You are here

Defence`s Feeds

EDA Chief Executive visits Spain

EDA News - Tue, 25/09/2018 - 17:51

Jorge Domecq, the EDA Chief Executive, met today in Madrid with the Spanish Minister of Defence, Margarita Robles Fernández. He also had talks with the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Fernando Alejandre Martinez, the Secretary of State for Defence, Ángel Olivares Ramírez, the Secretary General Defence Policy, Juan Francisco Martínez Nuñez, the Defence Policy Director, María Elena Gómez Castro, as well as with the National Armament Director, Santiago Ramón González Gómez. Mr Domecq also met with representatives from the Spanish defence industry.

The main topics discussed during these meetings included the current state of play and way ahead in the implementation of the various EU defence initiatives (PESCO, CARD, EDF), the recently revised EU Capability Development Priorities, Spain’s current and potential future contributions to EDA projects and programmes, the implications of the Agency’s recent Long-Term Review (LTR) as well as the EU-NATO relations.

“It’s crucial to ensure that the various EU defence initiatives – the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD), the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) and the European Defence Fund (EDF) - are all implemented in a coherent and coordinated manner, based on the revised EU Capability Development Priorities and in full transparency and complementarity with NATO”, Mr Domecq stated.

Tomorrow (26 September), Mr Domecq will attend the opening of EDA’s 2018 Military Airworthiness Conference in Madrid, organised with the support of the Dirección General de Armamento y Material (DGAM) of the Spanish Ministry of Defence. 

Categories: Defence`s Feeds

2nd EDA Defence Innovation Prize launched

EDA News - Tue, 25/09/2018 - 17:32

EDA has issued a call for applications from parties interested in participating in the second edition of the ‘EDA Defence Innovation Prize’ contest rewarding companies and research entities who come up with innovative and ground-breaking technologies, products, processes or services applicable in the defence domain.  The topic chosen for this second prize is: Innovative Defence Applications using 5G and Internet of Things (IoT). The winning idea/concept will be worth 30,000€.

The Internet of Things (IoT), the extension of internet connections beyond computers and communication system to everyday objects as well as its myriad of applications are increasingly driving innovation. Furthermore, as the 5th generation of wireless system communications (5G) is in the starting blocks and most experts anticipate that it will revolutionize day-to-day life in a way similar to what the 3G did in the past.   
Even though civil applications and commercial producers are the main drivers behind the IoT and 5G technological (r)evolution, MoDs and Armed Forces cannot and will not ignore the potential benefits of using these technologies to improve European defence capabilities. Against this backdrop, contesters for this 2nd EDA Defence Innovation Prize are expected to propose ideas or concepts which, if implemented between now and 2035, would help improve and enhance specific EU defence capabilities.  No specific defence background is required to participate in the contest which is open to innovators from ALL types of industries and research institutions in Europe: defence & civil/commercial producers, large companies & SMEs, defence-related & civil research communities. Applications from dual-use and civil/commercial innovators and researchers are even particularly encouraged. 

The rules of the contest and the criteria for participation are included in the rules of contest available here.

Deadline for submissions: 2 November 2018 (5pm Brussels time).

Information on how to apply can be found in the contest documentation under the link above. 

The prize winners will be notified not later than early 2019. 

An EDA Defence Innovation Prize award ceremony is scheduled to take place 2019 in Brussels.

Winner of 1st edition to be announced soon

 The winner of the first edition, launched last February, will be announced in the coming weeks. The award ceremony will take place in the margins EDA’s Annual Conference in Brussels on 29 November.

More information:
Categories: Defence`s Feeds

Let’s Have a Look At The Helicopter The U.S. Air Force Has Selected To Replace The UH-1N Huey

The Aviationist Blog - Tue, 25/09/2018 - 11:40
The MH-139, a variant of the AW139, has been selected by the U.S. Air Force to take over the role of protecting the ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile) bases and transportation of U.S. government and security forces. In what many have defined an upset victory, the United States Air Force announced the selection of the MH-139, […]
Categories: Defence`s Feeds

Video of a committee meeting - Monday, 24 September 2018 - 15:10 - Subcommittee on Security and Defence

Length of video : 50'
You may manually download this video in WMV (454Mb) format

Disclaimer : The interpretation of debates serves to facilitate communication and does not constitute an authentic record of proceedings. Only the original speech or the revised written translation is authentic.
Source : © European Union, 2018 - EP

The Phénix is rising | The UK is strengthening its PHALANX | Russia launches a new Lada Sub

Defense Industry Daily - Tue, 25/09/2018 - 06:00

The Navy is procuring support equipment for its MQ-8B Fire Scout UAV. Telephonics Corp will deliver a number of AN/ZPY-4 Radar supplies at a cost of $23.5 million. This includes the delivery of 14 complete AN/ZPY-4 Radar sets and associated equipment ranging from signal processors to Radar Command and Control Systems. The MQ-8B is an unmanned full-sized light naval utility helicopter. The AN/ZPY-4 Radar is an X-band radar that uses state-of-the-art ground clutter cancellation techniques to automatically detect and track moving targets. The enhanced radar is capable of supporting missions ranging from blue water to shoreline, and land operations. The radar is configured to uniquely enable the VTOL UAV to conduct broad area intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. Work will be performed at Telephonics’ Huntington, New York facility and expected to be completed in September 2019.

