Philippines Defense Update

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    • Egypt interested in buying 24 MiG-35s from Russia Apr 22, 2014Russia has acknowledged an Egyptian request to procure a squadron of MiG-35 advanced fighter aircraft, to include up to 24 fighter jets at a cost of US$3 billion. Share this:SharePrintEmailStumbleUponRedditDiggTumblrTwitterPocket
    • Norwegian Battle-Lab Drive M-113 Via Oculus Rift Augmented Reality Goggles Apr 22, 2014The Norwegian Army is evaluating the use of commercial off the shelf (COTS) augmented reality goggles, enabling troops to look through the armour protecting their vehicles. In a recent test troops were able to drive an M-113 armoured personnel carrier using the Oculus Rift gaming-goggles. Share this:SharePrintEmailStumbleUponRedditDiggTumblrTwitterPocket
    • Israel opens military service to the Christian minority Apr 22, 2014In a new program to make information and voluntary military drafting options available to the Christian population of Israel, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced it will provide all potential Christian recruits voluntary enlistment forms. The forms will proactively be sent to all youth eligible for recruiting with the intention of making the IDF more accessible for this population, giving clear and coherent information regarding the voluntary enlistment process, and the different service options they may chose including combat service. The recent change in protocol was implemented following IDF contacts with Israeli Christian community leaders, and with the authorization of the Minister of Defense, Mr. Moshe (Bogie) Ya’alon, and the IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Benjamin (Benny) Gantz. Since the service of the Christian population in Israel is not obligatory by law, potential recruiters are not required to respond to the invitation. Currently approximately 100 Christians serve in various positions and units in the IDF. Other minorities regularly serving in the IDF include Druze, Cherkess and Bedouins. “We are actively working towards integrating all populations and see this as a very important step in that direction.” Head of the Human Resource Planning and Management Division, Brigadier General Gadi Agmon said, “This change will constitute another step in the integration and connection of the Christian population with the IDF. In recent months the IDF has begun implementing a tougher enlistment campaign among orthodox Jews, which were sofar exempt of military service. As part of this campaign, Knesset (Israel parliament) members demanded that non Jewish population, particularly Arabs (Moslems and Christians alike), will also be required to serve military or national service. Share this:SharePrintEmailStumbleUponRedditDiggTumblrTwitterPocket
    • Tension is mounting along Israel-Gaza border Apr 21, 2014Tension along the Israel-Gaza border has mounted in recent days, after a series of attacks from the Gaza Strip, On Sunday April 20th an IED was activated against Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers patrolling the security fence along the southern Gaza Strip. 12 hours later; on 07:15 Monday, Palestinian militants fired a Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) at an IDF patrol along the security fence in the same area. Share this:SharePrintEmailStumbleUponRedditDiggTumblrTwitterPocket
    • US, Yemen Launch Large Scale Attack against AQAP Terrorist sites in Yemen Apr 20, 2014A number of al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP) militants were killed when an air strike hit their training camp in a remote mountainous region of southern Yemen on Saturday and Sunday, April 19-20, 2014 – the Yemeni defense ministry said. AQAP has been regarded by Washington as the jihadist network’s most dangerous affiliate. According to unofficial reports the April 20 attack comprised three separate strikes that were directed at a terrorist training camp in al-Mahfad, killing up to 25. On the 19 April attack ten AQAP personnel and three civilians were also killed on another drone attack; intelligence report said they were planning attacks on civil and military targets in al-Bayda province, in southern Yemen. Share this:SharePrintEmailStumbleUponRedditDiggTumblrTwitterPocket
    • US Navy Requests Industry Proposals for Carrier-Operable Drones Apr 18, 2014Future drone attacks could be more pervasive and less constrained by access permissions and host country support, once the US Navy goal to integrate unmanned systems capabilities on board its aircraft carriers is fulfilled. Current operations, conducted by the CIA and Air Force from land-based sites are constrained to the availability, permission and security provided by host nations, bases that should be located relatively close to the target and, hence, may compromise operational security and operator safety. New generations of drones to be operated by the US Navy from aircraft carriers could introduce a new capability, unbound by those restrictions. Following a year-long delay the U.S. Navy released a draft request for proposal (RFP) for the Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) aircraft on April 17, 2014. The draft release was delayed due to disagreements within the Navy, about the technical specifications for the future unmanned aircraft. The final RFP is expected later this year. The new carrier-operated drone is scheduled to enter service in the early 2021. Four prime contractors are participating in the competition – General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. All four have already been contracted to carry out preliminary studies of a UCLASS type drone and are likely to submit their proposals for the final design. The current draft RFP calls bidders to submit proposals for design, development, assembly, delivery, testing and integration of the air vehicles segment of the UCLASS system. Other elements are likely to include sensors, datalinks, command and control systems. The US Navy made history last year when the X-47B became the first unmanned air vehicle to launch off the CVN-77 George W. Bush aircraft carrier’s catapult and perform an arresting gear landing. In those cases the X-47B was alone on the carrier. Moving forward, the Navy plans to ...
