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Saturday, 20 December 2014

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Facing a potential conflict with Vietnam in the South China Sea, China is continuing the modification of Xian Aircraft Industry Corporation's two-seat JH-7 fighter bomber for the PLA Navy, according to the Sina Military Network based in Beijing.

Photos released on the website indicate that a new version of the JH-7 attacker is under development, constructed with composite materials. Internet users believe that the avionics and engine of the aircraft, referred to as the JH-7B, have been upgraded as well, while the Communist Party paper Global Times said the plane is equipped with an LM6 turbofan engine. Once the JH-7B enters service, it may also be fitted with the more advanced WS-10 Taihang engine designed by Shenyang Liming Aircraft Engine Company.

The idea for China to develop a modern fighter bomber came during the country's naval clash with South Vietnam over the disputed Paracel Islands in 1974. During the conflict, the Q-5 attackers and J-6 fighters of the PLA Navy Air Force did not have the combat radius to provide air support to the Chinese warships in the region.

Neither did China deploy its H-5 bombers to attack South Vietnamese vessels, even though they had the range, as it was unwilling to risk them being shot down by the F-5E fighters of the South Vietnamese Air Force. China eventually gained the control of the Paracels from South Vietnam without air support.

With advanced radar and engines purchased from the United States, the JH-7A entered service in 1988 to replace the obsolete Q-5 as China's new fighter bomber. It is deployed with three air force and three navy regiments. Each regiment is estimated to operate between 18 and 20 JH-7As. The JH-7A is also China's first aircraft which can be refueled in midair.

The JH-7A was upgraded because the Su-30MK2 fighter bombers the PLA Navy purchased from Russia cannot launch missiles made in China. It is not only large enough to carry a large enough payload but is also much cheaper than the Russian aircraft. Like most fourth-generation military aircraft, it is likely to be fitted with the active electronically scanned array radar system, according to the Sina Military Network.
On 01:56 by Luke iMan in ,    No comments
China's air force, which consists of the People's Liberation Army Air Force and the Navy Air Force, has been ranked the world's fourth most lethal power in the world, according to an article published by Kyle Mizokami, a defense expert in National Interest magazine.

In the article, Mizokami said that the United States Air Force is still the most powerful air force on the planet. With 5,600 aircraft in hand, the USAF is the first air force worldwide to put stealth combat aircraft such as F-22s and F-35s in service. Mizokami said that the USAF is planning to purchase 1,763 F-35 fighters and up to 100 optionally manned Long-Range Strike Bombers. The role of unmanned aerial vehicles with stealth and combat capabilities will increase as well.

With 312,000 active-duty members, the USAF has fewer personnel than the PLAAF. However, it has more aircraft than its Chinese counterpart. Mizokami then said that the US' Navy and Marine Corps together make it the world's second most lethal air power. Both groups, under the control of the US Department of the Navy and have a total of 159 fighters, 133 attack aircraft, 172 patrol aircraft, 247 transports and 1,231 helicopters.

The Russian Air Force ranks third in the world for most lethal air power, according to the article. Russia has 1,500 combat aircraft and 400 military helicopters. However, most of these aircraft are old fighters such as MiG-29s, Su-27s and MiG-31s produced at the end of Cold War. At the same time, the Russian Air Force controls strategic bombers including the Tu-95 "Bear," Tu-22 "Backfire," and Tu-160 "Blackjack," even though it does not control strategic missile forces.

Like the US, Russia is developing stealth fighters as well. Its defense contractors are now developing T-50/PAK-FA fifth-generation fighters for the Russian Air Force. There are also rumors that a new strategic bomber is being worked on as well. With the support of president Vladimir Putin, Russia also modified its Su-27 fighter with new and cutting-edge technologies to design the Su-35 fourth-generation plus fighter. It had already entered the service in limited number.
Finally, Mizokami said that the Chinese PLAAF and PLANAF together come in fourth place for the title of world's strongest air force. Both services possess 1,321 fighter and attack aircraft, 134 heavy bombers and tankers and twenty airborne early-warning aircraft. In addition, the PLA operates 700 combat helicopters. China is also currently the only nation developing two stealth fighters, the J-20 and J-31, simultaneously besides the United States.