Northrop Grumman is being tapped to to support organizational level maintenance for the MQ-4C Triton UAS. The awarded firm-fixed-price delivery order is valued at $64.8 million and provides for the production of spares needed to keep the Triton’s Multi-Function Active Sensor (MFAS) operational. According to the company’s website the AN/ZPY-3 MFAS is a 360-degree field-of-regard AESA radar designed for maritime surveillance. The initial spares requirement includes six antenna group assemblies, six wideband receivers/exciters, ten radar signal processors (RSP), two antenna drive electronics and two RSP external power supplies for the MFAS. The MQ-4C Triton provides real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) including vessel detection, tracking and classification over vast ocean and coastal regions. Work will be performed at multiple locations inside and outside the continental US, including – but not limited to – Linthicum, Maryland; Exeter, New Hampshire and San Diego, California. The delivery order is scheduled to run through June 2022.

The Navy is contracting Bell for the delivery of essential parts for its fleet of V-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft. The company is being awarded with two firm-fixed-price delivery orders each valued at $48.4 million. They cover the procurement of V-22 PRGB right- and left hand aircraft assembly parts. The V-22’s propulsion system’s external link consists of dual counter rotating proprotors attached to gearboxes driven by two turboshaft engines. PRBG, or proprotor gearboxes are an integral part of the Osprey’s gearbox system, which also includes one mid-wing gearbox (MWGB), two tilt-axis gearboxes and the emergency reservoir system (ELS).

The Air Force is stocking up on aircraft parts. Harris Corp will provide the service with parts for its B-52 bombers and SOF configured C-130 transport planes. The fixed-price, requirements contract is valued at $255.4 million. The B-52H Stratofortress is the mainstay of the US strategic fleet. It provides both penetrating and standoff capabilities that allow the USAF to hit targets almost anywhere in the world. The aircraft is an essential part to the country’s nuclear and conventional posture. The C-130J is a combat proven aircraft system that served as the tactical airlift backbone since 1956. SOF configured airframes include the AC-130J, EC-130J, HC-130J, and MC-130J. Work will be performed at Harris’ New Jersey facility and will run through May 24, 2026.

Middle East & Africa

South African Paramount Group and Italian defense contractor Leonardo are planning to jointly develop a weaponised version of the M-345 trainer jet for the African market. The two companies recently signed a letter of intent during the Africa Aerospace & Defence exhibition. The M-345 is a training jet aircraft with costs comparable to those of a turboprop aircraft, however it features superior performances compared to other airframes. The aircraft is powered by one Williams International FJ44-4M turbofan engine accelerating it to speeds of up to 460 mp/h. The trainer is equipped with five hardpoints supporting up to 2.205 lbs of external stores in the form of drop bombs, rocket pods, and gun pods. Leonardo and Paramount, will evaluate cooperation for the development of an operational configuration of M-345 jet trainer marketed in the African market and will include the possible involvement of Paramount in the SF-260 program and its Logistic Support services.


The State Department is determined to approve a possible Foreign Military Sale to the United Kingdom. The UK is looking to purchase 50 Mk15 Phalanx CIWS upgrade kits at a cost of $75 million. The radar-guided, rapid-firing MK 15 Phalanx Close-In Weapons System serves as a last-ditch defense against incoming missiles and other targets. The Block IB Baseline 2 Upgrade Kits incorporate digital off-the-shelf signal processing electronics, a new signal source and mixer, and a “surface mode” software upgrade that improves performance against targets on or near the water’s surface. The deal would also include support equipment, test equipment, initial spare parts, technical documentation, training, and engineering technical assistance, and other related elements of logistics and program support. Prime contractor will be Raytheon.

The French government is reaffirming that it will speed up the upcoming delivery of 12 aerial tankers to the French Air Force. The A330-200 MRTT is a derivative of the Airbus A330, and was designed from the outset to be able to function as an aerial tanker and a transport aircraft at the same time. The French Air Force wants the Phénix by 2023, two years earlier as initially envisaged. The new tankers will replace France’s fleet of ageing C-135FR and KC-135R aircraft, some of which are close to 60 years old. The acquisition is part of a number of equipment modernization measures included in the 2019-2025 military budget law.


The Russian Navy adds a second Project 667 submarine to its fleet. Russian media reports that the country launched a new Lads-class diesel-electric submarine in a special ceremony at the Admiralty Shipyards in St. Petersburg on Thursday September 20th. The Kronstadt is a fourth-generation sub that succeeds Kilo-class vessels and offers a much quieter, powerful propulsion and new combat systems. The vessel can achieve speeds of up to 21 knots and is operated by a crew of 35. It carries club-S submarine launched cruise missiles and can fire a total 18 torpedoes, tube-launched anti-submarine and anti-ship missiles. The Lada-class submarines are intended for anti-submarine and anti-ship defense of naval bases, costal installations and sea lanes, as well as patrol and surveillance tasks.

Today’s Video

Watch: Russia deploys 3rd S-400 air defense missile system in Crimea

Categories: Defence`s Feeds

Le Phenix: France Modernizes Its Aerial Refueling Fleets

Defense Industry Daily - Tue, 25/09/2018 - 05:50

C-135FR refuels A330
(click to view full)

France currently relies on 14 C-135s for its aerial refueling needs, but these militarized relatives of the Boeing 707 are expensive to maintain, lack key technologies required for unrestricted flight, and are approaching 50 years old. Over those intervening decades, European governments have built up their own aviation industry, and the Airbus A330 MRTT has been ordered by a number of countries. In 2014, France is finally joining them, and beginning a EUR 3 billion program for 12 A330 “Phenix” aerial tanker-transports.

