing a Syrian security source, but Israel’s military said the report was bogus.

The source said the missiles aimed at the town of Kiswah, south of the capital Damascus, were struck before they reached their targets that Syrian opposition sources said were Iranian-backed strongholds.

The area where the incident is said to have occurred is where Lebanon’s Hezbollah, a group backed by Iran, has its communications and logistics hub for southern Syria near the Israeli border, according to two senior regional intelligence sources.

Among the targets struck were two Syrian army brigades where Lebanon’s Hezbollah group is embedded alongside a rocket depot close to its bases near the border with Lebanon, another Syrian army defector in touch with military personnel said.

Unlike previous occasions, the Syrian authorities did not blame Israel.

Israel is concerned that Iran’s growing presence in Syria poses a threat to its own security and has struck dozens of Iranian and Iran-backed positions in Syria over the course of the country’s seven-year conflict.

The Israel Defence Forces said in a statement on Twitter: “In the course of Syrian ground-to-air missile fire, (Israel’s) air defenses sighted a single trajectory toward an open area of the Golan Heights.”

“At this stage it remains unclear whether there was indeed an impact in our territory. Our forces are scouring the area. Furthermore, the report about a strike on an Israeli aircraft or an Israeli aerial target are bogus,” said the statement.

Earlier, Syrian state media said Syrian air defenses shot down “hostile targets” flying over the town of Kiswah and “were able to foil its goals” despite the “intensity of the aggression.”

A Syrian opposition figure familiar with the area said its proximity to the Syrian Golan Heights made it a hub for the recruitment of Iranian-backed militias and their deployment across the strategic border area with Israel.

“Israel has targeted this area because the Syrian army barracks there have become a recruiting ground for Hezbollah and their militias to deploy in Quneitra,” Said Seif told Reuters.

Iran is a key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and supports a number of militias that have fought alongside the Syrian army and its allies.

Tehran has in recent months expanded its military presence in southern Syria after insurgents were driven out with Hezbollah, by far the biggest of the Iranian-backed militias expanding its foothold there, according to regional security sources.

Opposition sources say Hezbollah now plays a commanding role in the Quneitra province that neighbors Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, where it is believed to be training allied militias and hundreds of former rebels.

The sources said this was the first major attack since Israel scaled down its attacks in Syria after the accidental shooting down of a Russian surveillance plane over two months ago.

The Sept. 17 downing by Syrian anti-aircraft fire, after Israeli jets attacked a suspected Iranian arms shipment to Syria, caused a diplomatic rift between Israel and Russia, and Moscow blamed Israel for the incident.

Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi in Amman, Dan Williams in Jerusalem and Denis Pinchuk in Moscow; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Richard Chang


Related articles:

Bell pitches AH-1Z Viper helo to replace Japan’s Cobra copters

Bell pitches Viper attack helo to replace Japan’s Cobra copters

By: Mike Yeo  

TOKYO — American company Bell is promoting its AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter at the Japan International Aerospace Exhibition in Tokyo as its entrant for Japan’s attack helicopter replacement program.

The East Asian U.S. ally is seeking a new helicopter to replace the approximately 70 Bell AH-1S Cobra helos currently in use by the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force. The country had released a request for information in May seeking a new helicopter.

Speaking to Defense News at the show, retired Lt. Gen. George Trautman, a former U.S. Marine aviator and commander of all Marine Corps aviation who now works as an adviser for Bell, said the company responded to the RFI through the U.S. government with 50 AH-1Z helicopters.

John Woodbery, Bell’s director of global military business development in the Asia-Pacific region, added that the RFI called for an attack helicopter with “marinization and shipboard compatibility,” with Trautman asserting that the AH-1Z can “operate onboard ships far better than the competition.”

The representatives from Bell said there’s more to marinization than additional corrosion protection from saltwater. They said this also includes foldable rotor blades and other measures that reduce the stowage footprint onboard the limited space on ships, as well as a design that minimizes electromagnetic interference.

The requirement for the new attack helicopter to operate from ships suggests Japan plans to use them on Izumo-class helicopter destroyers or the smaller Hyuga-class of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, which are equipped with a long flight deck to operate multiple helicopters.

Japan will likely require at least a degree of technology transfer and local production for the new helicopters. Bell’s relationship with Japan reaches across 65 years, including the company’s partnership with Fuji Heavy Industries (now Subaru) for production of Japan’s AH-1S helicopters.


AH-1Z Viper: Details

Syria shoots down Israeli war plane

Public domain

Syria shoots down Israeli war plane and four missiles - RIA citing source

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Syrian air defence forces shot down an Israeli war plane and four missiles, Russia’s RIA news agency said on Thursday citing a Syrian security source.

