The United Arab Emirates-made Nimr – Arabic for «Tiger» – armored vehicle could get a major firepower upgrade, under a pact between Raytheon and Abu Dhabi-based Nimr Automotive that would outfit the rugged four-wheeler with Laser-Guided Rockets (LGRs) previously found only on helicopters (Hydra-70) and other aircraft.
The project to arm the Nimr with TALON rockets is the latest in a series of international partnerships that bring Raytheon’s advanced engineering and innovation to U.S. allies worldwide. The deal was announced at the International Defence Exhibition and Conference in Abu Dhabi (IDEX 2015).
«If you look at the world today, the countries we used to sell to, they’re not happy to buy products off the shelf any more», said Steven C. Schultz, director of business development for land warfare systems at Raytheon Missile Systems. «They want to be true partners in terms of co-production, co-development, and in many cases be the prime contractor for some of these international pursuits».
Nimr Automotive is part of a company owned by Tawazun, a United Arab Emirates (UAE) strategic investment firm. Raytheon and Tawazun previously partnered to develop TALON, which is used to modify older, unguided rockets into laser-seeking weapons.
Other recent international collaborations include:
A partnership with Abu Dhabi Ship Building that provided the United Arab Emirates Navy with the Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) and the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM). RAM is a lightweight, self-guided missile that travels faster than the speed of sound. ESSM is the world’s premier international cooperative missile production program, with 18 industrial partners representing 10 nations.
An agreement that designated Turkish missile maker Roket Sanavii ve Ticaret A.S. as a supplier for Raytheon’s Patriot Guidance Enhanced Missile-Tactical (Patriot GEM-T). The company, also known as Roketsan, is the first major trans-Atlantic supplier for the system and is strategically located to support countries in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
A $1.7 billion Direct Commercial Sales contract in Saudi Arabia to upgrade Patriot systems to the latest Configuration-3.
A partnership with Lockheed Martin to provide the United Arab Emirates with advanced Patriot air and missile defense, along with support and training.
The U.S. Army’s Warfighter Field Operations Customer Support contract, under which Raytheon trains helicopter pilots in Afghanistan. Students graduate as commercial-level pilots.
Bringing TALON to the Nimr vehicle will meet a critical need, should the UAE Armed Forces adopt the system, Schultz said.
«TALON fills a gap between heavy, expensive, anti-tank guided missiles and unguided rockets», Schultz said. «There are a lot of missions for something like TALON. That’s the niche we’re filling».
TALON Laser-Guided Rocket
The weapon integrates Raytheon’s extensive experience in digital semiactive laser technology and proven history in precision air-to-air and air-to-ground munitions development and production. TALON’s architecture and ease of employment make it a low-cost, highly-precise weapon for missions in urban environments, counterinsurgency and swarming boat defense missions.
TALON is certified for use on U.S. Army Apache helicopters and Apaches in international fleets needing an affordable upgrade to the Hydra-70 rocket.
TALON was codeveloped with the United Arab Emirates.
TALON is fully compatible with existing airborne and ground laser designators.
TALON requires no hardware or software modifications to the launcher or aircraft platform and can be deployed from any aircraft that fires 2.75-inch (70-mm) Hydra-70 unguided rockets using the standard M260/261 launchers.
TALON is a low-cost, semi-active laser guidance and control kit that connects directly to the front of 2.75-inch (70-mm) Hydra-70 unguided rockets currently in U.S. and international inventories
Oshkosh Defense, LLC, an Oshkosh Corporation company, introduced its MRAP (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected) All-Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) Extended Wheel Base Medical (EXM) variant at the International Defense Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) 2015, taking place February 22-26 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Oshkosh designed the M-ATV EXM to provide off-road mobility and MRAP-level protection to military medics on ambulatory missions in high-threat environments.
«There is no mission more important than keeping troops safe, including the medics and their patients on the battlefield», said U.S. Army Major General (Retired) John Urias, executive vice president of Oshkosh Corporation and president of Oshkosh Defense. «An increasing number of troops and medics are suffering injuries – often life threatening – while trying to deliver care and evacuate the injured in commercial-based ambulances. The Oshkosh M-ATV EXM combines best-in-class off-road mobility with a life-saving crew protection system for urgent medical care in landscapes that are too rugged for other ambulances».
