Cyber Division

About 20 Electronic Warfare Operators completed the division’s four month-training period last week, and officially joined the ranks of the IAF’s Electronic Warfare and Cyber Division. This division’s activity is classified and clandestine, but its capabilities and performance have a direct impact on the battlefield and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF’s) capability to succeed in every campaign and theatre.

They operate flown and ground systems that disrupt enemy weapons, and have a tremendous influence on the battlefield: new Electronic Warfare Operators joined the IAF’s EW and Cyber Division last week
They operate flown and ground systems that disrupt enemy weapons, and have a tremendous influence on the battlefield: new Electronic Warfare Operators joined the IAF’s EW and Cyber Division last week

«There is no doubt that the division significantly empowers the Israel Air Force (IAF) in emergency and routine», said Major H’, Commander of the Electronic Warfare (EW) and Cyber Academy, to the graduates. «It is important to understand that our operational activity will never be in the spotlight, and that secrecy is an inherent part of our mission. We are currently participating in clandestine missions day and night, most of which the public will not hear about. You should be proud to have received the opportunity to operate these advanced operational systems».

The IAF’s Electronic Warfare Division includes ground and aerial units, which are responsible for disrupting enemy signals in order to protect IAF aircraft flying in threatened territory. Throughout the four-month training period, which was led by the «Celestial Crow» Unit’s Electronic Warfare and Cyber Academy in Tel-Nof Air Force Base (AFB), the new operators studied the foundations of the division’s capabilities and acquired the necessary skills for their service.

«Course 171 can be summed up in two words: professionalism and innovation», said Lieutenant G’, Commander of the Training Center in the Electronic Warfare and Cyber Academy. «We emphasized professionalism – expanding the foundations stage from five to six weeks, adding many classes and practical skills. The course has been adjusted to the changing theatres, we utilized new training systems, and changed the way we evaluate cadets».

«Throughout the various stages of the course you proved that you are worthy to join this division», added Major H’. «You studied the foundations, became acquainted with the capabilities and acquired the basic skills you need. You now take the knowledge you acquired to your operational units, where you will expand and deepen your education and will quickly become certified to become part of the division’s operational core».

Major milestone

Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Dream Chaser program passed a major NASA milestone for its Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCAP) contract with the completion of a successful Free-Flight test, which produced subsonic flight and landing performance data.

Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser Spacecraft Passes Major NASA Milestone after Free-Flight Test
Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser Spacecraft Passes Major NASA Milestone after Free-Flight Test

Milestone 4B validated the spacecraft’s design for a safe and reliable return of cargo services to Earth through a gentle runway landing, signaling the program is one step closer to orbital operations.

The Dream Chaser will go to the space station for at least six cargo resupply missions starting in 2020 under a separate contract, NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS2).

The NASA Commercial Crew Program reviewed the data, confirming it fully met or exceeded all requirements and authorized full payment of the milestone.  Additionally, SNC collected a significant amount of additional information that will be used for the final vehicle design.

«The test was a huge success and when we looked at the data, we were thrilled to see how closely our flight performance projections matched the actual flight data», said Steve Lindsey, vice president of SNC’s Space Exploration Systems business unit. «This gives us high confidence in our atmospheric flight performance as we move towards orbital operations».

The approach and landing test included intentional maneuvers both to assess the responsiveness of the Dream Chaser to control inputs and to measure the resulting stability of the vehicle under very dynamic, stressful conditions. This showcased the aerodynamic capability of the Dream Chaser as well as performance of the integrated computer system that autonomously returned the vehicle to a safe runway landing. These are critical components for orbital missions to and from the International Space Station.

Mark Sirangelo, executive vice president for SNC’s Space Systems business area, commented, «Achievements of this magnitude require the involvement and collaboration of many people. The Free-Flight test took place at the same historic location where the sound barrier was broken 70 years ago and where the Space Shuttle program began 40 years ago. With that historic legacy, I would like to extend our sincere appreciation to our whole flight team».

«I want to especially thank NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center Director, David McBride, the entire Armstrong team, the U.S. Air Force, NASA’s Commercial Crew and CRS2 programs, and our industry partners, including Draper Laboratories, who helped design our flight software. Most importantly, I want to say how proud I am of the SNC Dream Chaser flight and program teams who have performed above and beyond to make the flight and milestone a success», Sirangelo added.

The Free-Flight test of the Dream Chaser was performed at Edwards Air Force Base, California on November 11. The vehicle’s next milestone will be the CRS2 Dream Chaser Critical Design Review, scheduled for 2018.


