20 Desember 2014

Lift-Off for Balloon Radar to Watch Over Singapore

20 Desember 2014

A moored aerostat on the ground. (photo : Sing Mindef)

SINGAPORE - A giant helium-filled balloon will float above Singapore from early next year to watch over the Republic's skies and shores day and night.

Known as an aerostat, the balloon will be tethered to the ground and house a surveillance radar that can spot hostile aerial and sea threats from as far as 200km away. These include straying civilian light aircraft, small boats and even mobile missile launchers.

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said on Tuesday that the 55m-long blimp will be deployed from inside a military camp, adding that the balloon will "improve our surveillance capabilities significantly". He however did not disclose the camp's location.

Dr Ng said that the aerostat will complement Singapore's existing early warning and information-gathering systems that are facing increasing constraints, due mainly to the construction of taller buildings that prevent them "from establishing a clear line of sight".

"In order to see far, you have to be very high with no buildings to block you...Our ground-based radar systems can only operate above high-rise buildings," said Dr Ng at his ministry's PRoductivity and Innovation in Daily Efforts (PRIDE) Day awards ceremony held at Nanyang Polytechnic .

"Airborne radars can go around the clock, but that is costly and manpower intensive."

It will be cheaper to launch and operate the aerostat. Dr Ng said the balloon will save about $29 million in operating costs.

Operated by the Republic of Singapore Air Force, the aerostat can hover at a height of 2000ft, or a 200-storey building, and transmit detailed data to the ground immediately. The information will also be shared with other security agencies such as the Police Coast Guard.

Aerostats have been used by law enforcement agencies around in the world since the 1980s. They include the US Customs and Border Protection Agency which uses aerostats to scan the skies for suspicious aircraft activity.


Alenia Offers M-346 Master to Thailand

20 Desember 2014

Alenia Aermacchi M-346 Master (photo : Avionis)

Alenia Aermacchi is offering its M-346 Master advanced jet trainer aircraft to Thailand as a replacement for its ageing Aero Vodochody L-39 Albatros platforms, the company told IHS Jane's on 19 December.

No further details of the offer were disclosed, except to say that the offer was being made in the context of the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) Advanced Jet Trainer/Light Attack Aircraft programme. The RTAF currently fields 30 L-39 aircraft.

The tandem twin-seat, twin-engined, M-346 can operate both as a trainer and a light attack platform, making it well suited to the RTAF's requirements. It is provisioned for nine hardpoints (four under each wing and one on the centreline for an optional canon pod), and can carry a range of 'dumb' and 'smart' munitions such as Mk 82/83/84 un-guided bombs, GBU-12/16 and Opher Mk 82 guided bombs, Durandal anti-runway dispensers, BRD-4 or LAU-7/LAU-5002/LAU-32 rocket pods, AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, AGM-65 Maverick air-to-surface missiles, and Brimstone anti-armour/low collateral missiles.


Five Navy Helicopters Sold to Peru

20 Desember 2014

Five Seasprite helicopters sold to Peru (photo : RNZAF)

Five Royal New Zealand Navy Seasprite helicopters have been sold to Peru, Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee announced today.

“Our recent purchase of eight new, more sophisticated Seasprite helicopters meant the older model Seasprites were available for sale and a deal has been struck with the Peruvian Government for them to buy them for their Navy,” Mr Brownlee says.

As well as the helicopters, Peru is buying spares and the Maverick missiles which are used with the helicopters.   

New Zealand has worked closely with a number of parties to make the sale happen, including a Canadian Government entity, the Canadian Commercial Corporation, which is acting as agent for the Peruvian Government, and the United States Government, which has had to approve the export from New Zealand of the American manufactured helicopters and missiles.

Mr Brownlee says a good price of $30 million has been achieved for the helicopters.  After the deduction of some costs, the remainder will return to the Defence Capital Plan. 

The first of the five Seasprites is scheduled to be shipped from New Zealand after three of the new replacement helicopters arrive in January.  Subsequent shipments have been timed to ensure the Navy is able to introduce the new helicopters into service before all the current Seasprite helicopters leave New Zealand.

The five Seasprites have been used on the two frigates, TE KAHA and TE MANA, and the multi-role ship, CANTERBURY.


BHIC Bags RM3.7m Weapons Maintenance Contract from RMN

20 Desember 2014

Kapal Diraja (KD) Kasturi and KD Lekiu (photo : Watan)

PETALING JAYA: Boustead Heavy Industries Corp Bhd's (BHIC) subsidiary, BHIC Defence TechServices Sdn Bhd (BDTS) has been awarded a weapons maintenance contract worth RM3.7million by the Royal Malaysian Navy.

The contract is for the maintenance and supply of spare parts for the 76/62MM Oto Melara Gun, the 40/70MM Oto Breda Gun, the 30MM Oto Breda Gun and the 102MM Light Decoy Launcher for the Royal Malaysian Navy.

A formal contract between the Ministry of Defense, Malaysia and BDTS will be signed at a later date, effective for three years.