The Oshkosh Defense M-ATV EXM provides urgent evacuation capabilities while shielding patients and medics from enemy fire. The M-ATV’s lightweight ramp and unique «easy glide» system can load two litter-bound patients – on any NATO-standard litter – in less than two minutes. The tactical ambulance has enough interior capacity to simultaneously transport two litter-bound patients, two ambulatory patients, a medic, commander and driver. The M-ATV EXM’s customizable internal configuration also enables equipment to be accessed quickly by a centrally positioned medic. The vehicle supports standard MRAP Medical Equipment Sets (MES) and requirements such as a universal mounting system, secured storage units, and Pouch Attachment Ladder System (PALS) mounted storage bags.
The M-ATV EXM is a variant of the Oshkosh Defense M-ATV Family of Vehicles, which includes two multi-mission models – the M-ATV Standard and M-ATV Extended. The M-ATV Standard model provides response and support capabilities for a range of offensive and defensive missions in off-road environments, and the M-ATV Extended model delivers increased capacity for additional troops and equipment to support multiple mission profiles. M-ATV EXM delivers gold-standard off-road mobility and optimal protection against Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and other battlefield threats. Oshkosh’s proprietary TAK-4 independent suspension system provides superior ride quality, including a smoother drive in rough terrain to enable better patient care and preserve the longevity of medical equipment. The M-ATV’s crew protection system is designed for today’s most prevalent threats and can be customized to deliver the highest standards of MRAP-level protection. Furthermore, the M-ATV EXM’s silhouette is the same as the other M-ATV Extended Wheel Base variants, which prevents it from standing out as an obvious target in theater.
Oshkosh M-ATV EXM
Purpose-built military ambulance with complete access to patients and medical equipment.
Fully customizable design for medical equipment.
MRAP-level protection and unmatched mobility for medical evacuation operations.
Fully protected, single compartment crew capsule
Integrated blast protection
TAK-4 independent suspension system
Accommodates two crew members, one medic, two ambulatory patients and two litter-bound patients
Centrally positioned medic with easy access to patients and medical equipment
Vinyl floor covering in medic area is easy to clean and sanitize
Customizable work area supports standard MRAP Medical Equipment Sets (MES) with a universal mounting system
Dual-rear hatches with mechanical spring assist reduces opening size and minimizes load and close procedures
Loading ramp with forward locking mechanism glides and secures any NATO-standard litter into position
Complete all load, secure and close procedures for both litters in less than two minutes
Similar silhouette to other M-ATV Extended Wheelbase variants reduces the risk of medic crews becoming targets
Underbody Improvement Kit (UIK) integrated into EXM design
The U.S. Navy conducted successful test flights February 22 of two Trident II D5 Fleet Ballistic Missiles built by Lockheed Martin. This brings the D5 missile’s record to 155 successful test flights since design completion in 1989, a 25-year-plus reliability record unmatched by any other large ballistic missile.
«These latest test flights demonstrate the reliability of the D5 missile and the readiness of the entire Trident Strategic Weapon System every minute of every day», said Mat Joyce, vice president of Fleet Ballistic Missile programs and deputy for Strategic & Missile Defense Systems, Lockheed Martin Space Systems. «The Navy program office, the submarine crews and the industry team never rest to ensure the safety, security and performance of this crucial deterrence system».
The Navy launched the unarmed missiles in the Pacific Ocean from a submerged Ohio-class submarine. The missiles were converted into test configurations using kits produced by Lockheed Martin that contain range safety devices and flight telemetry instrumentation.
The Navy conducts a continuing series of operational system evaluation tests of the Trident Strategic Weapon System, which is the sea-based element of the nation’s nuclear deterrent triad, under the testing guidelines of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
First deployed in 1990, the D5 missile is aboard U.S. Navy Ohio-class and U.K. Royal Navy Vanguard-class submarines. The three-stage ballistic missile can travel a nominal range of 4,000 nautical miles (7,408 kilometers) and carries multiple independently targeted reentry bodies.
Trident II D5 Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM)
The Trident II D5 is the latest generation of the U.S. Navy’s submarine-launched fleet ballistic missiles, following the highly successful Polaris, Poseidon, and Trident I C4 programs. First deployed in 1990, the Trident II D5 missile is currently aboard Ohio-class and British Vanguard-class submarines. Each missile weighs approximately 130,000 pounds (58,967 kilograms).