“Our air defence forces shot down an Israeli war plane and four missiles before they reached the targets”, the source said, according to RIA. The source said all the missiles targeting the town of Kiswah were struck.


Related articles:
Syrian state media says air defenses hit Israeli plane, thwart missile strike

MiG Corporation to complete testing of MiG-35 fighter in 2019

MiG Corporation to complete MiG-35 fighter testing in 2019

All tests of Russia's advanced MiG-35 multirole fighter will be completed in 2019, Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG Director General Ilya Tarasenko told reporters.

'We are at the production stage, in the near future the aircraft will begin to be received by Defence Ministry operating organizations. From the viewpoint of conducting the final tests, we expect that in 2019 we will complete the entire complex of tests', Tarasenko said.

He said the MiG Corporation hoped for prompt signing of export contracts for MiG-35 supplies.

The contract for the supply of the first lot of six MiG-35 multifunctional fighters was signed at the 2018 Army Forum on August 22.

The MiG-35 is the newest multi-purpose fighter of the 4++ generation, which is a further development of the MiG-29K, KUB and MiG-29M, and M2 aircraft. Flight tests and the international presentation of the vehicle took place in January 2017, and in December of the same year, the factory testing of the fighter was ended.


Related articles:
Russian Defense Ministry concluded agreements to receive two Su-57 jet fighters and six MiG-35 fighters

MiG-35/35D Fulcrum-F: Details

Thursday, 29 November 2018

US approves possible sale of 10 AH-64E Apache helicopters and tank ammunition to the Egypt

US military Technology

State Department approves $1.2B in Apache, ammunition sales for Egypt

By Stephen Carlson

Nov. 28 (UPI) -- The State Department has approved the possible sale of 10 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters and a large quantity of tank ammunition to the Egyptian government.

The Apache sale, announced Tuesday, totals $1 billion and includes targeting systems, Hellfire missiles, night vision goggles, radars and other equipment needed for combat operations. Spare parts, maintenance services and training materials are also included in the sale.

The tank ammunition sale, also announced on Tuesday, will provide about 60,000 rounds of 120mm training and discarding-sabot armor piercing rounds for $201 million. The order includes spares, support services and personnel training for the Egyptian military.

The State Department says that Egypt has the ability to absorb and integrate the equipment and ammunition and that the sale will not significantly alter the balance of power in the region.

The AH-64E Apache is the latest variant of the helicopter, featuring greater stand-off attack capability and more capable sensors. It is armored and carries a 30mm chaingun and a variety of rockets and guided missiles.

Over 2,200 Apaches have been manufactured since the aircraft was introduced in 1984. It is the primary attack helicopter of the U.S. Army and has been exported to countries across the world.

The 120mm round is used by the L/44 M256A1 smoothbore gun on the M1A1 and M1A2 series of Abrams main battle tanks. Egypt is one of the largest operators of the Abrams in the world with well over 1,000 active or stockpiled and financed by U.S. military aid.


Ah-64 Apache: Details

Sierra Nevada Corp. Awarded $329 Million for 12 A-29 Aircraft in Foreign Military Sales to Nigeria

Afghan Air Force - US image

Sierra Nevada Corp. Awarded $329 Million for A-29 Aircraft in Foreign Military Sales to Nigeria – DoD Daily Contracts

The contract also provides for ground training devices, mission planning systems, mission debrief systems, contiguous U.S. interim contractor support, OCONUS contractor logistic support, as well as other services and equipment.

Sierra Nevada Corp., Centennial, Colorado, has been awarded a $329,076,750 undefinitized contract action (UCA) for 12 A-29 aircraft for the Nigerian Air Force.  The total not-to-exceed amount of the UCA is approved at $344,727,439 to include a Forward Looking Infrared System for six of the aircraft.  This piece is projected to be funded soon after UCA award.  In addition to the 12 aircraft, this contract provides for ground training devices, mission planning systems, mission debrief systems, spares, ground support equipment, alternate mission equipment, contiguous U.S. interim contractor support, outside of continental U.S. (OCONUS) contractor logistic support, and five field service representatives for OCONUS support for three years. Work will be performed in Jacksonville, Florida, and is expected to be completed May 2024. Foreign military sales funds in the amount of $220,167,735 are being obligated at the time of award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8637-19-C-6009).


Related articles:
Trump and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari dicuss A-29 Super Tucano deal

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

ITS Antonio Marceglia Completes Sea Trials

ITS Antonio Marceglia - OCCAR photos

September 27, 2018 – The Fourth Italian General Purpose ship and the eight Italian FREMM to be delivered, ITS Antonio Marceglia finished its sea trials on the 20th of November after the completion of all tests foreseen for the Platform and Combat System equipment.