The French purchase will cap a series of interim moves to keep the existing fleet operational. French governments have searched for space in their multi-year military budgets to fund recapitalization, even as technical delays held up key projects…

What’s Now, and What’s Next

(click to view full)

France’s aerial refueling fleet consists of 11 C-135FRs modernized from KC-135A equivalent status, and 3 KC-135Rs. Both fleets fly with GE/Snecma CFM56-2 turbofan engines, in place of more primitive Pratt & Whitney J57 turbojets. In addition to standard aerial refueling roles, they remain vitally important to the reach France’s nuclear deterrent, which retains a significant dependence on Mirage 2000N and Rafale F3 fighters armed with ASMP-A missiles.

In 2009, France’s DGA announced that they would be modernizing the avionics in the Armee de l’Air’s 11 C-135FR aerial tankers to the C-135FR RENO2 standard, in order to keep them compliant with ICAO regulations for operation in civilian airspace. The goal was to deliver the first modernized aircraft in 2011, finish deliveries by 2013, and begin replacing the fleet in 2015 with A400Ms and A330 MRTTs. Budget problems (A330, see below) and late projects (A400M, late by 3.5 years) have scrambled that timeline, and so France added its 3 KC-135Rs to the upgrade program.

France also has a small passenger transport fleet, made up of 3 shorter-range A310s and 2 long-range A340s. They can fly long distances more efficiently than France’s C-160 Transall and C-130H Hercules fleets, using civilian airports and other infrastructure to carry larger numbers of troops and some cargo.

Unfortunately, the sum total of all current French fleets would only meet 25% of the airlift requirements set out in France’s 2008 defense white paper, and falls well short of aerial refueling requirements. France’s aerial refueling and large/ long-distance transport fleets will be replaced in a 2-part maneuver.

Airbus: A330 MRTT

At the high end, France is buying 12 A330 MRTT tanker-transports to replace 14 C-135 variants, and 5 Airbus passenger jets. They are significantly larger than the C-135s and A310s they replace, albeit slightly smaller than the 2 A340s. They will be delivered in a conventional core configuration, powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines and equipped with both Cobham’s underwing hose-and-drogue refueling units and the Airbus Refuelling Boom System (ARBS). France will be the 1st customer for an “MRTT Enhanced” option that upgrades the mission system, flight controls, IFF, and refueling boom, while providing better cruising performance.

The planes are expected to carry full defensive systems, and can be configured in a variety of layouts for carrying up to 271 passengers. MEDEVAC arrangements will include the French MORPHEE intensive care module, which can carry up to 10 patients and 88 passengers. Cargo payload can be up to 40t of containerized freight.

C-160 Transall
(click to view full)

At the lower end, France has modernized the avionics on its 14 C-130H medium tactical transports, and bought a fleet of 27 new CN-235 light tactical transports from Airbus to offset the decrepit state of their 52-plane C-160 fleet. The ultimate solution involves around 50 A400M Atlas medium-heavy tactical transports, which finally began delivery in “austere configuration” by 2013. The A400M is covered in-depth via its own DII FOCUS article.

If the appropriate Cobham plc wing pods are added, fully equipped A400Ms will be capable of refueling both jets and helicopters, though their 4-turboprop design will make them less efficient than the A330s in the jet refueling role. They’ll also become France’s core cargo airlifters, with short take-off capability and in-air refueling ability that will let them carry 35t+ loads intra-theater distances. They won’t be as efficient as the new A330s for long-range cargo work, but their ability to carry tactical loads like vehicles, helicopters, etc. will more than make up for it.

France’s future fleet is expected to be:

  • 12 Airbus A330-MRTT Phenix aerial tanker-transports
  • 50 Airbus A400M Atlas tactical transports with aerial refueling capabilities
  • 27 Airbus CN235 light tactical transports

Contracts & Key Events 2018

A330 order coming at last; KC-135R upgrade contract; A330 training has already begun.

A330 refuels A400M
(click to view full)

September 25/18: Scheduled for 2023 The French government is reaffirming that it will speed up the upcoming delivery of 12 aerial tankers to the French Air Force. The A330-200 MRTT is a derivative of the Airbus A330, and was designed from the outset to be able to function as an aerial tanker and a transport aircraft at the same time. The French Air Force wants the Phénix by 2023, two years earlier as initially envisaged. The new tankers will replace France’s fleet of ageing C-135FR and KC-135R aircraft, some of which are close to 60 years old. The acquisition is part of a number of equipment modernization measures included in the 2019-2025 military budget law.


Nov 21/14: A330. France’s DGA hammers out an agreement with Airbus to supply A330 MRTT tanker-transports, but they haven’t formally signed a contract yet. The EUR 3 billion program is expected to cover 12 A330 planes in France’s specific “Phenix” configuration, It also includes associated support and training systems, spares, ground support equipment, and an initial 5 years of in-service support from first delivery.

Purchases are expected to take place with an initial order for 1 plane before the end of 2014, a major order for 8 planes in 2015, and then 3 more that will be ordered at some future date. The 1st flight of the A330-MRTT Enhanced variant is expected in fall 2015, with flight testing beginning in earnest by July 2016. Initial delivery to the Armee de l’Air is expected to take place in 2018, followed by the 2nd A330 in 2019, and then the rest at a rate of 1-2 per year. In other words, France’s C-135s and existing Airbus transports will be completely replaced somewhere between 2024 – 2029.

