Video shows Angry Afghan Villagers stoning wreck of U.S. Predator Drone

Click to see video
An American UAS (Unmanned Aerial System) crashes in Afghanistan. Local people stone it. The following footage made its first appearance on Facebook a couple of days ago. It allegedly shows what seems to be a group of Afghans stoning the wreck of a (most probably American) MQ-1 Predator drone, while other people cheer and laugh.

It’s almost impossible to determine why, when and where the unmanned aircraft crashed. Still, what can be said is that U.S. drones involved in overseas clandestine missions (in Afghanistan or Iran – do you remember the stealth RQ-170 Sentinel captured by Iran?) don’t carry any marking, serial, roundel etc.

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50 Billion For less than 300 Fighters ??

India will be spending more than 50 Billion $ Dollars in next decade to purchase less than 300 fighter aircrafts for Indian air force, even though it will be retiring more aircrafts then that.  
IAF plans to Purchase 126 French made Rafale and 144 Indo­Russian FGFA which might be cleared by Government of India but are yet to take off, Negotiation for purchase of French made Dassault has been going on for last 2 years now and according to media reports India will have to pay more now due to increase in cost and Estimated cost of FGFA is all set to rise due to delays in finalizing a deal with Russians.

According to Defence analyst India might end up paying more than 10 Billion extra over deal cost, this is seriously a worrying signs for Indian air force which still has to replace bulk of vintage Migs from its fleet.

IAF will be retiring close to 250 Mig­21 variant in 2017­19 period and post 2015 half the fleet of Mig­27 will also be retired too which will be around 60, Mig­27 due to poor workmanship and design defects in engine has suffered many crashes lately and IAF plans to retire them along with Mig­21 in the same period.
Another strike aircraft for Indian air force which is British made Jaguars might serve post 2025 but number will be limited. IAF has plans to upgrade Jaguars with newer Honeywell made engines but deal for that is still pending and it is likely that less than half the fleet of Jaguars will be upgraded with new engines and DARIN­III standard which will come with modern navigation, EW and weapon delivery system, which will keep small fleet of Jaguars going post 2030.
From 2015 to 2020 IAF will be retiring more than 350 fighter aircrafts from its fleet, keeping a side close to 100 aircrafts which already have been retired in last few years this will lead to lowest squadron strength of IAF at this period and probably will take IAF next two decades to bring back the squadron strength to sanctioned strength.
TOT (Transfer of Technology) and local Production is leading to higher Procurement cost of this fighter aircrafts. Failure to go ahead with either of the two deals will lead to more problems for IAF which is seeing growth of firepower in Chinese air force which with local produced aircrafts  and Russian copies of Sukhoi’s will have largest fleet of 4.5 generation fighter jets in Asia by 2020. Possible solution could be to order additional Tejas MK­1 aircrafts from current 40 to 80 or order additional Sukhoi­30 MKI directly from Russia.
Note: Articles in My Take section are opinions and views expressed by of our readers and does not represent views and opinions of  idrw.org or its team.

Pentagon Expects China to Export Stealthy Fighter

China is expected to export a new radar-evading fighter jet as well as other advanced weapons systems in a move that could potentially see them deployed against the U.S. or its allies, a senior Pentagon official said Tuesday.
Frank Kendall, the Pentagon’s procurement chief, also told a congressional hearing that the technology gap between U.S. and Chinese weapons was set to continue narrowing as the countries’ military spending moved in opposite directions.

“In general, we would expect the Chinese to have export versions of the equipment that they build,” said Mr. Kendall told the House Armed Services Committee.

