Daily Archives: March 16, 2017

Romania wants 20 more F-16s

Romania plans to buy 20 additional F-16s

Romania also plans to purchase 8-wheeled armored personnel carriers and other equipment to support the country’s ground forces, government officials said.

By Ryan Maass   |   March 15, 2017 at 4:19 PM

March 15 (UPI) — Romania’s defense ministry is setting aside funds to purchase 20 additional F-16 fighter aircraft, local media reported on Wednesday.

The ministry’s future procurement plans also include 8-wheeled armored personnel carriers and other equipment to support the country’s ground forces. Romanian officials have not yet planned where to purchase the aircraft from, but are expected to approach the United States for a deal.

“At this moment, my intention is to purchase what is necessary for the Romanian army, but on the other hand and according to the government program, what I really want, especially since we have this political commitment of 2 percent, is to integrate as much as we can the industry in Romania, private or state-owned,” Romanian Defense Minister Gabriel Les told Mediafax.

Reports of a potential F-16 buy follow Romania’s earlier purchase of 12 of the fighters from Portugal in 2016. The country formally accepted the first six aircraft from that order in late September.

According to IHS Janes, Romania’s plans coincide with a significant growth in defense spending. The country currently has a $3.8 billion defense budget for 2017. The budget equals 2 percent of its GDP, up from 1.42 percent in 2016.

The F-16 Fighting Falcon is a multirole fighter jet currently built by Lockheed Martin, formerly manufactured by General Dynamics. Notable operators include the United States, Turkey, Poland, Pakistan, South Korea and Greece.

Original post upi.com

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Staff shortages could delay Royal Navy’s £6.2billion new aircraft carriers

Royal Navy’s £6.2billion new aircraft carriers could be delayed because of staff shortages

The carrier programme was entering a “critical” phase with the first ship – HMS Queen Elizabeth – nearing completion and due to set sail for the first time this summer

BY CHRIS HUGHES

16 MAR 2017

A shortage of key personnel could harm the effectiveness of the Royal Navy ’s two £6.2billion new aircraft carriers, the Whitehall spending watchdog has warned.

The carrier programme was entering a “critical” phase with the first ship – HMS Queen Elizabeth – nearing completion and due to set sail for the first time this summer, the National Audit Office (NAO) warned.

It will mark the start of a “high risk” period of trials, testing and training to bring together the carrier with its Lightning II fighter jets and helicopter-borne Crowsnest radar in an integrated force.

Already the first sailing has been put back three months and the NAO warns further “technical issues” could mean the Ministry of Defence ’s plan for it to be operational by the end of 2020 is delayed.

Among the problems it highlighted was the shortage of engineers, intelligence personnel and warfighting specialists in the Navy and RAF air crew.

While the MoD has begun a recruitment programme to fill the gaps, the NAO said the number of pilots was expected to be “just sufficient” to 2026, with “limited resilience” if people quit.

The NAO said: “The department still has a lot to do as it brings together equipment, trained crews, infrastructure and support. Problems in any of these areas could mean that use of the carriers is delayed or reduced.

“The next three years are critical as the programme moves into a high-risk period of trials, testing and training. The technology is innovative and operational unknowns, which will only become clear during testing, may affect plans and increase costs.

“To recover earlier delays, the department has already compressed the timetable and is running some testing in parallel with other tasks.

“The closely timed sequence of tasks offers no further room for slippage and there remain significant risks to value for money.”

The NAO said the MoD was already facing a 1% to 2% cost overrun on the £6.2 billion budget for building the ships, while the forecast £5.8 billion earmarked for the US-built Lightning II fighters could be affected by fluctuations in the value of sterling.

In the longer term, the NAO said the deployment of the carriers would have far-reaching implications for the way the Navy operates with a “significant proportion” of the fleet required to support and protect them.

The formation of a carrier task group is likely to account for about 27% of the Navy’s fleet by tonnage and 20% of the personnel needed to crew the fleet.

“Currently, the Navy carries out multiple operations concurrently using single ships. This means the Navy will need to change fundamentally how it operates and make judgements on priorities,” the NAO said.

Original post mirror.co.uk

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Saab respond to Indian Navy request for information (RFI) with Gripen M

Saab shifts Gripen M focus from Brazil to India

15 March 2017

Saab is to continue development of the maritime variant of its Gripen E combat aircraft, with attention now being focused on a sale to India following Brazil’s recent decision to axe its Sao Paulo aircraft carrier.

Speaking on 15 March during the company’s annual Gripen seminar in Stockholm, Jerker Ahlqvist, head of the Gripen business unit, said that Saab will respond to an Indian Navy request for information (RFI) with the Gripen M (Maritime) that is it has been developing with UK and Brazilian engineers.

“There is an RFI from India for a carrier aircraft, and we are responding with the Gripen [M]. We see potential for the Gripen [M] and hopefully it will become a full development programme,” Ahlqvist said.

The Gripen M (also known as the Sea Gripen) is still in its concept stage and is not yet a full development programme. “We are still in the phase of concept studies at the moment, and we are evaluating the market needs. We have used UK engineers with Harrier experience in the past, and now we have Brazilian engineers working on the project,” Ahlqvist added.

First revealed by Saab in 2010, the Gripen M concept features a number of navalised enhancements to the baseline Gripen E fighter to make it suitable for carrier operations. These include a strengthened undercarriage, bigger brakes, and a beefed-up tail hook. The standard Gripen already has a large number of the attributes for carrier operations, such as a high precision landing capability, a high pitch and roll rate authority and precision glide slope control, a reinforced airframe, and enhanced anti-corrosion protection. Its undercarriage and airframe is already capable of a sink rate of 15 ft/s, although this would need to be increased to about 25 ft/s for carrier operations. “The Gripen is designed for narrow roads, and so would be perfect for carrier operations,” Ahlqvist said.

Original post janes.com

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