France’s A330 MRTTs will use the standard basic configuration: Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines, 2 underwing Cobham hose-and-drogue pods, and the high-flow, fly-by-wire Airbus Refuelling Boom System (ARBS). French “Phenix” aircraft will also benefit from A330 Enhanced improvements that include upgraded an mission system, flight controls set, IFF, and refueling boom, while providing better cruising performance. Communications and defensive systems, and internal outfitting, are also expected to receive some customization. Once the contract is signed, France will become the A330’s 6th military customer after Australia (5), Britain (13), Saudi Arabia (6), Singapore (4), and the UAE (3); with India (6) and Qatar (2) waiting in the wings. Sources: French DGA, “Le ministre de la Défense annonce la commande de 12 avions MRTT” | Airbus DS, “France announces order for Airbus A330 MRTT air-to-air refuelling aircraft” | Defense News, “France orders 12 “Phoenix” aerial refuellers from Airbus for €3 Billion” | Le Journal de L’Aviation, “Jean-Yves Le Drian officialise les A330 MRTT Phenix”.

12 A330-MRTT Phenix

Oct 28/14: A330. The French Ministry of Defense formally approves the launch of the program to buy 12 A330-MRTTs, during a session of its investment committee. Airbus had reportedly submitted a proposal back in February 2014. Sources: Le Journal de L’Aviation, “Jean-Yves Le Drian officialise les A330 MRTT Phenix”.

Aug 21/14: KC-135R. The 1st modernized KC-135RG is delivered to Istres AB in France, by an American crew who ferried the aircraft from San Antonio.

The upgrades include avionics that meet the RENO Global Air Traffic Management standard, creating navigation standards identical to those of modernized American KC-135s. They also preserved the on-board intercom that’s unique to the French planes, fitted a high-frequency wire antenna, and re-configured the aircraft to carry standard cargo pallets. Sources: French Armee de l’Air, “Le premier KC-135 renove se pose e Istres”.

June 10/13: KC-135R. Rockwell Collins Inc. in Cedar Rapids, IA receives a $44.5 million firm-fixed-price contract to install the KC-135 Global Air Traffic Management Block 40 Upgrade into 3 French KC-135R aerial tankers.

France flies 3 KC-135Rs alongside its 11 C-135FRs, and the Block 40 upgrade is a well proven solution. The USA finished its own KC-135R fleet retrofits in 2010.

Work will be performed at Cedar Rapids, IA and is expected to be complete by Nov 10/15. The USAF Life Cycle Management Center/WKKPA at Tinker AFB, Okla., is the contracting activity (FA8105-13-C-0001).

KC-135 RG upgrade

April 7/14: Training. An AirTanker release highlights the efforts of Armee de l’Air pilot Capitaine Francois Gilbert, who is on secondment to RAF No.10 Squadron at Brize Norton:

“The French Air Force is expected to place its first order for the MRTT later this year. With the first of 12 tankers built by Airbus Defence and Space to be delivered by 2018, they will replace France’s 14-strong [refueling and transport] fleet of C135 FR jets, three A310 and two A340.

“I’m here to build an understanding of the MRTT, its capability and training required to fly it so that when I go back, the knowledge and understanding that I have gained here, can be applied to the French AAR programme”, he says.”

It also provides a solid foundation if France should need to buy FSTA flight hours before 2018, though that’s looking less likely. Sources: AirTanker, “Entente [Most] Cordiale”.

2010 – 2013

C-135R upgrades; A330 delays; Lancaster House accord with UK offers a fill-in A330 option, but France doesn’t bite.

C-135FR & JAS-39C/Ds
(click to view full)

Feb 22/12: A330. Defense Aerospace reports on a 2012 news conference involving French DGA head Lauren Collet-Billon. He leaves the door open to participation in Britain’s FSTA, but makes it clear France will have its own tankers:

“Although it may buy tanker capacity from the Royal Air Force “if the flight hour price is affordable,” France intends to buy its own fleet of A330 tankers which are required to support the French air force’s sovereign nuclear strike mission. These will be ordered in 2013.”

Due to budget difficulties and other commitments, they are not. Sources: Defense Aerospace, “France Could Loan Rafales to Royal Navy”.

Nov 18/11: A330. AIN reports that Libyan lessons learned have made new Airbus A330 MRTT aerial tankers a bigger priority for France, alongside their aging C-135FRs.

An interim contract for 5-7 A330 MRTT planes is now expected in 2013, which means that Britain’s AirTanker LLC partnership is less likely to see any French leasing contracts (q.v. Nov 2/10). Sources: AIN, “French Air Force Chief: Tankers Soon, but Anglo-French UAV Much Later”.

Nov 2/10: UK & France. The “UK-France Summit 2010 Declaration on Defence and Security Co-operation” has this to say:

“15. Air to air refuelling and passenger air transport. We are currently investigating the potential to use spare capacity that may be available in the UK’s Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) programme to meet the needs of France for air to air refuelling and military air transport, provided it is financially acceptable to both nations.”