In the future, the J-31 stealth fighter is likely to serve aboard Chinese aircraft carriers just like the F-35C in the US Navy. Mizokami stressed that China is also pushing forward with a variety of unmanned combat aircraft like the Dark Sword. To project its influence overseas, China is also attempting to develop a strategic bomber to replace its older H-6 and cargo plane Y-20.

Japan, China's potential enemy in a territorial dispute over the East China Sea, ranks number five on the list. Its air self defense force has more than 300 air superiority and multirole fighters. Pilots from Japan Air Self Defense are trained to defend the country's islands from enemy attacks. They also practice ground attacks and anti-shipping missions. However, the JASDF is highly specialized towards defensive combat.
On 01:24 by Luke iMan in , ,    No comments
The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency has announced that the US State Department has approved possible sales of M1A1 Abrams tanks and associated equipment, parts and logistical support for an estimated cost of $2.4 billion.

The US State Department has approved possible sales of tanks and armored vehicles worth approximately $3 billion to Iraq, where Islamic State extremists have been active, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has revealed.

"The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Iraq for M1A1 Abrams tanks and associated equipment, parts and logistical support for an estimated cost of $2.4 billion," the DSCA said in a press release Friday.

Another press release, issued by the agency on the same day, said that the US State Department has also approved "Foreign Military Sale to Iraq for M1151A1 Up-Armored High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicles [Humvees] and associated equipment, parts and logistical support for an estimated cost of $579 million".

According to the DSCA, the two sales will "contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States" and also directly support the Iraqi government and serve the interests of the people of Iraq.
According to the US State Department, around five US government and one hundred contractor representative till travel to Iraq "for a period of up to five years for delivery, system checkout, program support, and training", as a part of the process to fulfill the contract for the Abrams tanks and other munitions. The deal for the Humvees will not require American personnel.

The DSCA assured that the US provision of weapons will not alter the basic military balance in the region, but will better enable the Iraqi military to mobilize and defend itself.

The United States partnered with the Iraqi government and over thirty other nations in September to oppose the Islamic State, a radical Sunni group also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), that currently controls significant portions of the Iraqi and Syrian territories.

On 01:18 by Luke iMan in , , ,    No comments
Oshkosh Defense, LLC, an Oshkosh Corporation company, will produce 256 Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) trucks and trailers for the U.S. Army following a $67 million order from the U.S. Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC). Deliveries will occur from 2015 to 2016.

“The Oshkosh FMTV program exemplifies the quality and value that we provide to our military customers,” said John Bryant, senior vice president of defense programs at Oshkosh Defense. “Since the day Oshkosh was awarded the FMTV program, we’ve applied our vehicle expertise and operational efficiency to dramatically improve quality – all while saving U.S. taxpayers more than $2 billion. Today’s Oshkosh-produced FMTVs are supporting soldiers in operations around the world with the more reliable equipment they deserve.”
Oshkosh began producing FMTVs for the U.S. Army in 2010. Since then, Oshkosh has delivered more than 22,000 trucks and 11,000 trailers. In 2012, amidst the sharp ramp up of monthly deliveries, the U.S. Department of Defense recognized Oshkosh with the 2013 Value Engineering Achievement Award. Oshkosh earned the award in the “Contractor” category for significantly improving product quality and reliability, as well as reducing product and life cycle costs.

The FMTV program supports the U.S. Army and National Guard at home and abroad in tactical and combat operations, relief efforts, and unit resupply missions. The vehicles feature crew-protecting armor and advanced technologies to provide the capability, versatility, mobility and protection to move troops and supplies, recover vehicles and weapon systems, or haul equipment wherever the mission requires. The FMTV is a series of 17 models and 23 configurations ranging from 2.5-ton to 10-ton payloads. Vehicles have a parts commonality of more than 80 percent, resulting in streamlined maintenance, training, sustainment and overall cost efficiency.

Source : Oshkosh Corporation 
On 00:58 by Luke iMan in , ,    No comments
Airbus Helicopters has completed official delivery of the first two Tiger helicopters in the new HAD-E version and the first NH90 GSPA tactical transport helicopter destined for the Spanish Army Airmobile Force (FAMET).

These three helicopters were assembled in the Spanish plant in Albacete, which successfully carried out the industrial phase, airworthiness certification and technical acceptance.