    • Japan’s stealth fighter demonstrator on schedule for first flight this Year Apr 18, 2014 Japan’s defense ministry’s Technical Research and Development Institute (TRDI) is planning to unveil the country’s advanced technology demonstrator-experimental (ATD-X) plane within months; the lightweight stealth aircraft is scheduled to make its maiden flight later this year, Japan’s defense minister Itsunori Onodera has confirmed. ATD-X is positioned to become Japan’s next generation stealth fighter, replacing 94 locally produced F-2 that entered service in the year 2000. Speaking to the foreign affairs and defense committee of Japan’s upper house, Onodera said the indigenous fighter demonstrator is few months behind schedule. Powered by two afterburning turbofans each developing 11,023 pounds each (5,000kg), the aircraft is designed for maximum takeoff weight of 28,659 pounds (about 13 tonnes). With a wingspan of 9 meters (29.85 feet), and overall length of 14.174 meters (46.5 ft) the ATD-X (dubbed ‘Shinshin’) will be smaller than the F-35 and mush smaller, compared to Chinese or Russian stealth fighters. Mitsubishi is the main contractor for the ATD-X with Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries (IHI) providing the XF5-1 afterburning turbofan for the plane. The same team has also produced a licensed version of the Boeing F-15J and its P&W F100 power plant. The two companies are also producing the F-2, the Japanese F-16 variant powered by a GE F110 engine. The companies will also share significant work sharing in the production of Japan’s 42 F-35As. Through the 2000s the project evolved under research studies with the formal demonstration flight program launched in 2009. The program is on schedule to begin flight tests in 2014. Mitsubishi said that based on the tests results it will be ready for full scale development of a future stealth fighter by 2016. The Shinshin (spirit of the heart in Japanese) will help mature advanced airframe, propulsion designs and manufacturing technologies necessary for the production of future fighters. The general design dates back ...
    • After NATO withdrawal Afghanistan could slide into a regional proxy conflict Apr 18, 2014With the political situation in Afghanistan in flux and international forces due to leave the country by the end of the year, the debate in neighboring Pakistan is focusing on prospects for increased cooperation with Afghanistan and Iran. Sharon Behn of the Voice of America reports. In just eight months the last of the international forces are due to leave Afghanistan, ending a 13 year battle against the Taliban and other militants. Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country. Pakistani Senator and Chairman of the Defense Committee Mushahid Hussain Sayed recalls the last proxy war played out in Afghanistan between Pakistan and Iran, which destabilized the region in the 1990s. “Pakistan and Iran must avoid making the mistakes of the past. We tried to overreach, we had outsized ambitions, the times have changed, there are new realities, in Afghanistan the elections have shown that there is a supremacy of the ballot over the bullet,” he said. But because of the competing and overlapping interests of the four main regional players — Pakistan, Iran, India and China — as well as the United States, it is unclear if a strong, coherent regional consensus will emerge any time soon. Rifaat Hussain, a professor of public policy at the National University of Sciences and Technology, is not optimistic. “That you are a contiguous state, you want to implement non-interference, non-intervention doctrines, but the developments inside Afghanistan, particularly the growing influence of your rival powers, does not allow you to exercise that option. So non-interference is not a viable option in my judgment,” said Hussain. But regional dynamics are changing. A lot will depend on the strategic decisions taken by the new political leadership in Iran, Pakistan, China and after the ongoing elections in India ...
    • North Korean mini-Drones are Made in China Apr 18, 2014According to ‘Alert 5‘ news blog, these drones are commercial off-the-shelf SKY-09P models made in China, by Taiyuan Navigation Technology. Based on the manufacturer’s data this mini-drone is launched by a catapult and retrieved by parachute. It can carry a payload of 3 kg on a 90 minute mission, controlled in flight over a distance of 30-40 km.  The company also offers a larger variant, SKY-19 that can fly for two hours and carry 5kg of payload. The mini drones operated by North Korea over South Korea are the SKY 09 made in China by the Taiyuan Navigation Technology company. The models operated by North Korea was equipped with a muffler, to reduce the drone’s acoustic signature. Read more on the drone incursions over South Korea Share this:SharePrintEmailStumbleUponRedditDiggTumblrTwitterPocket
    • GAO tells Air Force: Improve Service Conditions for Drone Pilots Apr 17, 2014 Since 2008 the US Air Force has more than tripled the number of its active-duty pilots flying Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) – including General Atomics MQ-1 Predator, MQ-9 Reaper and Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk, as well as a number of operational types that are still secretive ‘black’ programs. Due to the increase in demand, and introduction of more capable platforms carrying multiple payloads, RPA pilots have had a significant increase in workload, and insufficient training, a report by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) determined. The expanded use of RPA took these platforms beyond the traditional intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) role they were originally designed for. For the past decade the MQ-1 and the MQ-9 are sharing the burden in combat missions worldwide, outfitted with missiles to strike targets, target designators to mark targets for manned aircraft and sensors able to locate the positions of improvised explosive devices and insurgents activity. Since 2010 the Air Force is building an RPA force able to sustain 65 Combat Air Patrols (CAP) anywhere in the world; to operate this formidable airpower the air force will require more than 1300 pilots. Today, about 40 percent of these pilots are are qualified to fly manned aircraft. By the year 2022 the Air Force intends to raise a cadre manned almost entirely by dedicated RPA pilots. Unit commanders and some RPA pilots stated that the high pace of operations and demand for RPA capabilities limited their units’ time to train for the various mission sets that RPA units are required to perform The Air Force spends considerably less to train RPA pilots than it does to train manned-aircraft pilots. While training a pilot for through Undergraduate Pilot Training course may cost $557,000 in average, training an RPA pilot costs about $65,000 to reach a parallel proficiency ...




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