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, the Navy’s Trident missile prime contractor, developed and produced the missile and support equipment. The company also supplies technical and logistical support at sites where the missiles are deployed.
The FBM team continues to build on a remarkable mission success track record. Through June 2014, the Trident II D5 missile has achieved 150 successful test flights since design completion in 1989 – a record unmatched by any other large ballistic missile or space launch vehicle.
The first Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM) developed and deployed by the United States was the Polaris A1 missile, named for the North Star. A two-stage ballistic missile with a range of 1,200 nautical miles (2,222 kilometers), the A1 was powered by solid fuel rocket motors and guided by a self-contained inertial guidance system independent of external commands or control. The A1’s first successful underwater launch from a submarine on July 20, 1960, brought to fruition a remarkable Navy and industry research and development effort begun only four years earlier. Subsequent Polaris missiles, the A2 and A3, increased the range and thus the operating area of the stealthy deterrent. U.S. deployment of the Polaris missile series ended with the retirement of the A3 in 1979.
The next generation of fleet ballistic missiles to follow Polaris was the Poseidon C3 missile. The Poseidon, despite being 20 inches (508 mm) wider in diameter, 36 inches (914 mm) longer and approximately 30,000 pounds (13,608 kilograms) heavier, fit into the same 16 launch tubes that carried Polaris. Poseidon carried twice the payload of the Polaris A3 with significantly improved accuracy. The first Poseidon test launch occurred on August 16, 1968. The first submarine-based test launch occurred on August 3, 1970, from USS James Madison (SSBN-627). The Poseidon was declared operational on March 31, 1971, and was deployed aboard all 31 Lafayette Class submarines.
The Trident I C4 missiles were the longest continuously operated Fleet Ballistic Missiles ever deployed by the U.S. Navy. Using advanced technology in propellants, micro-electronics and new weight-saving materials, the Trident I C4 missile incorporated the multiple independently-targeted vehicle capability of its predecessor Poseidon and provided an astounding range of more than 4,000 nautical miles (7,408 kilometers) with a full payload.
Raytheon Company has begun development on an extended range variant of the combat-proven Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile (AMRAAM). Designed specifically for ground-based air defense, AMRAAM-ER will enable intercepts at longer range and higher altitudes (Source: Raytheon Company).
«With AMRAAM-ER, Raytheon is rewriting the book on ground-based air defense. The new missile will be even faster and more maneuverable than the current AMRAAM», said Mike Jarrett, Raytheon vice president of Air Warfare Systems. «By leveraging many existing AMRAAM components, Raytheon can deliver AMRAAM-ER quickly and affordably with very low risk».
Raytheon will integrate AMRAAM-ER into the NASAMS (Norwegian Advanced Surface to Air Missile System) launcher.
NASAMS is the latest and most modern Medium Range Air Defense system. In partnership with Kongsberg, Raytheon has delivered more than 70 fire units to seven countries. It is the most commonly used Short and Medium Range Air Defense System in NATO.
«Combined with the NASAMS launcher, AMRAAM-ER will provide a new level of protection to customers», said Ralph Acaba, vice president of Integrated Air and Missile Defense at Raytheon’s Integrated Defense Systems business. «NASAMS is one of the most easily manned, trained, and maintained systems in the world».
Fielded in Norway for more than a decade, NASAMS is operationally deployed in the U.S. National Capital Region, Spain, Finland, the Netherlands, and an undisclosed country. It is also in production for Oman under a contract received last year.
Raytheon plans to flight test AMRAAM-ER before the end of the year.
The AMRAAM is a versatile and proven weapon with operational flexibility in a wide variety of scenarios, including air-to-air and surface-launch engagements. In the surface launch role, AMRAAM is the baseline weapon on the NASAMS launcher.
The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Slovakia for UH-60M Black Hawk Helicopters and associated equipment, parts and logistical support for an estimated cost of $450 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on February 18, 2015.