“One of the concerns about China is not just that they are modernizing—we don’t anticipate a conflict with China, certainly—but they do export,” he said. “And the weapons systems they develop we would face potentially with other people.”
China is already the world’s fifth-largest arms exporter, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, a think tank, and its state-controlled weapons makers have in recent years gained more success in high-profile international sales contests.
The expansion has posed a challenge for policy makers and western arms makers, who are targeting more sales in the Middle East and Asia to counter flat or declining defense budgets in the U.S. and Europe.
The industry was rocked last year when Turkey indicated it would buy a missile-defense system from China, beating rival bids from Raytheon Co and consortia from Europe and Russia.
Turkey has yet to finalize a contract, but Western diplomats questioned how a missile-defense system built with Chinese hardware could work alongside the existing technology provided by the country’s allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
While the Pentagon has for several years expressed concern that the U.S. was losing its superiority in areas such as fighter jets, missile-defense systems and cyberwarfare, it is the first time that a senior official has raised the potential for China’s new Chengdu J-20 fighter to be exported.
The J-20 first flew in 2011, and while Pentagon officials don’t expect it to enter active service before 2018, its arrival could come at a time when governments could face a shrinking array of western-built jets to buy.
Heavy investment in the Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter by the U.S. and some allies has raised questions over the ability of Boeing Co to continue building its F-15 and F-A/18 aircraft as its order book runs down. Similarly, rival aircraft built by the Eurofighter consortium and France’s Dassault Aviation SA are suffering from a dearth of new orders, and fiercely contesting the few international contracts now on offer.
Mr. Kendall, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, has championed continued investment in research and development by the Pentagon to keep pace with higher spending by China, Russia and others.
“The Department of Defense is being challenged in ways that I’ve not seen in decades,” said Mr. Kendall,, at a congressional hearing on the “pivot” of U.S. military forces back to Asia from the Middle East.
Mr. Kendall said while China’s published defense budget remained just a quarter of that in the U.S., it was growing at around 10% a year and allowed for more equipment buying because of its comparatively lower personnel costs.
The official said that while he was “comfortable now” with the military balance between the nations in the Pacific, U.S. funding challenges clouded the medium-term outlook. “I’m not sure we’d be able to say that five or 10 years down the road,” said Mr. Kendall.
He pointed to recent reports of a test by China of a hypersonic missile that is able to fly more than five times the speed of sound, making it difficult to track and destroy.
“This is a good example of an area of technology that is going to move forward whether we invest in it or not,” said Mr. Kendall.

Norwegian F-16s deploy to Iceland

The Royal Norwegian Air Force (RoNAF) has deployed a detachment of Lockheed Martin F-16AM Fighting Falcons to Iceland in support of a NATO training mission, the alliance reported on 29 January.
Six F-16s arrived on the island on 27 January for a one-month rotation as part of NATO’s ‘Airborne Surveillance and Interception Capabilities to Meet Iceland’s Peacetime Preparedness Needs’ mission. They are due to depart on 21 February.

Taking over from US Air Force (USAF) Boeing F-15C Eagle fighters, which deployed out of Royal Air Force (RAF) Lakenheath in the UK in late 2013, the RoNAF planes will be used to demonstrate NATO’s capability to conduct air policing in defence of Icelandic airspace.

This deployment marks a first for NATO in that Finland and Sweden will join Norway, the Netherlands, and the United States in a joint training exercise.
Dubbed Iceland Air Meet (renamed from the Iceland Fighter Meet 2014 [IFM14] to reflect the participation of non-fighter aircraft), this exercise will see RoNAF F-16AMs, Finnish Air Force Boeing F/A-18 Hornets, and Swedish Air Force Saab JAS 39 Gripens conduct joint airborne training operations over Iceland, alongside aerial refuelling aircraft from the Royal Netherlands Air Force and USAF, a NATO Boeing E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning And Control System (AWACS) aircraft operating from Norway, and search and rescue helicopters from Iceland.
The Iceland Air Meet will run from 3 to 21 February and, as is the norm for NATO operations over Iceland, the aircraft will be flown unarmed.
For the peacetime preparedness needs mission, alliance members undertake three- to four-week rotations within one of three four-month windows throughout the year. Nations typically contribute four aircraft per deployment, although this number is flexible.
The mission has so far been flown by Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, Portugal, and the United States. A planned deployment by the UK in 2008 was cancelled following its diplomatic spat with Iceland over the Nordic nation’s banking crisis.

Date set for Swiss Gripen referendum

Switzerland’s planned purchase of 22 Saab Gripen E fighters will be put to the public vote on 18 May, the nation’s Federal Council has confirmed.
Although the Gripen deal was approved by politicians late last year, the Swiss parliamentary system allows for a public referendum to be called if at least 50,000 signatures are secured opposing an action. Almost 65,400 people signed a petition against the Gripen Fund Law, the Swiss government says.

