Monthly Archives: February 2017


Pakistan to receive the first of 12 Bell AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters

International Viper [IDEX17D5]

23 February 2017

This year Pakistan will begin receiving the first of 12 Bell AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters that it has ordered. When delivered, they will be the first export use of the type, which is the latest iteration of Bell’s iconic gunship helicopter.

The AH-1 concept has come a long way since its creation as the HueyCobra in the 1960s, gaining a second engine and a four-bladed rotor along the way, while the mission equipment now represents the state-of-the-art in attack helicopter systems.

The Viper’s principal targeting system is the Lockheed Martin AAQ-30 Target Sight System, an electro-optical turret mounted in the helicopter’s nose. The two- person crew employ the Thales TopOwl helmet-mounted display, while the Viper is protected by systems such as the AAR-47 missile approach warning system, APR-39C(V)2 radar warning receiver and ALE-47 countermeasures dispensing system. Armament comprises a chin-mounted M197 three-barrelled 20mm cannon turret, rocket pods and precision-guided weapons such as Hellfire missiles and APKWS laser-guided rockets. The stub wings have a tip-mounted rail for an air-to-air missile such as the AIM-9 Sidewinder.

Along with the Bell UH-1Y Venom with which it shares major systems and components, the Viper was selected to equip the light helicopter attack squadrons of the US Marine Corps as a successor to the AH-1W. Pakistan became the first export customer when it ordered three in August 2015, adding nine more in April 2016. A total of 15 was requested in the notification to US Congress, approved in April 2015.

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US Navy orders nine AH-1Z Viper Attack Helicopters for Pakistan

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Bell AH-1Z Viper: Details



Swedish government believes that Gripen deal will prove to be a turning point in the strategic partnership

‘India, Sweden strategic ties will take-off with Gripen deal’



The Indian Air Force seeks to replace its archaic Russian jets with the latest ones


The Swedish government believes that if India selects fighter aircraft Gripen, made by Saab Group, for its $10-billion single-engine fighter jet programme, it will prove to be a turning point in the strategic partnership between the countries.

“Make in India, as we understand, is a strategic approach. If India decides to select Gripen for the Make in India programme, it will strengthen the strategic ties between the countries,” Jan Salestrand, State Secretary in the Swedish Ministry of Defence, told BusinessLine in an interview.

He said the Swedish government believes Saab will be able to meet all the requirements of the Indian Air Force that is seeking to replace its archaic Russian jets with the latest ones.

“We are coming to the tender on aircraft deal, and I think we can live up to that. We are trying to understand what is meant by Make in India and how to turn it into a reality. I think we have a good case here,” Salestrand said.

He said he is hopeful the deal will prove to be a “breakthrough” if the Ministry of Defence chooses Gripen over its competitors. He also said there will not be any issue from the US on getting the deal signed if Saab wins the contract from India.

He added that a pact was signed between former US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter and Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist on the equipment that are procured from the US to build Gripen.

During the recently concluded Aero India show, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had stated that the tender to procure nearly 200 fighter jets will be floated by the year-end. Apart from Saab, US’ Lockheed Martin is also eyeing the deal with its F-16.

Sweden is also looking to provide the maritime variant of Gripen to the Indian Navy, which is also looking for carrier-based warplanes having twin engines.

However, Salestrand said, even if Gripen is not able to win the contract from India defence, ties between the countries will continue to remain robust. “There is a range of ongoing tenders and some are coming up. The question of aircraft or no aircraft does not really matter. That will be run through, and we will try to compete. It will have no effect at all on our defence cooperation that runs deep.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had assured Sweden of increased defence cooperation between the countries during the visit of Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven.

(This article was published on February 22, 2017)

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He added that a pact was signed between former US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter and Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist on the equipment that are procured from the US to build Gripen.

During the recently concluded Aero India show, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had stated that the tender to procure nearly 200 fighter jets will be floated by the year-end. Apart from Saab, US’ Lockheed Martin is also eyeing the deal with its F-16.

Sweden is also looking to provide the maritime variant of Gripen to the Indian Navy, which is also looking for carrier-based warplanes having twin engines.

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Low-key for US fighter jets at Aero India 2017 due to new US administration

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Lockheed says U.S. may take “fresh look” at its India F-16 plan

Showdown Gripen vs F-16 fighters at Aero India show 2017

Focus will be on single engine aircrafts at Aero India 2017

Saab Gripen E: Details

F-16 E/F Block 60: Details

F-16V Fighter – Upgrade: Details



Shenyang FC-31 developing carrier version

China’s FC-31 Fighter May Be Slated for Carrier Ops

by Chen Chuanren – February 23, 2017, 3:31 AM

Following the first flight of a second Shenyang FC-31 prototype, on December 23 last year, there are now discussions within the Chinese media that the improved aircraft might be slated for operations on the new Chinese carrier fleet. The aircraft has been named the “Gryfalcon.”