France currently flies 14 C-135FRs for aerial refueling, and will probably need to keep these Boeing 707 relatives in service for refueling in combat zones and nuclear strike missions. Their planned replacement buy of A330 MRTT refueling and transport planes has been pushed back due to budget concerns, however, creating a need for a stopgap than can lower the C-135FR fleet’s flight hours, and fill some of the gaps. The FSTA tankers will be downgraded versions of France’s own future buy, making it an attractive option that could even result in a reduced future purchase of A330s for the Armée de L’Air.

On the British side, more hours bought by military users beyond Britain makes key modifications like defensive systems easier to justify, and easier to handle operationally because the need for civilian conversions and removal/ modification is reduced.

Oct 12/10: C-135FRs. The French Air Force recaps the C-135FR modernization, and says that the first modified C135 is expected to be delivered in early 2011. Delivery of the equipment will continue until 2013. Sources: French Armee de l’Air, “Renovation des avions ravitailleurs de l’armee de l’air”.

Jan 14/09: C-135FRs. France will replace the avionics in its 11-plane C-135FR fleet, in order to comply with ICAO requirements and fly in civil air space. Modified planes will become C-135FR RENO2.

The EUR 37 million (almost $50 million) installation contract will be handled by Air France, who is also handling a similar set of upgrades to E-3F AWACS fleet. The planes have similar base airframes, with the tankers using the militarized C-135 as their base, and the E-3Fs using the civil 707-320B. DGA release [in French] | Flight International.

C-135FR RENO2 upgrade

July 7/10: A330 delayed. French defense minister Hervé Morin tells the parliamentary defense committee that France will postpone program contracts worth EUR 5.4 billion, in an effort to slash EUR 3.5 billion from the military budget over the next 3 years. France’s plan to replace its aged C-135FR aerial tankers with 14 A330-200 MRTT aircraft by 2015 is one of the delayed programs, even though it’s critical to many of the goals in the government’s 2009 defense white paper.

The parliamentary committee reportedly asked Morin if sharing the British FSTA service might help as a stopgap. If so, it would be a partial one at best. Not only is FSTA unable to operate in even low-threat areas, a commercial service cannot be used to refuel nuclear-armed strike aircraft. That was not an issue for Britain, whose nuclear weapons are limited to submarine-launched Trident missiles. Defense News. “France To Delay Air Programs: Mirage Jets, Tankers, C2 Hit by Cuts”.

Additional Readings

Other A330-MRTT Customers

Categories: Defence`s Feeds

B-2 Spirit Stealth Bombers Conducted Hot-Pit Refueling at Wake Island

The Aviationist Blog - Mon, 24/09/2018 - 22:41
Hot-pit refueling is required to operate out of locations with limited support and infrastructures. On Sept. 14, two U.S. Air Force B-2 Spirit bombers forward deployed to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPH-H), Hawaii, conducted a routine training over the Pacific in the vicinity of Hawaii. The B-2s are deployed at JBPH-H from Whiteman Air Force […]
Categories: Defence`s Feeds

NATO Days 2018 in Ostrava – How Centenaries Should be Done

The Aviationist Blog - Mon, 24/09/2018 - 15:30
All the most interesting “hardware” we have seen at Ostrava Air Show 2018. On Sep. 14 – Sep. 16 we attended the NATO Days event organized in the vicinity of the Czech city of Ostrava. This year marked the 28th edition of this show which is said to be the most important of the Eastern […]
Categories: Defence`s Feeds

PESCO ‘clarification workshop’ held in EDA

EDA News - Mon, 24/09/2018 - 09:02

End of last week (20/21 September), a ‘clarification workshop’ at expert level was organized by the PESCO Secretariat at the EDA with the aim of facilitating an exchange of information between the PESCO participating Member States and to provide details on the 33 new project proposals put forward by them as part of the second project assessment and selection round currently underway. 

The workshop was chaired by the PESCO Secretariat made up by the European External Action Service (EEAS), including the EU Military Staff (EUMS), and the EDA. It had three main objectives: 

  • to develop a common understanding on the second batch of PESCO project proposals at expert level;
  • to serve as a ‘clearing house’ on potential synergies and similarities between project proposals and to identify and map expressions of interest by participating Member States for individual PESCO project proposals;
  • to provide an overview on PESCO and the way ahead, including on a state of play of the first batch of 17 PESCO projects adopted by the EU Council of Ministers on 6 March 2018. 

In view of developing a second batch of PESCO projects, participating Member States were invited to submit their project proposals to the PESCO secretariat by end of last July.  The PESCO Secretariat has already conducted an assessment of the projects which was shared with the participating Member States before the clarification workshop. A final decision by PESCO participating Member States on which of these projects will be part of the second batch of PESCO projects will be taken later this year.

More information:
Categories: Defence`s Feeds

The US Army is boosting its processing power | Saab pitches software upgrade to SAAF | UK SOFs buy new submersibles

Defense Industry Daily - Mon, 24/09/2018 - 06:00

The US Army is increasing its processing power as part of the Defense High Performance Computing Modernization Program. Cray Inc. will increase the processing capability of the current Cray XC 40 High Performance Supercomputer under this $12.5 million firm-fixed-price contract. The supercomputer consists of 101,312 computer cores, 32 general-purpose computing on graphics processing units, or GPGPUs, and 411 terabytes of memory, and provides 3.77 petaflops of peak computing capability. The supercomputer is at the heart of the ERDC, which conducts R&D in support of the soldier, military installations, and civil works projects, as well as for other federal agencies, state and municipal authorities, and with US industry through innovative work agreements. The contract also includes the purchase of 2083 additional nodes compatible with the existing system architecture. Work will be performed at the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center DoD Supercomputing Resource Center (ERDC DSRC) in Vicksburg, Mississippi and is expected to be completed by October 31, 2018.