BHIC's managing director and executive deputy chairman, Tan Sri Ahmad Ramli Mohd Nor said in a statement yesterday: "The defence industry is vital in defending the nation and maintenance of critical assets is an essential component of that objective. We are pleased to be entrusted with this vital task."


China's L-15 Falcon Makes Thailand Procurement Shortlist

20 Desember 2014

Chengdu L-15 (photo : Xu Zheng)

China's Hongdu L-15 Falcon has made the shortlist of new advanced jet trainers and light attack aircraft to be acquired by the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF), according to the London-based military news publication IHS Jane's.

The L-15 will be competing with America's Textron AirLand Scorpion, Russia's Yakovlev Yak-130, Italy's Alenia Aermacchi M-346 and Korea Aerospace Industries' TA-50 to become one of the four aircraft purchases approved by the Thai government to replace its ageing fleet of Aero L-39ZA Albatros aircraft.

RTAF chief Treetos Sonjaeng reportedly announced the 3.7 billion Thai baht (US$113 million) program on Dec. 13, adding that a decision on the procurement is expected next year.

The main reason for the program is said to be because Thailand lacks the spare parts to maintain its 40 or so L-39ZAs, originally acquired from the Czech Republic during the 1990s. The other factor is the need for a modern platform to expand the RTAF's fleet of 12 JAS-39 "Gripen" fighters delivered between 2011 and 2013, the report added.

Thailand does not have the ability to manufacture its own aircraft, but is hoping that a foreign manufacturer will be able to transfer the necessary technology and knowledge to allow it to maintain and repair the aircraft domestically.

In addition to advanced jet trainers and light attack aircraft, Thailand is also planning to acquire more Gripen fighters and Eurocopter EC725 Caracals, long-range tactical transport helicopters manufactured by Airbus, beginning next year. New fixed-wing and rotary-wing transport aircraft are also said to be needed to replace its old fleet of Lockheed C-130 Hercules and Boeing CH-47 Chinooks.

(Want China Times)

19 Desember 2014

Three S-211 Jet Pilots Selected for F/A-50 Training in South Korea

19 Desember 2014

Three S-211 pilots selected for training in South Korea (photo : pdff)

MANILA (PNA) -- Three veteran SIAI-Marchetti S-211 jet pilots have been selected by the Philippine Air Force (PAF) for training in South Korea to fly the South Korean made F/A-50 "Fighting Eagle."

PAF Air Defense Wing director for operations Col. Ernesto Miguel Okol said on Wednesday these pilots will be sent to Seoul by March to begin the three-month long training which will end in May.

The F/A-50 selectees all have the rank of major and have more than 1,000 hours of S-211 jet flight time, Okol said but declined to name them "for security reasons."

During their three-month training, the Filipino pilots will fly the Mach 1.5 capable "Fighting Eagle" jet aircraft.

This is considerably faster than the S-211 which has only a top speed of Mach 0.8 (around 460 miles per hour).

The pilots will use the newly-built jets from Korea Aerospace Industries for their flight training, Okol said.

"Suffice it to say, we'll be back to supersonic again," Okol, a former Northrop F-5 "Tiger" jet fighter pilot himself, added.

The PAF's last seven F-5s, out of a total of 35, were retired from the PAF service in 2005 due to airframe cracks, high fuel costs and difficulty in finding spare parts.

The latter jet aircraft has a top speed of Mach 1.6.

The turbofan-powered S-211s were originally designed as trainers and secondary attack planes, but were refitted with avionics equipment and machine guns in recent years to take on air defense.

The Philippines is acquiring 12 FA-50s from KAI for PhP18.9-billion.

Two of these are expected to be delivered by December 2015. Four more may be delivered before President Benigno S. Aquino III's term ends in 2016.

The PhP18.9-billion package includes training, while a separate package worth about PhP5 billion is for the armaments, Okol said.

Aside from the three pilots, a team of two officers and 32 crewmen will also be sent to South Korea to train in maintenance.

Another set of PAF captains and lieutenants will also be sent for training in Korea soon after.

Aside from the jet acquisition and training and armaments procurement, the government has also promised to fund the basing for the aircraft as well as their integration training, Okol said.

The F/A-50s will be based at Basa Air Base in Floridablanca, Pampanga. 


Aero Vodochody in Talks with Thailand over L-39 Replacement

19 Desember 2014

Aero Vodochody L-159 ALCA (photo : Militaryphotos)

Czech aircraft maker Aero Vodochody is in negotiations with the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) to supply replacements for at least four Aero Vodochody L-39 Albatros jet trainers.

Aero is offering its L-159 ALCA or L-39NG as replacement aircraft.

The RTAF currently operates a total of 36 L-39ZA/ART under the local designation of B.KhF1, most of which were westernised with Israeli avionics and are capable of firing Raytheon AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles.

The bulk of these aircraft were procured during the early to mid-1990s. However, a smaller number of unwesternised L-39s were acquired during the 1980s and are approaching the end of their service lives.