Exelis to Supply Pakistan with More Components for Electronic Warfare Systems

Exelis has received $9 million from the U.S. Air Force to supply spare components for electronic warfare (EW) technology provided to Pakistan under an existing contract. The original contract, awarded in December 2011, granted Exelis $53 million to supply Pakistan with ALQ-211 Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suite (AIDEWS) systems to protect the country’s F-16 fighter aircraft from radio frequency threats. 
The additional funds provide for the manufacture and delivery of a range of spare AIDEWS components, following successful development and integration flight-testing phases.
“The AIDEWS pod offers dependable protection against a range of dynamic electronic threats,” said Joe Rambala, vice president and general manager of the Exelis integrated electronic warfare systems business area. “Working with U.S. and allied customers to stay ahead of emerging threats has helped make Exelis a global electronic warfare leader, and we remain committed to advancing this critical mission.”
The AIDEWS components will be produced at the Exelis Electronic Systems (ES) facility in Clifton, N.J., with deliveries expected to be complete in 2016. ES is the lead division for the company’s electronic warfare strategic growth platform and provides advanced, integrated EW solutions to protect and enable customers to perform their critical missions.
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China’s First Homegrown Aircraft Carrier Uses Electromagnetic Catapult

Recently, Jane’s Defence Weekly has exposed a true photo of China’s homegrown aircraft carrier that it claims to have obtained from Google.
US experts have checked the photo and found that the carrier is installed with an electromagnetic catapult, a technology that the US has just gained mastery and only uses it on one of its carriers, the Ford.

There have been reports that the PLA plans to spend $20 billion to get two aircraft carrier combat groups. If so, the PLA will be the most powerful in East Asia and perhaps, the entire Asia.

In addition, China is building lots of other warships. China is building a few 35,000-ton amphibious attack warships, each of which can carry 4 Zubr LCACs and 20 helicopters. China has obtained one Zubr LCAC from Ukraine. It is expected the such amphibious warships will be commissioned in 2015.

India Looking Abroad For Intermediate Jet Trainers

HJT-36 Sitara
Saddled with obsolete training aircraft, the Indian air force (IAF) has decided to snub the long-delayed, indigenous HJT-36 Sitara intermediate jet trainer (IJT) and purchase new trainers from abroad.
The IAF has issued a request for information for a lightweight, single-engine, twin-seat trainer with a secondary light attack capability, an official at India’s ministry of defense says.
“We have asked the vendors to provide cost details for the direct purchase of IJTs for batch sizes of 10, 20, 30 and 50 aircraft,” he says.

The RFI comes weeks after Indian Defense Minister A.K. Antony said the much-delayed Sitara IJT is likely to be operational this year. “All efforts are being made by the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. [HAL] for achieving the final operational clearance by December 2014,” Antony had said.

The IAF has been reluctant to exercise the option of buying an IJT since the state-run HAL has been developing a trainer for the force for the last 15 years.
“We are forced to take this decision as deadlines for getting the operational clearance for Sitara have been breached on a number of occasions,” the IAF official says.
The RFI for new a IJT states that the aircraft should be capable of operating from airfields at least 2000 meters above mean sea level (AMSL), with a goal of 3,000 meters. Submissions are due on April 4.
The official says the aircraft should be capable of carrying at least 1000 kg (2,200 lb.) of external load and be equipped with a minimum of five hard points, with each stressed to carry at least 300 kg.
“The aircraft should be capable of employing a lightweight gun-pod with adequate ammunition for at least five seconds of firing time [and] reusable rocket pods, and [should] be able to carry at least [four 250-kg bombs],” he says.
IAF also has made it clear that potential vendors will be put through a trial evaluation in India on a “no cost, no commitment” basis and a staff evaluation would be carried out to analyze the results of the field evaluation before shortlisting the equipment for introduction into service.
The deal will include costs for comprehensive annual maintenance support, including all spares program for supporting operations of 10, 20 and 30 aircraft at a utilization rate of 30 hr. per aircraft per month.
The lack of trainer aircraft to train new IAF recruits has been affecting the force, with new pilots often unable to handle highly demanding fighters like MiG-21s. Almost 40% of the 1,050 crashes recorded by the IAF since 1970, for instance, have been attributed to “human error.”
The HJT-36 was to have entered service with the IAF in June 2012 as a Stage-II trainer, replacing the aging HAL Kiran Mk. 1 and Mk. 2 in service. However, in 2011, flight-testing suffered a major setback when a Sitara crashed in stall testing.
HAL Kiran
Kiran Mk-I was due to be phased out this year but its lifespan has been extended by four years. Maintenance of Kiran Mk II has become a major issue because no support for its Opheus engine was available.
“IJT is a delayed project, I admit… We have faced major delays in getting the new Russian engines for IJT. These issues have been sorted out…Now, the aircraft’s development is in “advanced stages of certification with more than 800 test flights completed so far,” HAL Chairman R.K. Tyagi told Aviation Week recently.
Indian fighter pilots are trained in three stages: first on a basic trainer aircraft, then on an IJT and finally on an advanced jet trainer.
While the IAF does its basic training in the 26 Pilatus PC-7 Mk. 2s, out of a total order for 75 aircraft; the advanced jet trainer role is filled by BAE Systems Hawk 132s, which HAL is making under licenced production in India.
HAL also is trying to develop its own HTT-40 turboprop for the basic trainer role.
As per estimates, with 240 new trainee pilots joining the service every year, IAF requires 181 basic trainers, 85 IJTs and 106 advanced jet trainers. India has already inducted the bulk of the 123 Hawks ordered for its air force and naval pilots in an overall project worth around 160 billion rupees ($2.8 billion).
The IAF has signed two contracts with HAL for delivery of 12 limited-series-production IJT aircraft and 73 series-production IJT aircraft. HAL has confirmed the delivery of aircraft in a phased manner after initial operational clearance is granted. HAL was approved to receive 1.80 billion rupees in July 1999 to develop the aircraft and build two flying prototypes.

