Daily Archives: Sep 20, 2011

This photo, released today by the Pentagon, shows a member of a security force securing the Dahla Dam in the Kandahar province. Spc. Marshall carries what seems to be a backpack carried IED jammer, one we haven’t spotted before…

U.S. Army Spc. Timothy Marshall, a member of the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team's security force, scans his surroundings through the scope of his weapon during a visit to the Dahla Dam in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, Sept. 20, 2011. Force members provided security the following day during a dam assessment with the Canadian International Development Agency. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Sean Martin)

 

    The Raytheon AIM-9X Block II Sidewinder air/air missile has passed ‘Milestone C’ on June 24, 2011 – clearing the program for Low Rate Initial Production. Successful test firing at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division in China Lake, Calif. as part of a developmental testing of the missile that began in September 2010, are leading to AIM-9X Block II missiles toward final operational testing in 2012. Raytheon has delivered more than 3,600 AIM-9X Block I missiles to eight countries and is on contract to deliver missiles to two additional countries.

    F-16 launches an AIM-9X Sidewinder over te Eglin weapon test range. Photo: Raytheon

    An Air Force F-15E Pilot checks an AIM-9X Sidewinder missile on a preflight inspection. Photo: Raytheon

    The Block II version of the Sidewinder AIM-9X is the latest version of the missile, and the first short range guided missile adapted for the latest fifth generation fighters. Among the improvements implemented in the new version are improved seeker performance and addition of a two-way data-link facilitating ‘Lock On AFter Launch’ (LOAL) capability, enabling the missile to operate from internal carriage systems of the F-22A Raptor and F-35 Lightning II stealth fighters. Other improvements include infrared counter-countermeasures, enhanced kinematics. According to the U.S. Navy, the Block II Relying on homing on a thermal image of the target, the new missile has ability to operate with immunity against modern threat radar counter measures such as Digital RF Memory Jammers, Towed Decoys, and Stealth airframes.

    Following ‘Milestone C’ approval, Raytheon was authorized to enter low rate initial production. The company is expected to begin production of more than 5,000 operational AIM-9X Block II rounds for U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force over the life of the program. Following the recent tests, is expected to be cleared for operational deployment in 2012. To date, more than 4,500 AIM-9X Block I missiles and 175 AIM-9X Block II captive air training missiles and test rounds have been fielded.

    A Navy pilot inspects the AIM-9X mounted on the wingtip of his F-18. Photo: Raytheon

    Sidewinder’s Surface Attack Capability

    The U.S. Air Force has evaluated the use of AIM-9X and AIM-9X Block I missiles against surface targets, employing the missile’s imaging sensor as a surface target seeker. The first test was conducted in March 2007, as a U.S. Air Force F-15C fired an AIM-9X and destroyed a fast-moving armored personnel carrier. In April 2008, a U.S. Air Force F-16 launched an AIM-9X and sank a maneuvering boat. This was repeated in September 2009 with an AIM-9X fired from a U.S. Air Force F-16C fighter sinking a rapidly moving target boat in the Gulf of Mexico. However, this surface attack capability tested again with the Block I version in March and May 2010 delivered mixed results. The tests included seven captive carry flights and six live fire tests, and achieved 66% success rate. Four missiles scored direct hits of the ground mobile targets, one hit a different target than fired against, and one lost track on the selected target.

      The U.S. Air Force plans to resume flight operations of its 170 F-22A Raptor fleet after four months stand down. The commander of Air Combat Command directed a stand-down of the fleet May 3 as a safety precaution, following 12 separate reported incidents where pilots experienced hypoxia-like symptoms (oxygen depravation). The incidents occurred over a three-year period beginning in April 2008. In November 2010 an Air Force pilot Capt. Jeff “Bong” Haney was killed on a crash caused by a malfunction associated with the aircraft engine’s bleed air system, that caused the jet’s Environmental Control System (ECS) and On-Board Oxygen Generating System (OBOGS) to automatically shut down. According to the Air Force, investigators rulled out Hypoxia as a cause of this crash.

      F-22 fleet to resume flight operations. U.S. Air Force Photo by Derk Blanset

      The Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley and Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz have recently approved an implementation plan developed by Air Combat Command, implementing several risk mitigation actions, to include rigorous inspections, training on life support systems, and continued data collection. As part of the process, the entire Raptor fleet will undergo an extensive inspection of the life support systems before returning to flight, with follow-on daily inspections, officials said. The aircraft is capable and authorized to fly above 50,000 feet. Pilots will use additional protective equipment and undergo baseline physiological tests. The return-to-fly process will begin with instructor pilots and flight leads regaining their necessary proficiency, then follow with other F-22 wingmen.

      “We now have enough insight from recent studies and investigations that a return to flight is prudent and appropriate,” Schwartz said. “We’re managing the risks with our aircrews, and we’re continuing to study the F-22′s oxygen systems and collect data to improve its performance.”