The Government of Slovakia has requested a possible sale of:
9 UH-60M Black Hawk Helicopters in standard U.S. Government configuration with designated unique equipment and Government Furnished Equipment (GFE);
20 T700-GE-701D Engines (18 installed and 2 spares);
20 Embedded Global Positioning Systems/Inertial Navigation Systems;
2 Aviation Mission Planning Systems;
1 Aviation Ground Power Unit;
11 AN/APX-123 Identification Friend or Foe Transponders;
20 Very High Frequency (VHF)/Digitally Selective Calling AN/ARC-231 radios;
11 ARN-147 VHF Omni Ranging/Instrument Landing System (VOR/ILS);
11 AN/ARN-153 Tactical Air Navigation Systems;
11 AN/ARC-201D Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio Systems radios.
Also included are aircraft warranty, ammunition, air worthiness support, facility construction, spare and repair parts, support equipment, communication equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, site surveys, tool and test equipment, U.S. Government and contractor technical and logistics support services, and other related element of program and logistics support. The estimated cost is $450 million.
This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a NATO ally.
The proposed sale will improve Slovakia’s capability to deter regional threats and strengthen its homeland defense, as well as support counter-terrorism operations. The sale of these UH-60 helicopters will bolster Slovakia’s ability to provide border patrol, rapid reaction, and field expedient firefighting capability for its air and ground forces in counter-terrorism, border security, and humanitarian operations. Slovakia will have no difficulty absorbing these helicopters into its armed forces.
According to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.
The principal contractors will be the Sikorsky Aircraft Company in Stratford, Connecticut; and General Electric Aircraft Company in Lynn, Massachusetts. There are no known offset agreements in connection with this potential sale.
Implementation of this proposed sale may require the assignment of an additional three U.S. Government and five contractor representatives in Slovakia to support the delivery and training for approximately two-five years.
There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.
This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.
UH-60M Black Hawk Helicopter
The UH-60M helicopter culminates more than 30 years of technological advancement, improved performance and real world experience. This advanced Black Hawk aircraft serves dependably in the most extreme conditions found on earth. With the integration of the U.S. Army’s Future Combat Systems and automated aircraft health monitoring, the UH-60M provides superior vertical lift and is the «intelligent» choice for the battlefield of tomorrow.
Primary Function: Personnel recovery in hostile conditions and military operations other than war in day, night or marginal weather
Contractor: United Technologies/Sikorsky Aircraft Company
Length: 64 feet 8 in/17.1 m
Height: 16 feet 8 in/4.4 m
Rotor Diameter: 53 feet 7 in/14.1 m
Fuel Capacity: 4,500 pounds/2,041 kg
Payload: depends upon mission
Armament: Two 7.62-mm or .50 caliber machineguns
Crew: 2 pilots, 1 flight engineer and 1 gunner
Initial operating capability: 1982
Unit Cost: $40.1 million
Inventory: Active force, 67; ANG, 17; Reserve, 15
Powerplant and fuel system
Number of Engines: 2
Engine Type: T700-GE-701D
Maximum Take Off: 3,988 shp/2,974 kW
OEI Shaft horsepower (30 sec): 1,940 shp/1,447 kW
Crew @ total weight: 4 @ 980 lbs/444.5 kg
Troops @ weight/each: 11 @ 290 lbs/131.5 kg
Cargo hook capacity: 9,000 lbs/4082 kg
Weight empty: 12,511 lbs/5,675 kg
Primary mission gross weight: 19,398 lbs/8,799 kg
Maximum Gross Weight: 22,000 lbs/9,979 kg
Maximum Cruise Speed*: 151 knots/174 mph/280 km/h
Maximum Range – No Reserve: 276 NM/317.5 miles/511 km
Vertical Rate of Climb, feet per minute
16,800 lbs/7,620 kg, 4000 feet/1,219 m, 95°F, 95% IRP**: 1,553
18,000 lbs/8,165 kg, 4000 feet/1,219 m, 95°F, 95% IRP**: 941
HIGE*** Ceiling: 10,520 feet/3,206 m
HOGE**** Ceiling: 6,010 feet/1,831 m
OEI***** Service Ceiling: 6,500 feet/1,981 m
AEO****** Service Ceiling: 15,180 feet/4,626 m
* 16,800 lbs/7,620 kg, 4,000 feet/1,219 m, 95°F @ 100% MCP (Mode Control Panel)
** Intermediate Rated Power
*** Hovering In Ground Effect
**** Hovering Out of Ground Effect
***** One Engine Inoperative
****** All Engines Operating
Cabin Length: 12.6 feet/3.8 m
Cabin Width: 7.7 feet/2.3 m
Cabin Height: 4.5 feet/1.3 m
Cabin Area: 88 feet2/8.1 m2
Cabin Volume: 396 feet3/11.2 m3
Baggage Volume: 20 feet3/0.5 m3
Machined cabin structure
Multi-functional and durable 300 psi cabin flooring
Crashworthy Pilot and co-Pilot seats