Poland signs M-346 contract

Poland’s defence ministry has signed a €280 million ($383 million) contract with Alenia Aermacchi to acquire the Italian manufacturer’s M-346 advanced/lead-in fighter trainer.
Staged on 27 February at Deblin air base – the type’s future home with the Polish air force – the signing event followed Warsaw’s formal confirmation of the M-346’s selection earlier in the month, after the successful completion of in-country verification flights.

Poland will acquire eight aircraft under the deal, which also includes personnel training and in-service support services, plus the provision of ground-based training equipment including simulators. The nation also has the option to later increase its purchase through the addition of a further four aircraft.

Selected last December following a competition also involving the BAE Systems Hawk and the Korea Aerospace Industries/Lockheed Martin T-50, Poland’s M-346s will provide a modern replacement for some of its air force’s aged PZL Mielec-produced TS-11 Iskras. The service’s current inventory includes 38 of the latter type, says Flightglobal’s MiliCAS database.
Alenia Aermacchi’s order book for the M-346 now includes a combined 56 examples for the air forces of Israel (30), Italy (6), Poland (8) and Singapore (12).

India hopes to put 272 Russia’s Su-30MKI fighters into service by 2018

The Indian Air Force’s backlog of orders for Russia’s Su-30MKI fighters, makes up 272. The fighters are assembled by India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) that has received a license from Russia’s Sukhoi aircraft maker.

“Since India received 50 assembled planes from Russia, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited had assembled another 134 fighters in India,” a source close to the Indian company told Itar-Tass on Monday. “We hope to form 14 squadrons of Su-30MKI fighters by 2018. By this time we will have 272 such planes in service.”

After this India might enlarge its backlog of orders, if the Sukhoi/HAL fifth generation fighter project or introduction into service of India’s own light fighter Tejas were delayed, the source said.
The Indian Air Force is expected to get its first squadron of Tejas in 2015 and the second one – in 2017. The project to build India’s Tejas fighters began in 1983. The plane made its maiden flight in January 2011.

Russia’s Air Force to Get New Flight Simulators

The Russian Air Force will receive nearly 20 new flight simulators later this year for training fighter and ground-attack crews, a military spokesperson said Wednesday. Training simulators allow crews to practice maneuvers in conditions as close as possible to actual flight, including group formations and combat exercises.

According to spokesman Colonel Igor Klimov, the trainers are to simulate a number of new types of aircraft now entering service, including new variants of Sukhoi and MiG fighters and ground-attack aircraft, as well as the Mi-8 AMTSh transport and Kamov Ka-52 attack helicopters. The air force plans to equip about 15 air units with the simulators, Klimov said.

Pakistan buys a squadron of F-16 at third hand. Sounds familiar?

Pakistan will buy a squadron of F -16 fighter jets at third hand. This news looks up to a point with what happened in Romania in the last months.
The difference is that the Pakistan Air Force are using this type of plane for years and with the 13 jets bought from Jordan will reach a total of 76. A round number.
The planes that will be sold by Jordan to Pakistanis were received from the United States and are the type A / B. Some voices say that they have passed through the MLU programme, others say, on the contrary , they haven’t been upgraded .

For those 13 aircraft, Pakistan will pay 300 million dollars, something less than 220 million euros.