Due to be delivered after 2018, the Swiss air force’s planned Gripen fleet would serve as a replacement for its current Northrop F-5s. The service also already has an active fleet of 31 Boeing F/A-18C/Ds, operations of which are expected to continue beyond 2030.

Meanwhile, Sweden also plans to modify 60 of its Gripens to the E-model configuration, while Brazil recently selected Saab’s NG variant of the type for its F-X2 programme acquisition.

Bangladesh Buys Russian Combat Training Jets Worth $800M

Bangladesh ordered 24 Russian Yak-130 light fighter jets worth $800 million in the final quarter of last year, a Russian newspaper reported Tuesday.
The deal was paid for with a loan extended by Moscow to the country a year ago, the director of Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport said in a separate interview published by Kommersant on Monday, without disclosing the deal’s price tag.

The newspaper said Tuesday that the sale was worth $800 million, citing unnamed sources in the defense industry. The planes are to be fitted with English-language cockpits and delivery is scheduled to begin next year.

The Yak-130 is a lightweight subsonic trainer aircraft designed to mimic the cockpit and handling capabilities of Russia’s more advanced fighters. The plane can also be configured to carry a small payload of ground attack and air-to-air weapons.
Russia has targeted South Asia as a growth market for arms exports. The country delivered a refitted aircraft carrier, the INS Vikramaditya, to India earlier this month and is in the process of supplying Vietnam with six advanced attack submarines.

Indian AF, Tired of Delays, Looks Overseas for Trainer

The Indian Air Force, losing patience awaiting an indigenous intermediate jet trainer (IJT) that is seven years overdue, wants to purchase a trainer aircraft overseas, an Air Force source said.
In development since 1999, the IJT is unlikely to meet a reworked deadline of achieving initial operational clearance by the end of 2014, leading the service to press the panic button, the source added.

The Air Force uses aging Kiran basic trainers inducted in 1970-71, while the IJT, being developed by state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL), was scheduled to have been introduced nearly seven years ago.

The Kiran has already exceeded its life expectancy and is scheduled to be retired in 2015, leaving a vacuum in pilot training, the source added. The Air Force now wants the Defence Ministry to procure trainers from overseas.
No official from HAL was available for comment on the status of the IJT and the reason for delays, and no Defence Ministry spokesman would say whether a trainer would be bought from overseas if HAL experiences more delays. However, an MoD source said the repeated delays of the IJT are raising concerns.
An Air Force official said there are problems with the Russian-built AL-551 engine that will power the IJT. Contracted in 2002 from NPO Saturn of Russia, the engine has still not received certification, the official said.
The Russian engine needs to be overhauled more frequently than suits the Air Force, the official said. Without giving exact figures, the official said the Russian engine would need to be overhauled about every 150 hours of flying, while the Air Force wants the engine to operate at least 900 hours before an overhaul is needed.
A Russian diplomat here, however, said the engine meets the basic requirements of the IJT, adding that the service life of the engine is being increased to 500 hours.
Last year, Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne, the service’s chief of staff, asked the Indian defense minister to buy 68 additional Pilatus PC-6 Mark-II basic trainers from Swiss company Pilatus Aircraft, topping the earlier order of 75 trainers.
In his letter to the defense minister, Browne wrote that given HAL’s poor track record, the proposed IJT should be put on hold and 68 additional Pilatus trainers be ordered instead.
In August, India’s autonomous auditing agency, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), criticized HAL for delaying the IJT project.
“The project suffered at every stage of its execution,” the CAG report noted. “While the planning went awry with indecisiveness about the weight, thrust and life of the engine at the design stage itself, taking up production without initial operational clearance did not serve the purpose of the [Air Force], which had projected requirement for the aircraft way back in 1999.” 

Rafael advances missile evaluation for Israeli F-35s

Rafael has completed an initial evaluation of the requirements for a sixth-generation air-to-air missile that will be carried by the Israeli air force’s Lockheed Martin F-35s.
The step was confirmed by Yosi Druker, vice-president and general manager of Rafael’s air superiority systems division. In the past, the company said only that it was developing the “building blocks” for such a weapon. It also previously announced that its Stunner missile – developed for the David’s Sling rocket interceptor system – would provide the basis for a future air-to-air system.

Druker says Rafael has been looking into the design of a so-called sixth-generation weapon for some years, with one requirement being for the design to be carried within the internal weapons bay of the F-35.