The second prototype is similarly configured to the model that was displayed at China’s Zhuhai Airshow last November. It features some common design elements to the Chengdu J-20 stealth fighter, such as cropped vertical stabilizers. It also has an Electro Optic Targeting Sight (EOTS) under the nose. In an interview on Chinese television, military analyst Chen Hu said that it is not surprising to see elements of the J-20 on the FC-31, since both jets are being developed by the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AIVC).

A new scale model of the FC-31 on display in the Shenyang Aviation Museum carries Chinese naval insignia, further hinting at a planned carrier capability for the aircraft. The museum is owned by the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation. Like most carrier-borne aircraft, the FC-31 has a twin nose gear, and it was recently reported that the third Chinese aircraft carrier would be fitted with three steam catapults.

Chen also noted that the smaller and lighter footprint of the FC-31 gives it an advantage on a carrier’s limited deck space. Moreover, Shenyang would have an advantage over other Chinese aerospace companies, because of its experience in adapting the Su-27 for Chinese naval use as the J-15.

Specifications revealed at the Zhuhai Airshow suggest that the length of the Gryfalcon has increased from 16.8 meters to 17.5 meters. The maximum takeoff weight has increased by three tonnes to 28 tonnes. In addition, the wheel wells of the second prototype are significantly smaller, allowing for a larger internal weapons bay, capable of accommodating up to 8 tonnes of armaments.

The aircraft was originally powered by the Russian-supplied Klimov R-93 turbofans, but Chinese analysts have noted that the latest test flight did not produce the thick exhaust smoke seen in earlier flights. This suggests that the second FC-31 has new powerplants.

The FC-31 is self-funded by Shenyang, which is hoping to export it. The current list price for the Chinese is at $70 million, significantly lower than the F-35A Lightning II. In 2014, Pakistan’s defense production minister Rana Tanveer Hussain stated his country’s interest in procuring 30-40 FC-31. Discussions have since reportedly advanced beyond the initial phase.

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Indian Air Force Turns Down British Advanced Hawk trainer aircraft

No Thanks: India Turns Down British Advanced Aircraft

01:50 24.02.2017(updated 06:11 24.02.2017)

Following a request from India’s Defense Ministry, New Delhi’s Air Force has decided not to make an acquisition request for the British Advanced Hawk trainer aircraft, due to a recent bribery scandal.

British engineering company Rolls Royce, which produces the Hawk, was accused of bribing officials at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, an Indian state-owned company, between 2005 and 2009, acting as middlemen by ensuring that the Air Force used them to source Adour Mk aero engines engines for the 132 British Hawk advanced jet trainers.

In early January, the company had to pay more than $800 million after being accused of bribing allegations that implicated “intermediaries in a number of overseas markets” including the UK, Brazil and the US.

An investigation by the BBC uncovered evidence suggesting that £100 million (about $125,540,000) was passed to companies that are connected to Indian arms dealer Sudhir Choudhrie. A lawyer for Choudrie stated that his client “has never paid bribes to government officials or acted as an illegal middleman in defence deals.”

Following the settlement, Rolls Royce CEO Warren East issued an apology saying, “The behaviour uncovered in the course of the investigations by the (UK’s) Serious Fraud Office and other authorities is completely unacceptable and we apologise unreservedly for it…Along with colleagues around the world, I share a sense of disappointment and anger at how some people within our company behaved.”

A senior official with IAF told Defense News, “We will not make any formal request for the Advanced Hawk to HAL, and the program will be officially shelved. This is because the MoD does not want [to] give additional orders for engines to tainted Rolls-Royce for the Advanced Hawk program…”IAF has no intentions to place any order for the Advanced Hawk trainers.”

In 2015 HAL and BAE Systems, another British weapons manufacturer, signed a memorandum of understanding to develop and produce a trainer with combat capabilities for export and domestic markets.

Dave Corfield, head of India’s Hawk program for BAE, said that, “The Advanced Hawk has been in the works for two years under a unique model with Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) and BAE Systems is pooling resources to develop a faster, more agile Hawk that can also carry smart weapons,” adding that wings, avionics and a multi-function display system were all supplied by HAL.