As occurred last year for ITS Martinengo, ITS Antonio Marceglia have completed sea trials in only five months after the First Sea Going in last June, confirming the strong coordination existing between all the actors involved in the program (NAVARM/UTNAV, IT Navy, FREMM PD, and Industry). Indeed, in each of the thirteen scheduled sea trials, the effective coordination of all stakeholder played a key role in order to complete all trials on schedule although the activities at sea were challenging, with different GFx (at least ships, airplanes and helicopters).

Starting from ITS Alpino, delivered to the Italian Navy in 2016, the “Zero ANT” (Activities Not Terminated) objective requested by Italian Navy is the goal to be accomplished. In order to take this achievement through in line with the contractual schedule, the Final Official Acceptance of ITS Antonio Marceglia is scheduled on the next 16th of April.


Related article:

Bergamini class (FREMM) frigate: Details

First flight prototype of Il-112V light transport aircraft handed over to the flight test station in Voronezh aviation plant

Source: UAC Russia

Related articles:
First experimental flight for Il-112V in October-November of this year

Taiwan dump plans to buy F-35 fighter jets but will instead consider purchase of 66 F-16V fighter jets

Taiwan plans purchase of 66 F-16V fighter jets: report

Taiwan scraps plan to buy F-35 fighters, refocuses on F-16V
By Scott Morgan,Taiwan News, Staff Writer

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan’s military has abandoned its plan to buy a number of F-35 fighter jets from the U.S., and will instead continue to consider a potential purchase of 66 F-16V fighter jets instead, reports suggest.

UDN reported rumors suggesting that the fleet of F-5 fighter jets at Zhi-Hang Air Base in Taitung County will be retired and replaced by 66 F-16V jets, to strengthen the region’s defense against Chinese warships and other threats.

The Taiwan military began investigating the potential F16-V purchase in August, and the Ministry of National Defense hopes to request a prospective quote from the U.S. by the end of the year, reports suggest.

The U.S. is open to the possibility of licensing intellectual property and production line expertise relating to F-16V production to Taiwan, which poses an opportunity for Taiwanese industry development and employment, reports suggest.

Air Force Command Headquarters told UDN that any potential weapon procurement is judged against enemy capability and operational needs.

The Taiwan Government is expected to request a quote for the 66 proposed F-16V fighters, with the U.S. expected to confirm price and availability in the middle of 2019. This would then lead to payment to take place through the Ministry of National Defence’s budget for 2020.

According to international prices, the sale of 66 F-16V fighters would amount to around US$10 billion (NT$308.98 billion). The price would be greater if Taiwan was to manufacturer the jet in Taiwan, reported UDN.

In January 2017, the Taiwan Air Force began to upgrade its existing fleet of 145 F-16A/B fighters at a total cost of NT$110 billion (US$3.46 billion). The first of these upgraded fighters took to the skies in Oct. 2010, with the project expected to be completed before 2022.

Related articles:

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Qatar to receive 6 F-15 fighter jets from U.S. in 2021

Korean Air Force F-15K

Qatar expects six F-15 war planes will be delivered to its Air Force by March, 2021, a military official said on Monday.

The official, Brig.-Gen. Issa al-Mahannadi, told reporters at the Al Udeid air base in Qatar that another six jets were expected to be delivered three months after the initial batch was received. “This is not a purchase; it is a strategic partnership with the U.S.,” Mahannadi said. 

Qatar in August, announced that it would expand Al Udeid, which hosts the largest U.S. military facility in the Middle East, to accommodate the F-15s and other fighter jets. He said that construction on the area for the F-15s would start in 2020 and be completed by 2021, in time to receive the first delivery. It is the first batch of 36 war planes it agreed to buy from the United States last year in a deal worth 12 billion dollars. Also four more fighter jets are expected every three months thereafter. Qatar signed agreements to buy war planes from the U. S. as well as Europe last year.

This was done after a political dispute broke out between it and her neighbours, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain. Qatar is also buying French Rafale war planes and Eurofighter Typhoon war planes. Boeing was awarded the contract for the F-15s .


Related articles:

Hybrid F-22 with F-35 tech and super-powered F-15 Eagle?

6th gen concept by RodrigoAvella

Hybrid theory: Lockheed Martin, Boeing pitch upgraded F-22, F-15

An F-22 with F-35 tech and a super-powered F-15 Eagle? Air Force isn't interested yet.