In case you forgot , Romania pays for the 12 F -16s purchased at third hand from Portugal about 670 million euros. Of course, in this price are included training programs, some spare parts and weapons. But the difference between 670 million and 220 million (400 million, if you ‘re too lazy to calculate ) is a bit too high, no?
And you remember the statements of former minister of Defense? Do you remember how he said that the market for used F -16 is “dead” and that we are lucky to find those planes in Portugal ?
Well, you must know that Jordan allready has covered the sale of jets to Pakistan. They will buy 20 F -16 from the Netherlands! At second hand, of course.

First mass production J-16 conducts test flight

China’s first mass production J-16 fighter — with the serial number 1602 — conducted its first test flight recently, reports the Hong Kong-based Wen Wei Po, citing a photo revealed on a Chinese military enthusiast website.
The difference between the mass production J-16 and the prototype aircraft with the serial number 1601 is that the former does not have an airspeed tube. The number 0102 indicated on the engine intake of the 1602 also shows that the number of J-16s produced may be limited, the paper said. Meanwhile, it is possible that units of PLA Air Force or Navy Air Force may already be equipped with the some of the advanced fighters, designed based on the Chinese J-11, for operational tests.

After the Zhuhai Air Show in southern China’s Guangdong province in 2012, a number of Western military analysts said that China has devoted massive resources to developing the precision attack capability of its air force. Unlike the J-11, which was mainly designed for aerial combat, the J-16 can now carry munitions and missiles for ground attack missions, Wen Wei Po said. The fighter is also capable of carrying more ground attack munitions than any other type of fighter in China.

In addition, the J-16 is also equipped with active electronically scanned array radar and a helmet mounted display and sight system. This new fighter-bomber is likely to fill a gap between China’s fourth-generation fighter and fifth-generation stealth fighters in the future, the paper said.

Ayotte: Decision to cut A-10 ‘serious mistake’

Calling the Air Force’s decision to retire the A-10 combat jet a “serious mistake,” Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., is pledging to fight the retirement in Congress.
“The Pentagon’s decision to recommend the early retirement of the A-10 before a viable replacement achieves full operational capability is a serious mistake based on poor analyses and bad assumptions,” Ayotte said in a statement. “Instead of cutting its best and least expensive close air support aircraft in an attempt to save money, the Air Force could achieve similar savings elsewhere in its budget without putting our troops at increased risk.”

“As a member of the Armed Services Committee, I plan to work with my colleagues to prevent the Pentagon from making this serious mistake that I believe could cost the lives of our brave servicemen and women in future conflicts,” the statement concluded.

Ayotte has been at the forefront of the fight over the A-10’s future, one that has played out in a very public arena over the last six months.
The A-10 is a much beloved, if aging, platform that performs the close-air support (or “CAS”) mission for troops on the ground. It has been rumored to be on the budget chopping block for months. Air Force officials contend that the CAS mission can be done by other platformsand cutting the Warthog could free up desperately needed funds for other programs.
That line of thinking was echoed in comments made Monday by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, who announced the plan to retire the A-10 fleet in a preview of the Pentagon’s 2015 budget request.
“Retiring the A-10 fleet saves $3.5 billion over five years and accelerates the Air Force’s long-standing modernization plan – which called for replacing the A-10s with the more capable F-35 in the early 2020s,” Hagel said, according to a Pentagon transcript.
“The ‘Warthog’ is a venerable platform, and this was a tough decision. But the A-10 is a 40-year-old single-purpose airplane originally designed to kill enemy tanks on a Cold War battlefield. It cannot survive or operate effectively where there are more advanced aircraft or air defenses,” he said.
“Significant savings are only possible through eliminating the entire fleet, because of the fixed cost of maintaining the support apparatus associated with that aircraft,” Hagel concluded. “Keeping a smaller number of A-10s would only delay the inevitable while forcing worse trade-offs elsewhere.”
But defenders of the A-10, including Ayotte, say other platforms are inefficient and would put troops on the ground in harm’s way.
Ayotte, whose husband Joe was an A-10 pilot, has been the most vocal protector of the plane in Congress. In September, she placed a hold the nomination of Deborah Lee James, President Barack Obama’s nominee for secretary of the Air Force. Ayotte later released that hold, leading to James’ confirmation, but continued to keep a close eye on the program.
As part of the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act, Ayotte and her allies inserted language stating the service “may not retire, prepare to retire, or place in storage” any A-10 during the entirety of calendar year 2014. (A-10s that the service planned to retire as of April 9, 2013, will be allowed to retire.)
The New Hampshire Republican later sent a letter to James accusing the Air Force of violating that law via a plan to halt needed upgrades to the A-10. In a Feb. 12 response, Secretary James directed those upgrades to continue.
“As we continue with FY15 budget deliberations, I look forward to discussing the A-10 with you at greater length,” James noted in her response to Ayotte’s claims. Given the senator’s statement, that should be a discussion that we’ll hear a lot more of in the coming months.