Two sliding cargo doors with pop-out egress windows
Two jettisonable cockpit doors
Three point dual OLEO landing gear with kneeling capability
Active vibration control system
Wire strike protection system
Integrated Vehicle Health Management System (IVHMS)
Foldable tail pylon for shipping and storage
Built-in work platforms, engine cowlings and hydraulic deck
Four-axis fully coupled flight director
Dual embedded global positioning
Two UHF/VHF AM/FM radios
Five digital ICS stations
Automatic direction finder
VOR/ILS (VHF Omni Ranging/Instrument Landing System)
Dual digital flight control computer
Powerplant and fuel system
Two T700-GE701D engines
Auxiliary power unit
Dual crashworthy and self-sealing fuel tanks, 360 gallons/1362.75 L
Left and right gravity refuel ports
Single point for close circuit and pressure refueling
The Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) built by Lockheed Martin achieved a third successful air-launched flight test, with the missile performing as expected during low altitude flight. The test, conducted on February 4, was in support of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy joint-service LRASM program.
Flying over the Sea Range at Point Mugu, California, a U.S. Air Force Rockwell B-1B Lancer bomber from the 337th Test and Evaluation Squadron at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, released the LRASM prototype, which navigated through planned waypoints receiving in-flight targeting updates from the weapon data link.
«LRASM continues to prove its maturity and capabilities in this flight test program», said Mike Fleming, LRASM air launch program director at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. «This much-needed weapon seeks to provide a new capability that would enable deep strike in previously denied battle environments».
LRASM is a precision-guided anti-ship standoff missile leveraging the successful Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile Extended Range (JASSM-ER) heritage, and is designed to meet the needs of U.S. Navy and Air Force warfighters in a robust anti-access/area-denial threat environment. JASSM-ER, which recently completed its operational test program, provides a significant number of parts and assembly-process synergies with LRASM, resulting in cost savings for the U.S. Navy and Air Force Offensive Anti-Surface Warfare programs.
The tactically representative LRASM is built on the same award-winning production line in Pike County, Alabama, as JASSM-ER, demonstrating manufacturing and technology readiness levels sufficient to enter the engineering, manufacturing and development phase and to meet urgent operational needs.
Long Range Anti-Ship Missile is a new generation weapon system for Air- and Ship-Launched Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW). LRASM is a precision-guided anti-ship standoff missile leveraging of the successful JASSM-ER heritage, and is designed to meet the needs of U.S. Navy and Air Force warfighters. Armed with a penetrator and blast fragmentation warhead, LRASM employs semi-autonomous guidance, day or night in all weather conditions. The missile employs a multi-modal sensor suite, weapon data link, and enhanced digital anti-jam Global Positioning System (GPS) to detect and destroy specific targets within a group of numerous ships at sea.
Lockheed Martin is executing a LRASM contract, funded by DARPA and the U.S. Navy, to demonstrate tactically-relevant prototypes of a next generation anti-surface warfare weapon that can be either air or surface launched. The long-range capability of LRASM will enable target engagement from well outside the range of direct counter-fire weapons. LRASM will also employ enhanced survivability features to penetrate advanced integrated air defense systems. The combination of range, survivability, and lethality ensures mission success.
LRASM technology will reduce dependence on ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) platforms, network links, and GPS navigation in aggressive electronic warfare environments. The semi-autonomous guidance capability gets LRASM safely to the enemy area, where the weapon can use gross target cueing data to find and destroy its pre-determined target in denied environments. Precision lethality against surface targets ensures LRASM will become an important addition to the Warfighter’s arsenal.
Approach: Autonomous sensing and dynamic routing coupled with advanced signature control
It said in The Times of India that in a major step towards building a formidable blue-water Navy for the future, the Modi government has cleared the indigenous construction of seven stealth frigates and six nuclear-powered attack submarines, which together will cost well upwards of Rs 1 lakh crore ($16.1 billion).