The Advanced Hawk can tote up to three tons of weapons, according to BAE, including laser designation pods, precision-guided munitions, air-to-air missiles, and air-to-ground missiles.

Original post


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Russia to start mass production of T-14 Armata MBT in 2018

Russia to Start Churning Out Armata Tanks in 2018

15:19 07.02.2017(updated 15:20 07.02.2017)

Russia will start the mass production of the advanced T-14 Armata battle tanks in 2018.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Serial production of Russia’s state-of-the-art Armata tanks is scheduled to begin next year, the head of Uralvagonzavod (UVZ) machine building company said Tuesday.

“This will be next — 2018 — year, but we need to cut back tests,” UVZ CEO Oleg Sienko told reporters.

The Russian Defense Ministry unveiled Armata tank at the May 9 Victory Day military parade in Moscow in 2015.

Armata’s operational engine has parameters of up to 1,800 horsepower, with the tank’s basic version equipped with a 1,500-horsepower engine. The tank is operated by a crew of three, housed in an armored capsule at the front. Its main armament includes a 125-mm smoothbore cannon and a 7.62-mm remote-control machine gun.

Original post:


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An Airbus A400M performs its demonstration flight during the 50th Paris Air Show at Le Bourget airport, north of Paris, Thursday, June 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

Airbus could ask for bail-out due to A400M military plane

Airbus could ask for bail-out on troubled A400M military plane

Alan Tovey

Airbus could ask for a bail-out from Britain and other countries buying its A400M military transport aircraft after take a massive hit on the project.

The pan-European aerospace company’s annual results showed Airbus took a €2.2bn charge because of problems with the A400M, with chief executive Tom Enders calling renegotiations of the contract.

He said Airbus was paying for the “original sin” of signing up to a bad deal when Britain, Germany, France, Spain, Turkey, Belgium, Luxembourg and Italy signed up for 220 of the giant planes in 2003. Italy has pulled out and orders have shrunk to 174 aircraft.

Posting annual figures that showed while group revenue in 2016 rose 3pc to €67bn, profit plunged from €2.7bn last time round to just €995m. The collapse in earnings was largely driven by the hit from the A400M, though currency movements and costs related to increasing the production rate of the A350XWB airliner were also a drag.

Airbus executives have ordered bosses on the A400M to “to re-engage with customers to cap the remaining exposure” – hinting they could be looking for further concessions on the A400M from governments.

“We’ve taken more than our fair share of losses on everyone’s else’s behalf.” said one Airbus insider, adding that so far the company has taken a €6bn hit on the programme.

The A400M “remains a concern” the company said, and Airbus has previously admitted to “massive problems” with the aircraft. The aircraft’s development has been plagued with delays. Even after its maiden flight in 2009 it looked as though the project might be scrapped entirely.

Eventually a €3.5bn government bail-out in 2010 allowed the aircraft to officially enter service in 2013.

One of the transporters crashed in 2015 while on a test flight, further delaying the programme.

Although the A400M performs better than rival aircraft, it has been unable to hit demanding targets which the company believes are unrealistic and could be harmful to passengers. However, it is being held to the original specifications and penalised for missing them.

Jefferies analyst Sandy Morris called the A400M an “unsatisfactory programme with an equally unsatisfactory contract… that must be frustrating for all and the failure to resolve it does not reflect well on anyone”.

“Airbus is shackled,” he said. “Little wonder management has been mandated by the board to cap the remaining exposure. If Europe now wishes to prove its commitment to NATO, a resolution of A400M might be a good place to start.”

The results were the first since the company simplified its structure to bring all its activities under the Airbus name, instead of splitting it off under parent company EADS. The company makes most of its money on its passenger jets and this was part of the reason it renamed, to end confusion.

Orders during the year were €134bn – down on 2015’s €159bn – as demand for airliners continued to ease from the peak seen a few years ago. At the end of the year the order book stood at €1.060bn.

Airbus took orders for 731 airliners during the year, down from 1,080 in 2015, and delivered a record 688 jets.

The company has about a decade’s worth of airliner deliveries on its books and it ramping up production to meet customer demand.

The Ministry of Defence is “aware” of Airbus’s concerns about the A400M contract and will consult with other nations buying the aircraft, but declined to say whether it had started talks with the company, citing the sensitive commercial nature of the contracts.

Original post


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A400M Military Transport: Details

The first Airbus A400M Atlas forthe Royal Air Force arrives at RAF Brize Norton - Monday 17th November 2014 at 14:03 hrs GMT


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