SEAN GALLAGHER - 11/27/2018, 12:10 AM

Almost since the day the last F-22 Raptor fighter jet rolled out of Lockheed Martin's assembly plant, the US Air Force has been making plans for its successor—a "sixth generation" fighter aircraft to continue the US military's dominance of the air.

In 2016, the Air Force issued its "Air Superiority 2030" strategic plan for the next 15 years of air combat capabilities, which included a call for developing a "Penetrating Counter-air (PCA)" aircraft. Essentially, the military wanted a fighter capable of surviving in an advanced, hostile environment while taking out enemy aircraft and air defenses and acting as "a node in the network, providing data from its penetrating sensors to enable employment using either stand-off or stand-in weapons." The US Navy is looking at similar capabilities for its carrier-based air operations.

The F-35 Lightning II is not an air superiority fighter aircraft. While it can dabble in that role, it was intended to be a "strike fighter"—a fighter-bomber workhorse meant largely to take on ground targets and defend itself as necessary. The F-22 was built for such a life, but only 187 operational F-22s were delivered before that program was shut down in 2011. Since, advances in foreign aircraft, air defenses, and detection technology (including infrared systems and, potentially, "quantum radar" being developed by China) may have begun to put a dent in the F-22's superiority.

Designs for a successor aircraft to the F-22 are still highly conceptual at this stage, and it could be a decade or more before a contract is even awarded to build the next-generation fighter aircraft. That's got the two major fighter aircraft manufacturers—Lockheed Martin and Boeing—feeling a little itchy. Both have been pitching interim plans to the Air Force that wouldn't require a long lead development cycle while helping to beef up the Air Force's air superiority capability much sooner. The Air Force, however, has not yet been hooked on either option.

Back in August of this year, Defense One reported that Lockheed Martin was working on a proposal to update the existing F-22 design with the new technologies developed for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter program. This hybrid aircraft is essentially what Lockheed Martin has pitched to Japan as a replacement for the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force's aging F-2 fighters—domestically produced fighters based on the F-16 design, slotted to retire by 2030. The US has put tight controls on F-22 technology in the past, but the Trump administration may allow the deal with Japan to go forward in the interest of fixing trade deficits.

The advanced stealth capabilities of the F-22's design would be enhanced with the F-35's networking capabilities, modernized mission system, improved stealth coatings, and other improvements, according to the Defense One report. Since no new technology would be needed, the cost of the new aircraft would leverage the sunk costs of both previous Lockheed Martin fighters, and it would integrate seamlessly with the F-35 fleet Japan is purchasing—as well as the US Air Force's.

Boeing's pitch is an upgrade of a different color, based on the same game plan that convinced the Trump administration and the Navy to buy more FA-18 Super Hornets. The F-15X, revealed by The War Drive in July, is a proposed upgraded version of the venerable F-15 Eagle. The F-15X is also a fighter on a budget, but its design is focused on flipping the "high-low" mix originally behind the F-22 and F-35 combination.

With dramatically newer avionics, enhanced RADAR, and a lot more firepower, the F-15X would carry up to 24 air missiles. The aircraft could also get enhanced electronic warfare capabilities, which it would need since it lacks the low observable design of the more stealthy F-35 and F-22. But the F-15X would integrate into the current supply and support chain readily, and it could fulfill roles not requiring the stealthiness of the F-35.

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson has been adamant that the Air Force will focus on the F-35 program for now and that there are no plans to follow through on either proposal at the moment. But there is apparently support for both ideas within the Air Force, where senior officers have reportedly been shepherding the initiatives at a low level. Given that shifting priorities are the only constant at the Pentagon, it's still possible that one or both of these low-budget (in DOD dollars) upgrades will happen.


Related post:
U.S. Air Force not interested in F-15X or hybrid F-22/F-35
Air Force not considering new F-15 or hybrid F-22/F-35, top civilian says
Lockheed Pitching F-22/F-35 Hybrid to U.S. Air Force
F-15X is it A Huge Waste Of Time and Money?
Details of the F-15X That Boeing is Pitching the US Air Force
Lockheed Martin has provided the Japanese government with sensitive information on the F-22 Raptor design

Iran ready to export “Kowsar” fighter jets


Iran says ready to export fighter jets, training aircraft

Iran says it is ready to export domestically built fighter jets after showcasing them to potential buyers during an upcoming air show on Kish Island.

Brigadier General Abdoklarim Banitarafi, head of Iran Aviation Industries Organization (IAIO), made the announcement on Monday, before the air show’s opening ceremony.

“We have already taken the necessary steps to export products that we are authorized to sell,” he told reporters, noting that Tehran will resume selling trainer jets as well.