“The missile must have better performance than any air-to-air missile that will be used by someone in our arena for the next 20 years. In general, it must have a longer range and super manoeuvrability in short and long ranges,” Druker says.
An Israeli-made air-to-air missile will form part of a package of nationally-developed systems that the Israeli air force wants to have on its future fleet of stealth fighters.
So far, Israel will be able to install its own radio and datalink systems in the first 20 F-35s it will acquire. Discussions over the integration of electronic warfare capabilities continue, and may be approved should the nation purchase additional aircraft. In such a case, Israeli sources say the most realistic option is for the air force to add on EW equipment with capabilities unique to the service.

Russian Arms Exporter Sold $13.2Bln in 2013

The new Su-35 heavy jet fighter (left) and the lightweight Yak-130 fighter (right)
Russia’s state arms exporter Rosoboronexport sold $13.2 billion in weapons and military equipment to foreign buyers last year but expects no short-term growth, its director said in an interview published Monday.

“For the next two to three years our main task will be to maintain arms exports at $13 billion, which I do not think we will exceed, since the new types of technology potential buyers are interested in should first be adopted by the Russian army, and only then be exported,” Anatoly Isaikin told Russia’s Kommersant newspaper.

The company signed 1,202 orders last year and fulfilled deliveries to 60 countries. Among the major importers of Russian weapons and military equipment were India, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Venezuela, Algeria and Malaysia.
Aircraft amounted to nearly 40 percent of the company’s sales last year, followed by anti-aircraft defense systems at just over 25 percent, Isaikin said.
“I would say that Russia is ready to offer everything from small arms to anti-aircraft defense systems,” he said.
He added that there has been great interest from foreign buyers in the new Su-35 heavy jet fighter as well as the inexpensive and lightweight Yak-130 fighter.
The director noted that unrest and revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East including Syria have hit sales as “we had made a serious bid for those countries” and that shipments of arms to Syria in compliance with UN sanctions were ongoing.
Isaikin expressed hope that sales to African and Asian countries could be boosted by loans from Russian commercial banks or by swapping arms for mineral extraction rights.

Rafale: More expensive than planned

India’s biggest deal of procuring 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) for $18 billion (Rs90,000 crore) has hit rough weather. Two years after French aircraft maker Dassault Aviation bagged the deal for its Rafale fighter jets on account of being the lowest bidder, its cost has now shot up by 100 per cent. 

In January 2012, when Rafale was declared the winner, its price was quoted between $60-65 million (Rs373-Rs400 crore). A top defence ministry official said the price of a fighter jet made by Dassault could now cost $120 million (Rs746 crore). The second bidder, Eurofighter, had quoted $80-85 million (Rs497-Rs528 crore).

The price hike would mean that the deal would cost India nothing less than $28-30 billion (Rs1.75 lakh crore-Rs1.86 lakh crore),” said an Indian Air Force (IAF) official, who is privy to discussions of the cost negotiation committee. 
The defence ministry headed by AK Antony has developed cold feet after the cost doubled compared to the original estimate. With the general elections just months away, Antony is unsure about the fate of the deal, a defence ministry official said. “As the negotiations continue, the cost is spiralling out of hand. It is a major worry,” he said. 
An IAF official said that in 2007, when the tender was floated, the cost of the programme was $12 billion (Rs42,000 crore). When the lowest bidder was declared in January 2012, the cost of the deal shot up to $18 billion (Rs90,000 crore).
Eighteen of the 126 planes will be purchased directly from Dassault, while Hindustan Aeronautics Limited will manufacture the other 108 under a licence, at an upcoming facility in Bangalore.
The IAF, which is fighting its depleting combat strength, was banking on Rafale as this was going to be the force’s leading fighter plane for the next four decades. “With chances of the MMRCA deal getting inked appearing dim, there seems to be no
solution to the immediate problem of shrinking squadron numbers as existing aircraft are forced into retirement,” said another IAF official. 
The air force is seeking to replace its ageing MiG-21s with a modern fighter and MMRCA fits between India’s high-end Sukhoi-30MKIs and its low-end Tejas LCA lightweight fighter. The IAF has a sanctioned strength of 45 fighter jet squadrons. However, it only has 30 squadrons operational as old aircraft have been retired.