Boeing is being tapped to arm the Navy’s F/A-18E/F and EA-18G aircraft. The awarded contract modification is valued at $40.3 million and provides for the procurement of aircraft armament equipment (AAE) in support of 12 Super Hornets and 14 Growlers. The AAE program procures, modifies and upgrades common bomb racks, peculiar bomb racks, missile launchers, and provides related support for Navy and Marine Corps platforms. Work will be performed at multiple locations, including – but not limited to – Meza, Arizona; St. Louis, Missouri and Minneapolis, Minnesota. The contract is set to run through November 2022.

General Dynamics Mission Systems is being contracted to sustain essential systems on SSBNs and SSGNs. The contract modification is valued at $12.8 million and provides for sustainment of Fire Control Systems installed on US and UK SSBNs, as well as the Attack Weapon Control System on US SSGNs. The contract further includes relevant training and support equipment. The Fire Control System delivers data required to monitor the launch sequence of ballistic missiles. The Attack Weapon Control System (AWCS) consists of an integrated Launch Control System interfaced with the Tactical Tomahawk Weapon Control System and the Captain’s Information and Control Station, having the capability to launch up to 154 missiles from a maximum of 22 missile tubes. Work will be performed at multiple locations in the US and the UK, including GD’s facility in Pittsfield Massachusetts. The contract has a performance period of five years and is expected to e completed by September 2023.

Middle East & Africa

The governments of Jordan, Morocco, Afghanistan, Senegal, Tunisia and Pakistan are set to receive additional rifles as part of US Foreign Military Sales. Colt will provide the countries with up to 10,000 additional M4 and M4A1 5.56mm carbine rifles at a cost of $57.7 million. The M4/M4A1 Carbine is a lightweight, gas operated, air cooled, magazine fed, selective rate, shoulder fired weapon with a collapsible stock. It is now the standard issue firearm for most units in the US military. The M4 offers a collapsible buttstock, flat-top upper receiver assembly, a U-shaped handle-rear sight assembly that could be removed, and assortment of mounting rails for easy customization with a variety of sight, flashlight, grenade launchers, shotgun attachments, etc. Like its predecessor the M16, the M4 also has a reputation as an excellent weapon – if you can maintain it. Work will be performed at Colt’s facility in West Hartford, Connecticut, and is scheduled for completion by September 2019.

Saab is currently recommending that the South African Air Force (SAAF) adopts the latest software update for its JAS39C and JAS39D Gripen fighter jets. MS 20 is the latest step in Saab’s process of constant capability expansion. The MS 20 upgrade includes integration of the MBDA Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile and Boeing GBU-39 Small-Diameter Bomb, improved radar modes and a new laser designation pod (LDP) among other things. The new software will would also increase the performance of the Gripen’s radar and would allow the fitting of an automated Ground Collision Avoidance System. The Swedish Air Force was using MS 20 to improve the reconnaissance performance of its Gripens.


The US is sending missiles to European allies under its FMS program. The governments of Estonia, Lithuania and Ukraine will each receive an unspecified number of Javelins under this $27.6 million contract modification awarded to Raytheon/Lockheed Martin Javelin JV. The Javelin is a portable anti-tank weapon, which is shoulder-fired but can also be installed on tracked, wheeled or amphibious vehicles. The Javelin system consists of the CLU and the round. With a carry weight of 6.4kg, the CLU incorporates a passive target acquisition and fire control unit with integrated day sight and thermal imaging capabilities. This contract also includes sales to the governments of Australia, Turkey and Taiwan. Work will be performed in Tucson, Arizona and is scheduled for completion by August 31, 2021.

The State Department is determined to approve a FMS to the United Kingdom. If approved, the UK would receive three SEAL Delivery Vehicles (SDV) MK 11 Shallow Water Combat Submersibles (SWCS) for an estimated cost of $90 million. The SWCS is a manned submersible and a type of swimmer delivery vehicle which will deliver US Navy SEALs and their equipment for special operations missions. The SWCS is deployable from surface ships, land, and Dry Deck Shelters on submarines. The SWCS carries passive sonar the ability to sense electromagnetic energies like radars, a navigation system with INS/ secure GPS capability, secure wireless underwater communication links, and the ability to operate down to at least down to 190-300 feet undersea. Included in the contract are spares, relevant equipment, manuals and other support services. Prime contractor will be Teledyne Brown Engineering.


Chinese defense manufacturer Ziyan is showcasing its new Blowfish I VTOL UAV at the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) 2018 exhibition in South Africa. The Blowfish I is a multifunctional and universal unmanned helicopter. It can flight in ultra-low altitude to medium-altitude environment, complex geography and in all-weather conditions. According to the company, the new UAV has a maximum take-off weight of between 28 and 50 kg and an endurance of between 45 to 60 minutes. It is electrically powered and has a payload of 12 kg that can include different types of weapons. The company also revealed that the Blowfish I is currently entering service with the People’s Liberation Army Navy.