“The delivery of these three helicopters is a very important milestone for our company and we wish to thank the Spanish Ministry of Defense for trusting in us,” declared Francisco Vergé, CEO of Airbus Helicopters España. “Our close relationship with the Spanish Army and the different departments of the Directorate-General of Armament and Equipment (DGAM) has been crucial to ensuring the success of these two high-tech programs”.

The NH90 is the backbone of the industrial projects at Airbus Helicopters España. It was the first program to be promoted by the Spanish Secretariat of Defense, with the support of the Ministry of Industry through the DGAM. Its aim is to meet the operational needs of the three branches of the Spanish Armed Forces through a common platform adapted to the requirements of each mission and featuring all the latest technological developments. In this way, it seeks to improve effectiveness and streamline operating expenses by reducing and modernizing the current fleet of helicopters and ensuring their sustainability over time.

Airbus Helicopters España will supply a total of 22 NH90 helicopters to the Spanish Armed Forces under a delivery schedule that continues through to 2021. The Spanish plant is responsible for assembly of all the NH90 helicopters for the Spanish Armed Forces, along with manufacture of the front fuselage section both for the Spanish helicopters and for those destined for export.
The Spanish version of the NH90, the GSPA, has been designed to perform technical missions such as troop transport, search and rescue missions, personnel recovery and medical evacuation. It is equipped for day and night operations in all types of environments.

As for the combat helicopters, Tiger deliveries belong to the new HAD-E version, which offers numerous advantages compared to the HAP-E Tigers currently in service: a new MTR-E turboshaft with 14% more power, an improved optronic vision system, Spike air-to-ground missiles, an Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system coupled with an interrogator and a new electronic warfare and countermeasure system.

The Spanish Army purchased a total of 24 of these helicopters. To date, six HAP-E Tiger helicopters have been delivered to the Attack Helicopter Battalion. Their satisfactory deployment in Afghanistan during 2013 represents an important milestone for this helicopter.

The Industrial Participation Plan designed for these programs has ensured that Spanish industry, headed by Airbus Helicopters España, is fully involved in the entire life cycle for these helicopters, from the design stage through to flight testing and certification, component manufacture, the final assembly line and integrated support. Albacete is the only site that manufactures the rear fuselage section of the Tiger helicopter and the front fuselage of the NH90.

Source : Airbus Helicopters
On 00:45 by Luke iMan in ,    No comments

Defence and security company Saab and the Brazilian Ministry of Defence, through the Air Force Aeronautics Command (COMAER), have signed a contract for Gripen NG contractor logistics support (CLS). The total order value is SEK 548 million. The order is expected to be booked by Saab in 2021.

The CLS contract includes continuous maintenance and support services for the Gripen NG aircraft, and their associated equipment, that will be delivered to Brazil during the five years between 2021 and 2026. The CLS services will be provided to COMAER by Saab and its Brazilian partners.

”This contract secures the Gripen NG logistics support solution for Brazil. It is also an important part of Saab's commitment to deliver the Gripen NG system to the Brazilian Air Force,” says Ulf Nilsson, Head of business unit Gripen within Saab’s business area Aeronautics.

The CLS contract is supplementary to the main contract with Brazil covering development and production of 36 Gripen NG aircraft, which was announced on 27 October 2014. The CLS contract will come into effect once certain conditions linked to the main contract – such as the delivery of aircraft - have been fulfilled.

Source : Saab AB

Friday, 19 December 2014

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The Kalashnikov assault rifle has more chances to be brought into service in Russian army as part of combat gear Ratnik than its rivalling submachine gun model AEK-971, deputy chairman of the Military-Industrial Commission board Oleg Bochkarev said Friday.

“State trials of the Ratnik combat gear are finalised. As for these two assault rifles AK-12 and AEK-971, Kalashnikov certainly has more chances. It is easier to handle, has fewer parts, but they are close in their features,” Bochkarev said. He added that AEK-971 was produced at Degtyarev Kovrov electromechanical plant.

A winner of a tender on a new assault rifle for Russian army will be named by the end of this year, said Sergey Chemezov, chief of Russian state-run technologies corporation Rostec, which incorporates weapons-producing concern Kalashnikov. Bochkarev believes that the choice will be made in the first half of next year.