The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) took these decisions in tune with the «critical necessity» for India to bolster its «overall deterrence capability» in the entire Indian Ocean Region (IOR), especially its primary area of strategic interest stretching from the Persian Gulf to Malacca Strait.
Under the over Rs 50,000 crore «Project-17A» for stealth frigates, four will be constructed at Mazagon Docks Limited (MDL) in Mumbai and three in Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) in Kolkata. «The contract will be inked with MDL and GRSE this month itself, with an initial payment of Rs 4,000 crore», said a source.
Both the defence shipyards are already geared up for the project because it’s a «follow-on» to the three 6,100-tonne stealth frigates built by MDL, INS Shivalik, INS Satpura and INS Sahyadari, which were inducted in 2010-2012.
The new multi-mission frigates will be larger, faster and stealthier than the Shivaliks as well as packed with more weapons and sensors to operate in «a multi-threat environment». Nevertheless, it could well take a decade, if not more, to build all the seven frigates.
The complex project for the nuclear-powered submarines (SSNs) will take longer. After the CCS approval, technical parameters or Naval Staff Qualitative Requirements (NSQRs) will now be drafted for the over 6,000-tonne submarines.
The SSNs are likely to be constructed at the secretive Ship-Building Centre (SBC) in Vizag, where India’s first three SSBNs (nuclear-powered submarines with nuclear ballistic missiles) are being built to complete the country’s nuclear weapons triad.
The government has basically «reworked» the 30-year diesel-electric submarine-building plan, approved by the CCS in 1999, which envisaged induction of 12 new conventional submarines by 2012, followed by another dozen by 2030. However, with no new submarine inducted until now, the government has decided to go in for six SSNs and 18 conventional vessels, said sources.
Nuclear-powered submarines are much deadlier than diesel-electric submarines since they do not need to surface every few days to get oxygen to recharge their batteries. «SSNs, which usually carry only conventional missiles, can swiftly and quietly undertake long-range patrols. They can run at high speeds like 30 knots (34.5 mph/55.5 km/h) for much longer distances, hunting for targets and gathering intelligence», said an expert.
INS Chakra, the nuclear-powered Akula-II class SSN taken on a 10-year lease from Russia, may not be armed with long-range missiles due to international treaties, but has bolstered India’s depleting underwater combat arm that is currently grappling with just 13 ageing conventional diesel-electric submarines.
Armed with 300-km (162 NM/186 miles) range Klub-S land-attack cruise missiles and advanced torpedoes, INS Chakra can be a potent «hunter-killer» of enemy submarines and warships as well as provide effective protection to a fleet at sea.
The German Ministry of Defense will next week submit to the Bundestag the helicopter procurement package it has renegotiated with Airbus HC, which covers 168 NH90, MH90 and Tiger helicopters at a cost of €8.7 billion, said the Defense-Aerospace.com. Thus, the first major arms deal concluded by Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen is much more expensive than it is expected before.
Precisely, that is about 430 million euros more than the Ministry of Defense’s previous plan, concluded in 2013 by Leyen’s predecessor Thomas de Maizière. The extra cost is due to the cost of spare parts and equipment for the so-called «Sea Lion» – MH90 naval helicopter, which was not included in the previous plan. These are the main points that emerge from a confidential submission by the Ministries of Finance and Defence to the Budget Committee of the Bundestag, and obtained by the Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) news service and Spiegel Online.
Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen wants to end the long-running dispute over new helicopter procurement. This deal would be a first milestone of her term of office. Starting with the promise to clean up the chaotic field of armaments, she is renegotiating existing contracts. The new deal, although «not optimal», was «the best achievable result», according to an MoD staffer, who pointed out that the new MH90 Sea Lion helicopters are more capable than the naval NH90s which were originally planned.
According to the draft agreement, manufacturer Airbus Helicopters will receive 8.7 billion euros in payment for a total of 168 Tiger, NH90 and MH90 Sea Lion helicopters. That is about 240 million euros more than the 8.46 billion euros originally planned for 202 helicopters. The reduction in the number of helicopters was decided by Maizière as part of the Bundeswehr reform in 2011. Other weapons systems were also reduced, and negotiations were launched with several manufacturers.