About Dream Chaser Spacecraft

Owned and operated by SNC, the Dream Chaser spacecraft is a reusable, multi-mission space utility vehicle. It is capable of transportation services to and from low-Earth orbit, where the International Space Station resides, and is the only commercial, lifting-body vehicle capable of a runway landing. The Dream Chaser Cargo System was selected by NASA to provide cargo delivery and disposal services to the space station under the Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS2) contract. All Dream Chaser CRS2 cargo missions are planned to land at Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle Landing Facility.


SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket delivered the Zuma spacecraft to orbit.

SpaceX Launches Secret Zuma Mission for US Government
SpaceX Launches Secret Zuma Mission for US Government

SpaceX was targeting launch of the Zuma spacecraft from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The two-hour primary launch window opened at 8:00 p.m. EST on Sunday, January 7, or 1:00 UTC on Monday, January 8. A backup two-hour launch window opened at 8:00 p.m. EST on Monday, January 8, or 1:00 UTC on Tuesday, January 9.

Following stage separation, Falcon 9’s first stage landed at SpaceX’s Landing Zone 1 (LZ-1) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

The Zuma spacecraft launched on Falcon 9, a two-stage rocket designed from the ground up by SpaceX for maximum reliability and the cost-efficient transport of satellites and SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft. Falcon 9’s first stage incorporates nine Merlin engines, with a combined thrust greater than five 747s at full power, that launch the rocket to space. Unlike airplanes, a rocket’s thrust increases with altitude; Falcon 9 generates more than 1.7 million pounds of thrust at sea level but gets up to over 1.8 million pounds of thrust in the vacuum of space. The second stage, powered by a single Merlin vacuum engine, delivers Falcon 9’s payload to the desired orbit.

Falcon 9 is the first orbital class rocket capable of reflight. SpaceX believes rocket reusability is the key breakthrough needed to reduce the cost of access to space and enable people to live on other planets.

Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40), Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. SpaceX’s SLC-40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station is a world-class launch site that builds on a strong heritage. The site, located at the north end of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, was used for many years to launch Titan rockets, among the most powerful in the U.S. fleet. SpaceX took over the facility in May 2008.

The center of the complex is composed of the concrete launch pad and flame diverter system. Surrounding the pad are four lightning towers, propellant storage tanks, and the integration hangar. Before launch, Falcon 9’s stages and payload are housed inside the hangar. The payload is mated to the Falcon 9 inside SLC-40’s hangar on the transporter erector. The rocket and payload are then rolled out from the hangar to the launch pad and lifted to a vertical position.

ZUMA Mission

Mid-life upgrade

Patria has signed an agreement with the Finnish Defence Forces on the mid-life upgrade and overhaul of the Finnish Defence Forces’ Hamina Class fast attack craft. The procurement is part of the Naval Capability Development Programme, based on which the overhaul of Hamina Class vessels will ensure continued naval defence capabilities in the period between the decommissioning of Rauma Class fast attack craft and the commissioning of Squadron 2020 corvettes during the 2020s. The total value of the delivery contract, without options, is around 170 million euros (excluding VAT). The estimated employment effect of the programme in Finland will be around 300 person-years.

As it waits for the production of its new corvettes under the Squadron 2020 program, the Finnish Navy has awarded Patria, with Saab as the main subcontractor, a contract for the mid-life upgrade of its Hamina-class fast attack missile craft (FI Navy photo)
As it waits for the production of its new corvettes under the Squadron 2020 program, the Finnish Navy has awarded Patria, with Saab as the main subcontractor, a contract for the mid-life upgrade of its Hamina-class fast attack missile craft (FI Navy photo)

Patria will act as the prime contractor, designer and lead system integrator having the overall responsibility for the project. The delivery includes a number of sensor, weapon and communication systems, system upgrades, as well as ship technical modifications and overhauls. In addition to extending the lifecycle of the attack craft, their anti-submarine warfare capability is enhanced. Related to the new capabilities, Patria will equip the Hamina Class craft with its new, innovative Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Training Target system, which enables flexible and cost-effective anti-submarine warfare training.

As part of the extensive supply chain management effort involved, Patria also signed the most significant subcontracts related to Combat Management System (CMS), torpedo and sensor systems with Saab AB and ship technical work with Oy Western Shipyard Ltd.

«The Hamina Class mid-life upgrade is a large effort, which has been planned in close cooperation with the Finnish Defence Forces. We have strong expertise and capabilities for leading and implementing challenging and extensive system integration projects as a prime contractor. We were also responsible for the successful Rauma Class fast attack craft mid-life upgrade project», says Pasi Niinikoski, President of Patria’s Systems Business Unit.

Orion UAS

The U.S. Air Force has awarded a new $48 million contract to Aurora Flight Sciences for the continued development of the Orion Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS).