Combat gear Ratnik is positioned as “an outfit of a soldier of the future.” The contract with Russian Defence Ministry destined for three years is already signed, chief of the Central Scientific-Research Institute of Precise Mechanical Engineering Dmitry Semizorov said in late October. Main supplies are expected to be made next year, he said. Ratnik export variant will be put on display at an arms show in Abu Dhabi in February 2015.

On 01:33 by Luke iMan in ,    No comments
China's Hongdu L-15 Falcon has made the shortlist of new advanced jet trainers and light attack aircraft to be acquired by the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF), according to the London-based military news publication IHS Jane's.

The L-15 will be competing with America's Textron AirLand Scorpion, Russia's Yakovlev Yak-130, Italy's Alenia Aermacchi M-346 and Korea Aerospace Industries' TA-50 to become one of the four aircraft purchases approved by the Thai government to replace its ageing fleet of Aero L-39ZA Albatros aircraft.

RTAF chief Treetos Sonjaeng reportedly announced the 3.7 billion Thai baht (US$113 million) program on Dec. 13, adding that a decision on the procurement is expected next year.

The main reason for the program is said to be because Thailand lacks the spare parts to maintain its 40 or so L-39ZAs, originally acquired from the Czech Republic during the 1990s. The other factor is the need for a modern platform to expand the RTAF's fleet of 12 JAS-39 "Gripen" fighters delivered between 2011 and 2013, the report added.

Thailand does not have the ability to manufacture its own aircraft, but is hoping that a foreign manufacturer will be able to transfer the necessary technology and knowledge to allow it to maintain and repair the aircraft domestically.

In addition to advanced jet trainers and light attack aircraft, Thailand is also planning to acquire more Gripen fighters and Eurocopter EC725 Caracals, long-range tactical transport helicopters manufactured by Airbus, beginning next year. New fixed-wing and rotary-wing transport aircraft are also said to be needed to replace its old fleet of Lockheed C-130 Hercules and Boeing CH-47 Chinooks.

On 01:13 by Luke iMan in ,    No comments
Babcock, in association with Raytheon, is to deliver four Phalanx 1B kits and convert four land Phalanx Weapons Systems to their original marinised configuration to provide naval Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWS) capability (the UK's primary defence for ships against anti-ship missiles), under a contract awarded by the UK MoD, with three of the four Phalanx kits adding to the defensive capability of the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier.

Babcock is the in-service support provider to the MoD for Phalanx systems under a long-term availability contract awarded in 2006, managing and executing all upkeep support activities, including a 24/7 helpdesk for the Royal Navy, as well as providing logistics support for spares and repairable units. The company is also under contract to upgrade 16 Phalanx systems to the 1B configuration in an on-going programme.

The latest contract to provide a further four Phalanx 1B kits and four conversions, which follows a similar contract awarded last year for four kits and two conversions, will be delivered under an amendment to the existing support and upgrade contract. Babcock will procure the Phalanx 1B systems in partnership with the original equipment manufacturer Raytheon, and will undertake the land-based Phalanx weapon system conversions using Babcock weapons support engineers. The systems are to be delivered by March 2015.
Babcock Weapons Business Manager, Martin Laity, said: “Following the successful on-schedule delivery of a similar contract last year, we are delighted to have this further opportunity to apply our expertise and work with Raytheon to help the MoD and Royal Navy build the Phalanx CIWS capability it needs. Babcock is already known for our weapon support work for the UK MoD and our expertise in the assembly, test and setting to work of naval weapon systems, with upgrade and long term support contracts for the 4.5 inch Mk8 Mod1 Gun as well as the Phalanx CIWS. We are well placed to support the MoD and Royal Navy in meeting this further Phalanx capability upgrade.”

A spokesperson for DE&S added: “We are pleased to have signed this £20m contract with Babcock to provide the Royal Navy with this advanced Close-In Weapons System. Three of the four Phalanx kits will go on to add to the defensive capability of the Queen Elizabeth Carrier and we look forward to working with our counterparts in industry to ensure this important requirement is met.”