The deal now agreed with Airbus calls for the following changes to the original contract:
68 instead of 80 Tiger combat helicopters for €3.55 billion instead of €3.77 billion. Only 40 Tiger will actually be used by the Bundeswehr, the others (older models already delivered) are to be used as spare parts.
82 instead of 122 NH90 transport helicopters for €3.77 billion instead of €4.69 billion.
The Navy will also receive 18 MH90 (new designation) Sea Lions with special equipment for €1.38 billion.
The bottom line is that Airbus will deliver fewer helicopters (168) for more money, so instead of savings the new deal will bring additional costs. This is because, unlike her predecessors, von der Leyen has included the cost of technical support in her calculations.
Green Party MP Tobias Lindner says the Ministry has still failed in its reform. He says the Minister could have obtained more in her negotiations with Airbus: «Ursula von der Leyen has renegotiated de Maizière’s global deal, and though it has been renamed it is not substantially corrected». Overall, it remains «a bad and questionable deal, and anyone who found that the framework agreement of two years ago was bad, cannot approve this new deal».
The Budget Committee of the Bundestag is expected to decide next week on the helicopter deal, and German media consider it is highly likely that Bundestag will agree with the governing coalition’s plan.
On Monday 16 February, DCNS signed a contract with the Ministry of Defence of the Arab Republic of Egypt for the supply of a FREMM multi-mission frigate. This agreement strengthens the strategic relations initiated by DCNS last July with the signing of a contract to supply four Gowind 2500 corvettes.
Hervé Guillou, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of DCNS, declared: «I would like to thank the Egyptian authorities for the trust they have once again placed in us, for the participation in the modernization of their defence system. DCNS will be keen to demonstrate that this trust is justified. The Group will do its utmost to ensure that this program is completed successfully».
The frigate, the current D651 «Normandie», will be delivered mid-2015 after some outfitting work, and the first phase of the training programme. The logistics and support services provided to the Egyptian Navy will then continue over several years.
For Hervé Guillou, «With this historical agreement, DCNS is pursuing a policy of long-term partnership with the Egyptian Navy and its shipyards, with whom we plan to invest in the long-term to develop their skills and industrial facilities. In addition, strengthening our relations opens new perspectives for the sale of vessels».
The FREMM delivered to the Egyptian Navy will be taken from the series currently under construction for the French Navy. To ensure that the operational capacities of the French Navy will not be affected, DCNS will speed up the rate of production of subsequent ships.
«I would like to stress that this success would not have been possible without a close-knit team in France and the tireless support of the French state services, in particular the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) and the French Navy, who accepted the postponement of delivery of its second frigate».
FREMM – multi-mission frigate
Multi-mission frigates are versatile vessels able to respond to all types of air, marine, submarine or land threats. FREMM frigates are at the cutting edge of technology and are perfectly suited to ensuring that client navies are able to respond to current threats and the growing needs of maritime security.
A frigate is a ship capable of carrying out several types of mission: protection of a so-called high-value vessel (e.g.: an aircraft carrier), anti-ship warfare, anti-submarine or anti-aircraft warfare, surveillance of a maritime area. A modern frigate is a warship whose dimensions, weapons and equipment allow it to:
Navigate on the high seas regardless of the weather conditions;
Attack and defend itself, regardless of the level and origin (land, air, sea) of the threat;
Attack land-based targets thanks to long-range missiles;
Operate alone or in cooperation.
These ships respond to the needs of client navies, including one international client, the Royal Moroccan Navy (701 «Mohammed VI»). These vessels also comply with the most recent MARPOL (MARine POLlution) standards for environmental protection.
With 12 frigates, DCNS is thus the prime contractor of the largest European naval defence program. The FREMM multi-mission frigates are equipped with the most recent technologies developed by DCNS and the best systems available on the market.
FREMM frigates are equipped with hybrid propulsion. In silent mode, the shafts and propellers are driven by electric motors ensuring the acoustic discretion required for anti-submarine warfare operations. In high-speed propulsion mode, the shaft lines are driven by a gas turbine. A retractable thruster ensures manoeuvring safety at quay and in the port. This thruster also acts as an auxiliary propulsion system in the event of a breakdown of the main propulsion system.
According to Defense-aerospace.com, the sale of the ship to Egypt will have a strong impact on the French navy, and will require a complete reshuffling of the crews of the FREMM frigates D651 «Normandie» and D652 «Provence», which both are nearing the end of their user trials.