Aurora’s Orion Ultra Long Endurance UAS
Aurora’s Orion Ultra Long Endurance UAS

Orion is a twin-engine high performance UAS that can stay aloft over 100 hours at a time with payloads in excess of 1,000 pounds/453.6 kg. Development of the Orion started in 2006 and its first flight was in August 2013. In December 2014, the Orion established the current UAS world endurance record with an 80-hour, 2-minute and 52-second flight.

The new contract funds the development of a certified version of Orion that will be suitable for deployment anywhere in the world. The work will be performed in Columbus, Mississippi, and Manassas, Virginia.


  • Reduces number of bases needed for worldwide ops;
  • Reduces forward footprint minimizing personnel in harm’s way;
  • Provides flexibility even when infrastructure or airfields are unavailable;
  • Previously unreachable areas of vast oceans are now reachable.



Medium-Altitude Aircraft
Altitude 15,000-30,000 feet/4,572-9,144 m
Endurance 120+ hour
Payload Up to 2800 lbs/1,270 kg


Mercury Radio

Elbit Systems Ltd. («Elbit Systems») announced that the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) declared that the Mercury Radio System achieved Full Operational Capability (FOC) and is now in service with the UK Army Cadet Force (ACF).

Mercury Radio System in service with the UK Army Cadet Force (Crown Copyright)
Mercury Radio System in service with the UK Army Cadet Force (Crown Copyright)

In conjunction with Drumgrange Ltd. («Drumgrange»), Elbit Systems delivered over 3,000 PRC 710 VHF radios and amplifier sets and 150 PRC 720 HF man-pack radios along with battery charging and ancillary equipment to enable practical field-craft and signals training and a command and control capability. The UK MoD was provided with extensive hardware and software enhancements to achieve best in class Radio performance, and compliance to the highest safety levels.

At a formal customer presentation to mark the occasion, Brigadier Richard Spencer, Head of the Battlefield Tactical Communications and Information Systems (BATCIS) Delivery Team stated: «The delivery of this capability to exacting time, cost and performance parameters is a real success story and I am delighted to see the radios now in the hands of both the Cadets and Instructors».

Elbit Systems Land & Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence (C4I) Division manufactured and supplied the PRC 710 VHF Handheld Radio, including PRC 715 Amplifiers, and the PRC 720 MICOM Pathfinder HF Radios. Both VHF and HF models have been sold in large numbers worldwide.

Martin Fausset, CEO Elbit Systems UK, commented: «We are delighted to become a new radio supplier to the UK MoD providing a valuable capability for the UK Army Cadet Force and future users».

George Howe, Managing Director of Drumgrange, added: «Alongside Elbit Systems, we are pleased to be able to provide the ACF with a new and cutting-edge equipment and communications solution that will not only allow them to train effectively but also provide a key safety communications network for support on exercises and other activities».

Maiden Flight

According to, China’s first large amphibious aircraft AG600 on December 24, 2017 completed its maiden flight in south China’s Guangdong Province.

China's first home-grown large amphibious aircraft AG600 takes off at the Jinwan Civil Aviation Airport in Zhuhai, south China's Guangdong Province, December 24, 2017. AG600, code named «Kunlong», completed its maiden flight on Sunday (Xinhua photo)
China’s first home-grown large amphibious aircraft AG600 takes off at the Jinwan Civil Aviation Airport in Zhuhai, south China’s Guangdong Province, December 24, 2017. AG600, code named «Kunlong», completed its maiden flight on Sunday (Xinhua photo)

At 9:39 a.m., the aircraft AG600, code named «Kunlong» left Jinwan airport in the city of Zhuhai. The flight lasted about one hour.

«The maiden flight makes China among the few countries capable of developing a large amphibious aircraft», said Huang Lingcai, chief designer of AG600.

The Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the State Council congratulated all those engaged in the mission, including those from the Ministry of Industry and Information, the Civil Aviation Administration of China and the Aviation Industry Corporation of China.

The congratulatory message said that the maiden flight was a major breakthrough in developing special-purpose aircraft following the maiden flight of the large C919 passenger jet in May.

The 39.6-meter/130-foot aircraft is powered by four domestically-built turboprop engines, according to its developer, the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).

With a maximum take-off weight of 53.5 tonnes/117,947 lbs and a top cruising speed of 500 kilometers per hour/311 miles per hour/270 knots, the AG600 has a range of 12 hours.

Designed to be the world’s largest amphibious aircraft, the AG600 will be mainly used for maritime rescue, fighting forest fires and marine monitoring.