Today’s Video

Watch: REVEALED! The UK’s New Challenger 2 tank known as BLACK NIGHT

Categories: Defence`s Feeds

Flash from the Past: Kabul security handed back to Afghans in 2008

The Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN) - Sat, 22/09/2018 - 02:51

Ten years (and a few weeks) ago, in August 2008, a process started that would later become known as enteqal (transition), namely of security responsibility from NATO to the Afghan forces. (*) This process was supposed to be finalised by the end of 2014. Full troop withdrawal was never fully achieved, though. NATO troops’ “watchful eye from the side lines”, as cited in the text, and their quick response in situations of security crises are still indispensable  Here is an article (translated from its original German) written for a Berlin-based daily newspaper by AAN co-director Thomas Ruttig less than a year before AAN was formally founded. The article provides a déjà vu– many of the issues described remained unresolved for over a decade now.

From Thursday [28 August 2008] onwards, the Afghan National Army (ANA) will progressively take over responsibility for the security in the Afghan capital Kabul from the NATO-led ISAF mission. The Kabulis will not notice much, though – perhaps only that there will be more ANA patrols in the streets than before. Even the originally planned handover ceremony will not be held. One can also presume that NATO troops will remain present, with a watchful eye from the side lines.

The reason is that security provided by the Afghan security forces has shown a lot of gaps over the past months. They were neither able to prevent the devastating attack at the Indian Embassy in Kabul on 7 July (1) nor an attempt to kill President Hamed Karzai at a military parade on 27 April when the shots fired by a commando of insurgents only just missed him. (2) During the subsequent investigations into the latter incident it turned out that high officers at the Ministry of the Interior had supported the attackers. This cast serious doubts over the ANA and the police’s abilities to assume their newly acquired security responsibilities. “God alone knows what will happen after that,” a Kabuli woman working for an international organisation commented, sceptically.

The transfer of security responsibility was brought up for the first time by President Hamed Karzai at the NATO 2008 spring conference in Bucharest and approved at the Afghanistan conference in Paris in June that year. According to Kabul’s Ministry of Defence, only NATO trainers for the ANA and ANP as well as NATO command centres and logistic bases would remain (…).

Handover to the Afghan forces was supposed to demonstrate abroad that the Karzai government was increasingly able to operate on its own and that the strategy of the US and its western allies to build up effective Afghan forces was working. The fact that the handover will now be implemented without any public event turns the whole affair into a vote of no-confidence on the Afghan forces’ abilities and into an admission that western plans to build them up are way behind schedule. Former Kabul chief of police General Babajan’s recent boasting in Kabul Weekly newspaper, where he claimed the transfer showed that “the Western style of guaranteeing security in Kabul was ineffective” also highlighted that the Afghans dangerously overestimate their own forces’ capabilities.

Starting with the weekend before the now-cancelled handover ceremony, the tone between the Karzai government and the US became sharper. By the end of the previous week, a total of 130 civilians had been killed in two more US airstrikes, one in the western province of Herat and one in eastern Laghman. US representatives vehemently denied that any civilians had been killed in those attacks, but the United Nations confirmed the Afghan government’s reports. (3)

Following these developments, the Afghan cabinet decided to open negotiations with “representatives of the international community” so that, according to Karzai’s spokesman Homayun Hamidzada (contemporary media reports here and here), “air strikes against civilian targets, uncoordinated house searches and illegal arrests of Afghan civilians” by western troops would stop. He said that earlier demands for “moderation” had been “ignored.” Hamidzada further announced that the government wanted to bring all foreign troops “under Afghan law.” Draft legislation would be brought into parliament where emotions about the US attacks have been boiling for several weeks already. One female deputy led a protest of several hundred tribal elders from Logar last week, a province that has also seen a US airstrike. (4)

Hamidzada added that the government was not asking the West to withdraw its troops, though: “This is neither our nor the people’s demand, as we need to strengthen our army before we are able to defend our country [independently].” NATO has responded dryly so far, saying that it has not been notified about any wish for new negotiations.

In contrast to European NATO member states, Washington has so far shown no interest in concluding a status-of-forces agreement with Kabul, which is the international norm and which would define the US troops’ mandate in Afghanistan. In contrast, the deployment of US troops under Operation Enduring Freedom – which does not fall under ISAF’s command – is based on a bilateral “Strategic Partnership Agreement” from May 2005 that largely gives the Americans a free hand to operate at will. Washington also points to the UN Security Council that has mandated the presence of its troops after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. So far, only the Afghan political opposition had demanded to newly regulate the presence of the US troops. Now, it seems, Karzai has joined their bandwagon.

This is mainly related to the presidential elections in 2009. (5) Karzai’s reputation in the country is declining, the insurgent Taleban are portraying him as an “American puppet.” A recent poll by the Kabul office of the German Konrad Adenauer Foundation, asking 1,050 inhabitants in Kabul province, found that only 17 per cent would vote for him again. (6) In the 2004 election, he officially won 54 per cent of the vote countrywide. The security handover of Kabul was meant to be NATO’s campaign support for Karzai. But this has not really worked out well.

The original German article under the title “Unter afghanisches Gesetz” can be found here, at the Berlin daily Tageszeitung’s website (27 August 2008).

Read AAN’s August 2013 dossier, entitled “Looking back at transition“ here.