Phalanx CIWS is a rapid-fire, computer-controlled radar and 20mm Gatling gun system. The Phalanx 1B upgrade incorporates a side-mounted Forward Looking Infra-Red Camera (FLIR) enabling the CIWS to defend the ship against surface targets and slow air targets in addition to anti-ship missiles.
On 00:56 by Luke iMan in , ,    No comments
Bolivia has become the 11th nation to purchase Harbin Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation's Z-9 helicopters from China, Beijing's China Youth Daily reported on Dec. 18.

Since its first sale in 1981, Z-9 helicopters have been exported to 10 countries including Cambodia, Ghana, Kenya, Laos, Mali, Mauritania, Namibia, Pakistan, Venezuela and Zambia. The Bolivian Army Air Service made its decision to purchase six H-425s, the upgraded version of the H-9, from China three months ago. Under this program, China is also responsible for training 12 pilots and 38 ground crew members for the Bolivian Army.

In addition to the H-425 helicopter, China also provided a flight simulator to the Bolivian government. The H-425s will be used to conduct transport and supply missions, as well as reconnaissance, medical evacuation, humanitarian aid missions, anti-trafficking, and firefighting operations. The H-425 is not the only Chinese aircraft Bolivia has purchased in recent years. Bolivia currently has two MA60 passenger aircraft designed by Xi'an Aircraft Industrial Corporation in service.
China is currently trying to expand its military aircraft market into the United States' backyard through exporting K-8Es and H-425s to Bolivia. The country has not hear any protest from the US about it, nor has France said anything about the sale of the Z-9s, despite the fact that the helicopter was based on France's Eurocopter's AS365 Dauphin. Hongdu Aviation Industry Group's Z-8 helicopter was also developed off the blueprint of the French-built Super Frelons.

Back in 2009, Bolivia bought six K-8E trainers for its air force.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

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The Belarusian army will get four S-300 surface-to-air missile systems from Russia next year, Russian ambassador to Belarus Alexander Surikov said in Minsk on Wednesday.

Russia also plans to increase the number of combat aircraft deployed in Belarus to 12, and the number of trainer aircraft to two. “And the first wing of four military helicopters Mi-8 will bolster the on-duty forces in the Belarusian airspace,” the diplomat said.

The ambassador said Russia and Belarus have been successfully cooperating in the military and technical sphere. Some 99 Belarusian and 940 Russian enterprises are involved in this cooperation.

“The share of Belarusian products in the Russian defense order is already 15%,” he said adding that Russia’s defense order is “colossal.”

The S-300 systems (NATO reporting name SA-10 Grumble) are designed to defend major facilities from air attacks. They are considered to be some of the world's most capable anti-aircraft missile systems.
On 01:48 by Luke iMan in , ,    No comments
Minister for Defence Senator David Johnston today welcomed the announcement by the US Department of Defense that Australia has been selected to provide support to Joint Strike Fighters (F-35) in the Asia Pacific Region.

Senator Johnston said with the JSF Program now maturing, the focus was increasingly turning to sustainment and how the aircraft would be supported around the globe.

“The US Department of Defense has determined that Australian industry will provide support to both JSF airframes and engines in the Asia Pacific region,” Senator Johnston said.

“The JSF is the most advanced and complex fighter aircraft in development or production in the world.

“Australia being selected to provide regional support reflects the world-leading capabilities our Defence and Aerospace industries possess, it is an outstanding endorsement. Australia is well placed to be assigned further work as part of the F-35 global support system.”

Senator Johnston said the maintenance work will likely be based at RAAF Base Amberley and RAAF Base Williamtown.
The JSF is a fifth generation fighter that will ensure the Royal Australian Air Force maintains a leading edge air combat capability.

The announcement comes on top of the US$432 million that Australian companies have won in production and development contracts to date.

Senator Johnston said as a result of the Howard Government’s decision to join during the development phase, Australian defence industry stands to win well in excess of $1.5 billion in JSF-related production and support work over the life of the program.

“In fact, Australian participation in the JSF program as a partner has resulted in an Australian part in almost every JSF produced,” Senator Johnston said.

“It represents another positive economic benefit of Australia’s participation in the JSF Program.”

Source : MoD Australia
On 01:44 by Luke iMan in ,    No comments
The Defence Support Group (DSG) maintains and repairs key military equipment and manages the storage of the land vehicle fleet.