      Prior to the stand down, ACC officials convened a Class E Safety Investigation Board (SIB) in January 2011 to look into hypoxia-related reports. At the same time, a Hypoxia Deep-Dive Integrated Product Team began an in-depth study on safety issues involving aircraft oxygen generation systems. The Air Force Scientific Advisory Board has been commissioned in June 2011 to continue the oxygen generation study concurrent with the ongoing SIB.

        Photo: Aeronautics

        Azerbaijan Takes delivery of 60 Israeli UAVs

        Sept 20, 2011: Azerbaijan’s armed forces will take delivery of 60 Orbiter and Aerostar unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) by the end of this year, the Azerbaijan Press Agency (APA) said on Monday quoting military sources.

        Photo: MDA

        U.S. Delays SM-3 Block 2A Development

        Sept 20, 2011: The development of the Standard Missile SM-3 Block 2A ballistic missile defense interceptor could be delayed by two years, due to setbacks in warhead testing, the U.S. has notified japan on the delays last week. Japan and the U.S. are jointly developing the missile, originally planned for deployment around the year 2018. The U.S. is developing the kinetic interceptor and guidance system for the new missile while Japan focuses on the nose cone and rocket motor.

        Su-30MK for belarus

        Ex-Indian Su-30Ks Delivered to Belarus

        Sept 20, 2011: Eighteen Su-30K fighter jets delivered to India as part of the first production batch were recently returned to Russia. Representing a downgraded avionic standard, compared to the full fledges Su-30MKI, Russia agreed to replace the aircraft for production versions of the Su-30MKI, in a ‘buy back’ transaction. Interested in refurbishing these pre-owned fighter planes, to the Su-30KN standard, Belarus has offered about $15 million per aircraft to get these fighter planes. Sofar ten aircraft have arrived in Belarus for refurbishment with the remaining eight to arrive by November this year.

        Malaysia Interested in Joining the U.K. Type 26 Frigate Program

        Sept 20, 2011: Malaysia is considering joining Britain in developing the Type 26 ‘Global Combat Ship‘ new generation frigates. The U.K. is seeking international partners for the Type 26 program, offloading some of the financial pressure associated with the development costs. Brazil, India, Turkey and Australia have also expressed interest in participating in the program. A ship with a displacement of 6,000 tons Type 26 is supposed to replace Type 22 and Type 23 frigates and is expected to form the backbone of the UK Navy’s fleet from about 2020.

        Photo: Lockheed Martin

        Singapore’s HIMARS Unit Operational

        Sept 20, 2011: The first High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) unit of the Singapore Army artillery was announced operational earlier this month, at the base of the battery at Khatib Camp, Singapore. The HIMARS, which will be operated by Bravo battery, 23 SA, provides artillery forces with precision fire power, enhanced mobility and advanced networking capabilities.

        Washington to upgrade Taiwan's F-16A/Bs

        U.S. Proposes Upgrades for Taiwans’ F-16s

        Sept 20, 2011: After dragging Taiwan’s request for 66 new F-16C/Ds for five years, the U.S. administration seems to agree to upgrade the island state’s 140 F-16A/B fighters. The U.S. government is obligated under the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 to provide for Taiwan’s defense. Backing Taipei has been the thorniest bilateral issue between Washington and Beijing. With China becoming a superpower, no other country is supplying the island for fear of angering Beijing. France and the Netherlands are among countries that have suffered economic and diplomatic retaliation for having armed Taiwan in the past.

        Photo: USFK

        Lack of Spares Render South Korean Patriot Systems Inoperable

        Sept 20, 2011: Part of the South Korean air-defense defense’ Patriot batteries have been suspended for months due to malfunction in their radars. Seoul inducted the Patriot systems in 2009 as part of the establishment of a new air and missile defense system capable of intercepting ballistic and cruise missiles. For the fire units Seoul acquired the PAC-3 missiles from the U.S., matched with radars of PAC-2 GEM+ systems acquired from German military surplus. Part of the problem is the low levels of spare parts maintained for these radars; in July 2011 only 10 percent of the spares were available, extending repairs of Patriot radar failures over several months. (Chosun)

        BrahMos for Vietnam?

        India Offers the BrahMos to Vietnam

        Sept 20, 2011: India and Vietnam are discussing a possible sale of the BrahMos supersonic anti-ship missile developed jointly under a Indo-Russian cooperation. Indian sources confirmed Vietnam is one of 15 countries approved by the Indian government for the missile’s export.

        Thailand Undecided about German Type 206 Submarines

        Sept 20, 2011: Thailand’s defense minister denied the approval of 7.5 billion Bhat for the acquisition of six Type 206A submarines from German Navy surplus. The Thai defense security committee recommended evaluating other options for buying submarines from Russia, China and South Korea. The German Navy’s  offer was attractive in terms of cost, availability and operability as training platforms but the deadline set by the Germans for September 30 was too short for the Thai response. (Bangkok Post)


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