(*) NATO made “transition” its official strategy for Afghanistanat its Lisbon summit in November 2010 (see here), setting mid-2013 as the time when responsibility for security throughout all of Afghanistan should have been handed over – or “transitioned” – from NATO to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) in a process of five phases (see AAN analysis here). On the Afghan side, transition was handled by Ashraf Ghani, the country’s president since 2014 and then in the role of what had been dubbed the ‘transition czar’ (see media report here).

(1) At that point, this attack was the bloodiest that had ever occurred in Kabul, with 58 people dead, including two Indian diplomats (one the military attaché), and 141 injured, according to UN figures (a media report here).

(2) The attack occurred on 27 April, the mujahedin’s victory day over the regime of Dr Najibullah. Three people – among them one member of parliament, Fazl Rahman Tsamkanai, a Shia community leader and a 10-year old boy – were killed and eleven wounded (media reports here and here).

(3) The airstrike in Herat province was carried out by the US Air Force on 22 August 2008 in the village of Azizabad in Shindand district, in pursuit of a local Taleban commander, according to the US military. It killed an estimated 92 civilians, 62 of them children, according to UN investigations (see report here). After a separate investigation, the US insisted only seven civilians were killed. The airstrike in Garloch village, Laghman, also in August, killed more than a dozen civilians, according to provincial officials, while the US claimed 30 Taleban dead in the strike and “no knowledge of non-combatant deaths” (media reports here and here; exact date and district not reported). According to a later investigation by Anand Gopal, the attack had hit a wedding.

Previous to those attacks, there had been two similar air strikes with 64 civilians killed in total in the provinces of Nuristan and Nangrahar, according to the UN. In both, wedding processions were hit again. In the Nuristan case on 4 July 2008, US troops again claimed they had been fired at and that they had no knowledge of “injured non-combatants.” Provincial governor Tamim Nuristani, however, reported the US attack was in retaliation for insurgent rockets fired at a US base the night before. The Afghan Ministry of Health said that three of its medical personnel and four other government employees were among those killed (media report here). The Nangrahar case happened on 6 July 2008 in Dehbala district (aka Haska Mena) (media report here).

These incidents led to an increase of US-Afghan tensions, as a contemporary BBC report reflected.

(4) In an airstrike on 15 August in Kharwar district, three children were killed (media report here).

(5) This election was held on 20 August 2009, four months after the constitutional deadline. Karzai had stated that he did not want to stay in office “even one day” after his mandate ended in May 2009, but neither the constitution nor the electoral law included any transitional measures for such a case. The oppositional National Front originally demanded that a Loya Jirga be held to solve the problem. But when Karzai adopted this demand, fears arose that he might manipulate the composition and the outcome of the jirga in his favour. The NF then suggested installing an all-party transitional government. None of this came to fruition.

(6) This was a non-representative poll.

Categories: Defence`s Feeds

White House Authorizes “Offensive Operations” As Part of New Cyber Security Strategy

The Aviationist Blog - Fri, 21/09/2018 - 16:18
The WH and the Pentagon have a plan to step up offensive cyber operations to deter foreign adversaries. The Trump administration has authorized the use of “offensive cyber operations” as part of a new national cyber strategy that aims at deterring attacks on the U.S. most critical networks, preventing interferences on future elections (in order […]
Categories: Defence`s Feeds

U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Jets Involved In First Operational Deployment Near the Horn of Africa Flying With External Gun Pod

The Aviationist Blog - Fri, 21/09/2018 - 14:55
Photos show Marines F-35B aircraft carrying the external gun pod during exercise off the coast of Djibouti. For the last two weeks, U.S. Marine Corps F-35Bs assigned to the Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 211 “Wake Island Avengers”, deployed with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, have undertaken the type’s first operational deployment in international waters off […]
Categories: Defence`s Feeds

DVD 2018: HIPPO ATSV gains autonomy

Jane's Defense News - Fri, 21/09/2018 - 11:00
Hippo Multipower displayed an autonomous variant of its amphibious HIPPO All Terrain Support Vehicle (ATSV) at Defence Vehicle Dynamics (DVD) 2018, Millbrook, Bedfordshire, UK, fitted with a robotic applique kit. Hippo Multipower has teamed with Digital Concepts Engineering (DCE) to demonstrate the
Categories: Defence`s Feeds

Indonesia lays keel for eighth, ninth PC-40-class patrol vessels

Jane's Defense News - Fri, 21/09/2018 - 11:00
Key Points An Indonesian shipbuilder has laid down two more PC-40-class patrol vessels for the Indonesian Navy The service is further bolstering its patrol boat programmes amid the rise of non-conventional maritime threats in the region Indonesian shipbuilder PT Caputra Mitra Sejati (CMS) has
Categories: Defence`s Feeds

Russia upgrades Uran-9 combat UGV

Jane's Defense News - Fri, 21/09/2018 - 11:00
The Russian defence industry is upgrading the Uran-9 unmanned ground vehicle (UGV), Jane’s has learnt. The baseline Uran-9 UGV was unveiled in December 2015. “The trials of the Uran-9 combat UGV will be finished by the year-end,” an industry source said. “The vehicle has
Categories: Defence`s Feeds

Rwanda to receive two MEDEVAC aircraft for UN missions in Africa

Jane's Defense News - Fri, 21/09/2018 - 11:00
Rwanda is to receive two new aircraft to be used for medical evacuation and light transport missions during international peacekeeping operations throughout Africa, it was disclosed on 20 September. A sources sought notification issued by the US Air Force (USAF) calls for two single-engined
Categories: Defence`s Feeds