The deal includes a 10-year contract with Babcock for the maintenance, repair, overhaul and storage of current military vehicles and light weapons.

The contract award follows the announcement of the preferred bidder last month, and will see Babcock continue the services DSG currently provides.

As well as the £140 million that the sale will generate upfront, the Army will also benefit from considerable savings over the next 10 years, seeing a transformation in the way its vehicles such as Challengers and Warriors are maintained.

Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology Philip Dunne MP said:

''I am delighted with the successful outcome of this transaction. Signing this deal with Babcock will put the Defence Support Group on a sustainable long-term footing and will transform the equipment maintenance and repair support that the Army relies on both at home and overseas.''
''Babcock will provide market-leading engineering and fleet management expertise to optimise vehicle availability to the Army at better value for the taxpayer.''

''The £140 million proceeds from the sale and the significant savings over the life of the contract represent outstanding value for money for the tax payer and will allow us to continue to focus our resources on the front line.''

Contract completion is planned for 31 March 2015 and the service provision contract will start on 1 April 2015.

Source : Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom)
On 01:33 by Luke iMan in , ,    No comments
Raytheon Company and Bell Helicopter completed two successful launches of the Griffin B missile from a Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey multi-mission aircraft at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona. As an industry funded effort with Bell's Xworx, Raytheon demonstrated the simplicity of integrating the Griffin B missile onto the V-22 platform.

"This is the first time a forward-firing missile has been launched from the V-22," said Mike Jarrett, vice president of Raytheon's Air Warfare Systems. "It's an important aspect of the V-22's capability that integrates a simple to operate, low-cost, precision strike missile – something in which the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command has shown significant interest."  

Bell flight test crews launched two Griffin B missiles, scoring direct hits from both hover mode and during conversion mode at 110 knots. The results highlight the Griffin B's versatility with its unique ability to engage static and moving targets through a significant range of launch speeds. The Griffin B missile has a significant off-axis launch capability, allowing aircrews to precisely strike targets to the left or right of the aircraft flight path.

"The results of this test show how the defense industry can partner to quickly put a new, needed capability in the hands of frontline operators," said Jarrett. "Griffin B's successful shots from the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey demonstrate that the missile is flexible and able to integrate on a variety of platforms."    
About Griffin
The Griffin missile is a multi-platform, multi-service weapon that has a proven track record for successful rapid integration on land, sea and air platforms. The combat-proven Griffin A (AGM-176A) is an aft-eject missile designed for employment from platforms such as the C-130 aircraft. The Griffin B (BGM-176B) is a forward-firing missile capable of launching from rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft, ground-launch applications and maritime platforms. The Griffin missile is 43 inches long, weighs 33 pounds, has a 13-pound warhead, and is in production today. Griffin enables the warfighter to engage targets via a simple user interface and guide the weapon to the target using GPS coordinates exclusively or with laser designation. To maximize lethality, the user can choose to engage the target with direct attack or high impact angle and has the option of using height of burst, point detonation or delayed fuzing.

Source : Raytheon Corporation 
On 01:28 by Luke iMan in , ,    No comments
Japan and Australia will be sharing maintenance and upgrade duties for the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter based or operating in the Pacific region, the program executive officer for the aircraft announced today.

F-35 heavy air frame maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade capabilities will be provided by Japan in the northern Pacific and Australia in the southern Pacific, Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher C. Bogdan told reporters. Both countries are expected to have their facilities operational no later than 2018.

Initial heavy engine maintenance capability will be provided by Australia by early 2018, he said, and Japan will provide additional capability 3 to 5 years later.

Once Japan’s heavy engine capability is achieved, Bogdan said, the program office will look at the footprint and distribution of F-35's in the Pacific to “see if these decisions are still appropriate and if we have to make any kind of adjustments in terms of the assignment capabilities and moving forward.”

Similar Process in Europe
A similar process will take place in Europe, and all of the assignments will be reviewed every three to five years, he added.

Over the next two years, assignments for other components, systems and repair capabilities will be determined for both Europe and the Pacific, Bogdan noted.

Japan’s final assembly and check-out facility will be quite different from the facilities in Italy and Fort Worth, Texas, the general said.

“Both the plant at Fort Worth and the plant in Italy are expansive in terms of distance on the ground,” he said, but Japan is building vertically. Manufacturing will take place on a number of different floors, Bogdan said, and the aircraft will move through the facility on elevators as it is assembled.

Efficiencies learned through experience at the Fort Worth facility are being incorporated into the Japanese facility as it is constructed, he said.

Just like in Europe, he said, Japan is responsible for the funding and construction of their facility, which will be operated by a Japanese company. Lockheed-Martin will oversee technical aspects of production in Italy and Japan, Bogdan noted, and the U.S. government will oversee security.
Factors Drove Decisions
Geography and operational necessity played a considerable role in the Defense Department’s final decision to place air frame facilities in two locations, the general said.

Seven thousand miles separate the two primary areas where F-35s will be concentrated in the Pacific, Bogdan said. Moving entire aircraft over that distance would require significant amounts of fuel and other support, he said, making it uneconomical. And, he said, “Quite often, some of those airplanes that have to be inducted into a depot are going in there because they need upgrades or there's something wrong.”

Operationally, it didn’t make sense to introduce a long transportation delay into the MRO&U process, the general said.

“If you're having airplanes in the northern Pacific that need a rapid upgrade to respond to a new threat, having to move them 7,000 miles to do that mod in Australia, or vice versa, has an operational impact, because the war fighter won't get the airplane as quickly as he needed to,” he explained.

Geography wasn’t as serious an initial consideration for engines, Bogdan said.

Easier, Quicker, Cheaper
“You can break the engines down into modules, and when you break them down into modules, transportation is much easier, quicker and cheaper,” he said.

As more aircraft arrive in the Pacific theater, Australia’s heavy engine maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrades capability will eventually be supplemented by Japan, the general said.

“Bringing a Japanese capability online after that represents the fact that as more airplanes come to the Pacific over time, we want to make sure we have enough throughput to get all the engines done in the region in a timely way.”

“This is another example of the continuing expansion of global sustainment opportunities for the international F-35 community,” Bogdan said in a release that accompanied today’s announcement.

“The F-35 international users will remain a vital part of the support structure of the program,” he said. “Their continuing participation is critical to driving down cost and getting the best value for the F-35 team and improving the strength of the global sustainment base for many years to come."

By Claudette Roulo
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

Source : AFPS
On 00:28 by Luke iMan in , ,    No comments
Airbus Helicopters has been awarded a contract modification to continue maintenance and upgrade work on the German Army's fleet of EC135 training helicopters.

The agreement extends a contract signed in 2005 with an additional seven years and requires the company to maintain, overhaul and ensure the availability of 14 EC135 aircraft, which are used by the German Army Aviation School in Bückeburg to train 70 future pilots each year.

Airbus Helicopters Germany Military Support Centre head Ralf Barnscheidt said: "At the core of the Airbus Helicopters full-service contract is ensuring that on virtually every working day, eleven EC135 aircraft are available on the airfield for training purposes.

"This puts the fleet's operational availability at over 95%.
"A team of technicians that is constantly on-site at the Bückeburg location, as well as our specialist maintenance centre in Kassel-Calden, provide technical and logistical support, [and] carry out through-life maintenance and even large-scale repair work, and are responsible for ensuring the mission readiness of the helicopters."

German Army Aviation School commander and German Army Aviation Corps general colonel Uwe Klein said: "Airbus Helicopters submitted the most cost-effective bid for the service contract, one that is perfectly tailored to the requirements of the German Army Aviation School, and we look forward to continuing our collaboration.

"The on-site teams do tremendous work: We can always count on the helicopters we need being available for each and every training session, even for night flights, so that our people have to perform just the pre-flight check."
The training course at the school trains student pilots to fly a helicopter under visual flight rules and also qualify in instrument flight rules, as well as sensor flight in low-altitude night flight.

In a separate development, the Germany Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support has contracted CAE to continue the provision of a range of maintenance and in-service support at the German Army Aviation School's Hans E. Drebing simulator centre, until 2021.

Under the contract, the company will provide on-site maintenance and training support services for 12 CAE-built helicopter simulators.

CAE is also providing two additional CH-53GA cockpits to the German Army for use with the roll-on / roll-off at the facility.
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