Iran unveiled its first domestically designed and manufactured fighter jet named “Kowsar” during a defense show in Tehran in August.

The fourth-generation Iranian fighter jet is equipped with “advanced avionics and fire control systems” and can be used for short aerial support missions.

The plane can be manufactured in both single- and double-cockpit types, the latter of which can be used for advanced pilot training missions in addition to its combat capability, according to Fars news agency.

Banitarafi said Iran had already reached export agreements with China, Russia and Indonesia.

US becoming ‘more miserable’

Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami said at the Kish Air Show’s opening ceremony that Iran was steaming ahead and making advancements in all fields despite harsh economic sanctions by the US, which he said is becoming “more miserable” by the day.

“Forty years ago, the Iranian nation purged America as the symbol of imperialism and it will proudly celebrate the 40th anniversary of its independence three months from now,” he said.

New warship armed with domestic CIWS

Iran's Navy says its new warship, which will be unveiled later this week, comes equipped with a domestically developed close-in weapon system (CIWS).

Dubbed Kamand, the state-of-the-art system is mounted on the Iranian Navy’s Sahand guided-missile destroyer, allowing it to defend itself against anti-ship missiles, helicopters and a range of other incoming threats.

Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi, the commander of the Navy, made the announcement during an interview published by Tasnim News on Monday.

Khanzadi said besides Kamand, the warship has also received a range of new weapons and electronics that put it above its predecessors in terms of combat power and operability.

“This frigate is armed with anti-ship cruise missiles and has larger flight decks to carry heavier helicopters,” the commander said.

Sahand is also equipped with other advanced systems that Khanzadi said “perhaps we don’t need to talk about right now.”

According to Khanzadi, the Navy would commission a total of three new destroyers to its northern and southern armadas in the next four months.

The rear admiral noted that a second destroyer was in line to receive Kamand, which is often referred to as the Iranian equivalent to America’s Phalanx CIWS.

The Navy has yet to disclose more details about the weapons system but according to Khanzadi, Kamand can fire anywhere from 4,000 to 7,000 projectiles per minute.

Earlier this year, Khanzadi told reporters that Kamand had been successfully tested and was ready for deployment. He said back then that Iran was among the few countries in the world with the technology to develop such advanced systems.

Iran is set to showcase its latest achievements in maritime technology during the 20th Iran International Maritime and Offshore Technologies Exhibition (IRANIMEX2018) on Kish Island next month.


Related article:

Japan to order F-35A and F-35B

Japan to order 100 more F-35 fighters from US

Move comes in response to China's military rise and Trump's pressure

TOKYO -- Japan is preparing to order another 100 F-35 stealth fighter jets from the U.S. to replace some of its aging F-15s, according to sources.

The plan can be considered a response to China's military buildup, as well as a nod to U.S. President Donald Trump's call for Tokyo to buy more American defense equipment. Japan already intended to procure 42 of the new fighters.

A single F-35 costs more than 10 billion yen ($88.1 million), meaning the additional order would exceed 1 trillion yen.

Japan's government plans to approve the purchase when it adopts new National Defense Program Guidelines at a cabinet meeting in mid-December. It will also include the F-35 order in its medium-term defense program, which covers fiscal 2019 to fiscal 2023. The government wants to obtain 42 F-35s as successors to its F-4s by fiscal 2024.

The 42 fighters Japan originally planned to buy are all F-35As, a conventional takeoff and landing variant. The additional 100 planes would include both the F-35A and F-35B, which is capable of short takeoffs and vertical landings.

At present, Japan deploys about 200 F-15s, roughly half of which cannot be upgraded. The Defense Ministry wants to replace the planes that cannot be upgraded with the 100 F-35s, while enhancing and retaining the remaining F-15s.

To accommodate the F-35Bs, the government intends to revamp the Maritime Self-Defense Force's JS Izumo helicopter carrier to host the fighters.

Japan's neighbors are busy introducing their own advanced military aircraft. China deployed its homegrown J-20 stealth fighter in February, and by 2030 some experts expect the country to build a fleet of more than 250 fifth-generation jets -- as the latest generation of fighters like the F-35 is known.

Russia, too, is expected to introduce its fifth-generation Sukhoi Su-35 in 2019, at the earliest.

To keep up, Tokyo believes it is imperative to significantly increase its procurement of the most sophisticated stealth jets.

At the same time, Trump has repeatedly urged Japan to purchase more American hardware and reduce the trade imbalance between the countries. Buying more of the high-priced fighters is a quick way to do that.

In September, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Trump, "Introducing high-performance equipment, including American [materiel], is important for our country to strengthen its defense capabilities."


Related articles: