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Australian Navy decommissions HMAS Sydney after 32 years of service

Naval Technology - Mon, 09/11/2015 - 01:00
The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) has decommissioned its Adelaide-class guided-missile frigate, HMAS Sydney, after serving the country for over three decades.
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CACI to support US Navy's Theater Medical Information Programme

Naval Technology - Mon, 09/11/2015 - 01:00
The US Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SPAWARSYSCEN) Atlantic has selected CACI International to continue providing defence health readiness engineering support for its Theater Medical Information Programme (TMIP) for a period of three years.
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Trasfor will be Attending the SPS IPC Drives 2015 Exhibition in Nuremberg

Naval Technology - Mon, 09/11/2015 - 01:00
Trasfor is pleased to invite you to visit its stand at the SPS IPC Drives 2015, one of Europe's leading exhibitions for electrical automation held in Nuremberg from 24 to 26 November.
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Swingfire - Mon, 09/11/2015 - 00:55

British Swingfire Anti-Tank Guided Missile
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Rheinmetall Air Defence-Sea-Based Air and Surface Defence Systems

Naval Technology - Sun, 08/11/2015 - 18:16
The complex requirements imposed on short and very short-range air and surface defence have become much more complex in recent years.
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French Navy selects Thales to provide TLS for all its simulators

Naval Technology - Fri, 06/11/2015 - 01:00
The French Navy has awarded a six-year contract to Thales Group to provide through-life support (TLS) for its simulators.
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Sikorsky completes preliminary design review of VH-92A programme

Naval Technology - Fri, 06/11/2015 - 01:00
Sikorsky Aircraft has successfully completed the preliminary design review (PDR) of the VH-92A presidential helicopter replacement programme.
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RAN conducts exercise with French Navy in South China Sea

Naval Technology - Fri, 06/11/2015 - 01:00
The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Task Group has conducted exercises with the French Navy in South China Sea, as part of its deployment to North and South East Asia.
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Saab and Naval Shipyard partner for Polish Navy's Orka submarine programme

Naval Technology - Fri, 06/11/2015 - 01:00
Saab has agreed to jointly work with the Naval Shipyard in Gdynia, Poland, to provide naval solutions for the Polish Navy's Orka submarine programme.
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Russian stealth fighter will enhance air force capabilities

Russian Military Reform - Thu, 05/11/2015 - 19:45

In June 2015, I published a short article in the Oxford Analytica Daily Brief discussing the capabilities of new Russian aircraft. Here’s the text, as usual with no edits other than restoring some cuts made for space reasons.

SUBJECT:The Russian T-50 fighter and PAK DA bomber.

SIGNIFICANCE:In early June, a series of high profile crashes involving Russian military planes led to Moscow grounding the Tu-95 ‘Bear’ bomber fleet. Additionally, on June 4, a Su-34 strike fighter crashed near Voronezh and a MiG-29 crashed near the Caspian. Military leadership is hoping that the air force’s reliance on old systems will be solved by two new programmes: the Sukhoi T-50 PAK FA and the PAK–DA bomber.


  • Russia will continue high frequency of air activity over Baltic and North Sea regions.
  • Increasing numbers of European air forces will look to procure fifth-generation fighters to maintain approximate parity with Russia.
  • Shortage of refueling planes will be a concern for the Russian air force and may prove to be an Achilles’ heal.
  • One of the primary targets of the air force is a stealth fighter, in order to to maintain parity with the United States, a role which is sought for the T-50.


The Russian Air Force has been developing a fifth-generation fighter aircraft since the late 1980s. The PAK FA T-50, has been under development at Sukhoi for about 15 years. The first flight of a prototype aircraft took place in January 2010. A total of five prototype aircraft have been delivered over the last five years. It is expected that the jet will enter service in 2016.

Stealth abilities

This aircraft will be the first operational stealth aircraft operated by Russia. It is expected to be built at least in part out of composite materials, highly manoeuvrable, with supercruise capability and advanced avionics. It will initially use a variant of the Saturn 117 engine currently installed on the Su-35S. A new engine, Product 30, is to be ready for production no earlier than 2017 and will become the standard engine in the 2020s. This engine is supposed to provide 17-18% more thrust, improved fuel efficiency, and higher reliability than the existing engine.

While recently constructed prototypes have been equipped with advanced avionics, reports indicate that the T-50’s electronic components are likely to be upgraded further before serial production begins. The need for continued work on avionic equipment and engines means that the initial production run of the aircraft will retain fourth-generation characteristics and will be comparable to earlier US F-16/18s. The Russian air force will therefore not have a complete fifth-generation fighter until 2020 at the earliest.

F-22 and F-35 comparison

Russia generally compares the T-50 to the F-22, rather than to the F-35. The T-50 has cruising (Mach 1.7) and top (Mach 2.5) speeds that are comparable to the F-22, though it is designed to be significantly faster than the F-35, which has been tested to a top speed of Mach 1.6. The maximum range without refueling is also comparable to the F-22, at 2,000 kilometres, and slightly inferior to the F-35’s 2,200 kilometres. Service ceiling is also relatively comparable, at 20,000 metres for the F-22 and T-50 and over 18,000 metres for the F-35.

There are extensive debates among aviation specialists regarding the relative merits of the three aircraft. These debates are complicated by the lack of reliable information on the characteristics of final versions of various T-50 components, including in such key areas as engines and avionics. At the same time, there is some consensus that the T-50 is more manoeuvrable but less ‘stealthy’ than the F-35 and F-22. Because of this characteristic, the T-50 is expected to be slightly superior to US aircraft in air battles but less successful in attacking ground targets. However, these comparisons are being made based on real data about Western aircraft but only statements regarding the T-50. Given Russian officials’ track record of hiding problems and exaggerating the capabilities of new technology, it is possible, perhaps likely, that the T-50’s performance may not match expectations.

Cooperation with India has stalled

Since 2007, the T-50 project has included a two-seater version designed for the Indian Air Force and commonly known as the FGFA (Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft). Original plans called for the production of 500 aircraft, with serial production to begin in 2015. Disagreements between the two sides have resulted in serious delays. The Indian side has complained that the aircraft’s engine is underpowered and unreliable, that problems with the airframe reduce the aircraft’s stealth features, that radar and other electronic systems are inadequate, that construction quality is poor, and that as a result of these defects the per unit cost is too high. As a result of these delays, India is expected to receive only three prototypes by 2017.

Procurement plans

Original plans called for the air force to receive 52 T-50 aircraft by 2020 and a total of 250 by 2030. However, officials have announced that due to the deteriorating economy, only twelve of these aircraft will be procured during the next five years. Four planes are expected to be produced during 2015, though these will still be considered prototypes. Therefore, the T-50 will not become a mainstay of the Russian air force in the foreseeable future.

Overall, it is unclear whether the Russian defence industry will be able to produce some of the advanced features on this aircraft, particularly in the areas of stealth technology, avionics and fifth-generation engines. Furthermore, the cost of the aircraft, estimated to be at least 50 million dollars per unit, may make large-scale procurement unaffordable given Russia’s current economic problems.

PAK DA bomber

Development of what is known as the PAK–DA bomber began in 2007. Tupolev won the initial tender to design the new long-range bomber. By 2009, company officials were anticipating that the research and development phase would be complete in 2012, the engineering phase would be finished in 2017 and the Russian air force would have 100 PAK DA aircraft by 2027. Subsequently, there have been debates regarding the need for such a plane and its capabilities. In August 2012, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin stated that any new strategic bomber will need to possess hypersonic technology to avoid falling behind the United States. This idea was later rejected in favor of a subsonic flying wing design with a long range and the ability to carry a heavy payload of weapons.

Long range

Given the lack of a prototype, there is little certainty about the plane’s design features. Experts believe that it is likely to have an initial weight of around 120-130 tons and a range of approximately 12,000 kilometres. Early indications that the two aircraft (T-50 and PAK DA) may also share engines appear to have been rejected in favour of an updated version of the engines found on the Tu-160. Last year, Russian Air Force Commander Lieutenant General Viktor Bondarev said that the miltiary would start receiving the PAK DA in 2023. However, there have been indications that the timeline for developing a new bomber could possibly be pushed back, with some air force officials stating a potential in-service date range for the new plane of 2025 to 2030. The project is currently at the prototype design and construction stage.

CONCLUSION: The requirements of the air force will provide further stimulus to Russia’s defence industry import substitution scheme. As a result of Western sanctions and broken defence cooperation with Ukraine, Russia is embarking on an ambitious programme to make its defence industry self-sufficient within three years. However, increasingly the defence industry may be forced to retrench, returning to old designs and recycling components as it is unable to meet this ambitious target. The high cost of the T-50 fighter will eat into the overall budget, sapping chances for full-spectrum reforms.

Infographic: Armoured Vehicle Market Trends, 2016-2026

DefenceIQ - Thu, 05/11/2015 - 06:00
Click to enlarge the image and see the infographic in full.
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UK Royal Navy’s upgraded HMS Cattistock returns to frontline service

Naval Technology - Thu, 05/11/2015 - 01:00
The UK Royal Navy's Hunt-class mine countermeasures vessel HMS Cattistock has returned to frontline service after completing a major upgrade programme.
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Lockheed to continue develop maritime canister-launched UAS

Naval Technology - Thu, 05/11/2015 - 01:00
Lockheed Martin has secured a $4.6m contract for the continued development of a maritime canister-launched small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS) for the US forces.
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October's top stories: US sails in South China Sea, Saudi's $11.2bn MMSC ship sale

Naval Technology - Thu, 05/11/2015 - 01:00
The US Navy sent warships within 12nm miles of the China’s artificial islands, the US State Department approved $11.2bn sale of MMSC ships to Saudi Arabia, and BAE Systems introduces new unmanned technology for naval forces. wrap…
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SAIC continue to provide engineering services to US Navy

Naval Technology - Thu, 05/11/2015 - 01:00
Science Applications International (SAIC) has secured a contract from the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific to continue to deliver engineering services to the US Navy's afloat and ashore assets.
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VAT Exemption: New Incentive for Defence Cooperation

EDA News - Wed, 04/11/2015 - 15:04

Member States can as of now profit from VAT exemption for projects run by the European Defence Agency (EDA). The recently adopted revised Council Decision defining the statute, seat and operational rules of the EDA includes the clause that cooperative defence projects and programmes are exempt from VAT as long as the Agency adds value to the initiative. 

The VAT exemption is a strong incentive to European defence cooperation: it generates an attractive business case for cooperative projects and programmes in the framework of the EDA. We will soon propose roadmaps for potential future cooperative programmes for which Member States will be able to benefit from the VAT exemption and thus achieve considerable savings”, comments Jorge Domecq, Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency.

With the entering into force of the revised Council Decision on 13 October, the new provision can be applied immediately for any new EDA initiative meeting the Decision’s conditions. VAT exemption is not linked to the nature of the activity. It can thus be applied to any project and programme where the Agency adds value ranging from technical expertise, pooling demand, building a multinational capability or synergies with EU wider policies, promoting interoperability to full administrative and contractual management of a cooperative initiative. Member States are and remain the end-users of the capability. 


Concrete savings

While the VAT exemption should not be the driver for defence cooperation, tight defence budgets limit investment in research, innovation and capabilities. Any breathing space is appreciated. By incentivising defence cooperation financially, we will be able to do more and better together”, says Jorge Domecq.

One of the projects the VAT exemption will be immediately applied to is the EU SatCom Market, an EDA project where the Agency provides for satellite communication services for currently eleven Member States and the Athena mechanism. The EDA is responsible for procurement and contract tasks, manages orders as well as payments and provides technical advice as needed and thus adds clear technical and administrative value to the project. As a consequence, each order – which comes from Member States individually or by groups – benefits from VAT exemption. 

One Member State has for example recently submitted an order of about 1.3 million Euros for one year of services. Due to the VAT exemption, this Member State will not have to pay VAT for a corresponding value of 273 thousand Euros which represents about three months of free services.

Legal basis

The Council Decision defining the statute, seat and operational rules of the EDA (Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/1835) was adopted by the Foreign Affairs Council on 12 October 2015. It foresees that VAT exemption applies to activities where the role of the Agency in administering projects or programmes in support of Member States brings an added value. 

The legal basis for VAT exemption are Protocol No 7 of the EU Treaties on the privileges and immunities of the European Union and Council Directive 2006/112/EC of 28 November 2006 on the common system of value added tax.

The VAT exemption is compliant with EU law; and is not market distorting.



The European Defence Agency was set-up in 2004 to support the Council and the Member States in their effort to improve the European Union’s defence capabilities for the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). This means running and supporting cooperative European defence projects; supporting research and technology development; boosting the European defence technological and industrial base; and working on wider EU policies.


More information:
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Saab still chasing India with Gripen, anticipates EW variant

DefenceIQ - Wed, 04/11/2015 - 06:00
Saab believes India could still be a cust
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Norwegian OPVs to receive advanced navigation systems

DefenceIQ - Wed, 04/11/2015 - 06:00
This November, Norwegian Navy’s Nordkapp-class offshore patrol boats are to be fitted with the SIGMA 40 laser-gyro navigation systems, developed and manufactured by France-based Sagem. The standalone system is designed to guarantee high-precision navigation ev
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Investing in cyber research and skills an "urgent priority", says Baroness Neville-Jones

DefenceIQ - Wed, 04/11/2015 - 06:00
Rt Hon Baroness Neville-Jones DCMG served as Minister of State for Security and Counter Terrorism at the British Home Office and on the National Security Council until standing down to become Special Government Representative to Business for Cyber Security. She was Prime Minister David Cam
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