Specifically, once the contract is signed, the current crew of D651 «Normandie» will transfer to D652 «Provence», which will be home-ported in Brest. There, it will work up its anti-submarine warfare capabilities on the Atlantic coast, as originally planned. The current crew of D652 «Provence» will be reallocated to another FREMM frigate, D653 «Languedoc», which is currently being completed by DCNS, for fitting out.
Mechanically, this sale will delay by several months the arrival of the FREMM frigates into the fleet, and will induce a one-year extension of the anti-submarine frigates D642 «Montcalm» and D643 «Jean de Vienne», whose decommissioning has now been pushed back to 2017 and 2018 respectively. These service life extensions will enable the Navy to ensure its mission of maintaining an operational presence on all oceans, 24/24 and 365 days a year.
Range: 6,000 NM/11,112 km at 15 knots/17 mph/28 km/h
The only solution allowing on-time delivery is to hand over to Egypt one of the FREMM originally intended for the French navy, which is currently fitting out at DCNS’s Lorient shipyard: the frigate «Normandie».
According to Helmoed-Römer Heitman, Jane’s Defence Weekly correspondent, Denel Dynamics is close to completing the development of its new A-Darter – Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (SRAAM). The missile is in the final stage of air-launched guided evaluation firing trials, which have seen two missiles being launched from a Saab JAS-39 Gripen at the end of 2014 against Skua high-speed targets to confirm the guidance, control, and free-flight seeker performance, including a lock-on-after-launch engagement. These firings demonstrated a high-G performance even greater than required by the specification, the company said.
Two further missile firings are planned for the first part of this year to complete the testing process. The next phase of the development programme will be formal qualification, which will be concluded with a series of guided firings involving both the South African and Brazilian air forces to confirm performance acceptance.
Meanwhile, Denel is getting ready to industrialise the A-Darter and is negotiating a production contract for the South African Air Force (SAAF) with the country’s arms procurement agency, Armscor. Denel hopes to receive the contract during the first quarter of this year.
Denel is also in discussions with Brazil – which partnered with Denel Dynamics in the A-Darter development – to begin industrialisation in that country. Brazil’s decision to acquire the Gripen E/F as its future fighter will, to some extent, simplify its A-Darter integration as the SAAF has already gone through this process with its older Gripens. Denel is also beginning work with BAE Systems on integrating the A-Darter with the SAAF’s Hawk Mk 120 aircraft.
The A-Darter is a modern «body-lift» missile with thrust-vector control that gives it a very high angle of attack. It uses a multi-element imaging infrared seeker with a 180° field of view, and digital processing based on the latest available hardware and software. Its rocket motor has a low launch signature, making it harder to detect by countermeasures systems.
A-Darter is a leading wingtip fifth-generation Imaging Infrared (IIR) SRAAM air-to-air missile system. It has a lock-on after launch and memory tracking with the latest processing capabilities. The A-Darter may be designated to a target by using the aircraft’s radar, a helmet sight or the missile’s very effective autonomous scan feature if radar silence is required. The seeker’s large look-angles and the airframe’s agility enable high off-bore sight helmet-designated firings. Long-range intercepts beyond IR detection range are also possible with the lock-on after launch capability of the A-Darter.
The missile can be integrated on the latest and older generation aircraft platforms. It has already been integrated on the JAS-23 Gripen and integration on the Hawk Mk 120 is under way.
A-Darter is a leading wingtip mounted fifth-generation Imaging Infrared (IIR) SRAAM that will enhance air platform’s lethality.
Designed by Denel Dynamics (co-funded by Brazil), utilising its 50 years of air-to-air missile experience.
High agility (thrust vector controlled) to handle the closest of close combats.
A two-colour thermal imaging seeker with high sensitivity and a multi-mode ECCM (Electronic Counter-CounterMeasures) suite.
Advanced digital processing capability ensures improved performance in terms of image detection, false target rejection, ECCM, guidance and control.
Principle of Operation
The A-Darter may be designated to a target by using the aircraft’s radar, a helmet sight or the missile’s very effective autonomous scan feature if radar silence is required. The seeker’s large look-angles and the airframe’s agility enable high off-boresight helmet-designated firings. Long-range intercepts beyond IR detection range are also possible with the lock-on after launch capability of the A-Darter.