It can carry 50 people during search-and-rescue missions, collect 12 tonnes/26,455.5 lbs of water in 20 seconds for fire-fighting and transport up to 370 tonnes/815,710 lbs of water on a single tank of fuel.

Its name «Kunlong» stands for a high expectation in Chinese culture with the «Kun» meaning an enormous legendary fish and «Long» a dragon.

The AG600 is the third member of China’s «large aircraft family» following the large freighter Y-20 and large passenger aircraft C919, which made maiden flights in 2013 and 2017. The Y-20 entered into service with China’s air force in July 2016.

On time and to budget

Lévis, Quebec, 26 December 2017 – Davie Shipbuilding – Canada’s leading shipbuilder – announced that it has completed the construction, commissioning and sea-trials of the first Resolve-Class Naval Support Ship, Asterix. The ship was delivered on time, to budget and most importantly, at an internationally competitive cost. The ship departed Québec City 23 December 2017 en-route to Canadian Forces Base Halifax where she will enter service with the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and be operated by Federal Fleet Services Inc.

Asterix is the first new naval support ship to enter service with the RCN in over 50 years, and is also the first large naval platform to be delivered from a Canadian shipyard in over 20 years (Davie photo)
Asterix is the first new naval support ship to enter service with the RCN in over 50 years, and is also the first large naval platform to be delivered from a Canadian shipyard in over 20 years (Davie photo)

Her crew of 36 Canadian merchant sailors together with Davie personnel and industry contractors sailed the 26,000-tonne ship on her maiden voyage. During the journey, they completed the testing of her propulsion and navigation systems and state-of-the-art military systems. Upon arrival in Halifax, the ship will welcome aboard members of the Royal Canadian Navy to begin integration training during the month of January 2018 prior to supporting Canadian naval operations from February 2018, for the next 10 years.

The delivery of Asterix represents the first new naval support ship to enter service with the Royal Canadian Navy in over 50 years. It is also the first large naval platform to be delivered from a Canadian shipyard in over 20 years and the first naval ship to be delivered since the launch of the National Shipbuilding Strategy.

«The delivery of this ship is an innovation showcase for Canadian industry and marks an important new era in Canadian maritime power, for it once again allows the Royal Canadian Navy to independently deploy globally for combat, peacekeeping and humanitarian operations. To see the Resolve-Class as just another naval ship is too simplistic. It is truly a force multiplier which will provide a globally deployable operating base for the Canadian Forces», said Spencer Fraser, CEO of Federal Fleet Services Inc.

The Resolve-Class Naval Support Ship, Asterix, was designed by Rolls Royce to meet the highest and most stringent of NATO and Lloyds Register requirements to support military operations, specifically for its primary Replenishment-At-Sea functionality but also in terms of systems redundancy, damage control, ammunition storage and other systems onboard.

«This is a proving point for Davie. When we began this program, we looked at what DND had been planning with the Joint Support Ships since 2005 and we quickly realized that the 26-year old German design could be improved upon. For example, having only two replenishment-at-sea stations would mean that it does not fully meet the latest NATO requirements, which crucially calls for four stations. So, we set out to build an innovative, modern design of a naval support ship with the latest, state-of-the-art systems that would be fully compliant to meet Canada’s international and NATO commitments yet also provide a purpose-built platform for responding to humanitarian crises. We wanted to deliver a ship which would rival or exceed the best of the world’s naval support ships. Working closely with our partners in the RCN, the Canadian government and Canadian industry from coast-to coast, we can state categorically that we achieved our goals today», commented Alex Vicefield, Chairman of Davie Shipbuilding.


Key facts

The construction of Asterix was entirely privately financed; whereby for the first time in modern Canadian procurement history, all the technical and financial risk was borne by the companies involved – Davie and Federal Fleet Services. Unlike other current marine projects, the Canadian taxpayer has not been asked to pay a single cent until the ship is ready and able to meet the needs of the RCN.

IHS Markit (Jane’s), the leading global naval and defence analysis firm, assessed the Resolve-Class Naval Support Ship to be, in all respects, on a par with the world’s best naval support ships.

The Resolve-Class Naval Support ship took 24 months to deliver and employed over 1000 Canadian shipbuilders at Davie and provided contracts to 918 Canadian suppliers across the country.

Following common practice, also adopted by Canada’s key allies including the US Navy and Royal Navy, the vessel was converted using the hull from a modern, high quality and ice-strengthened containership. During the conversion, the ship was stripped down to its keel and rebuilt in a modular fashion, installing the same key Canadian military systems that will be installed on Canada’s future naval fleet such as OSI of Vancouver’s Integrated Tactical and Navigation System, L3 MAPPS of Montreal’s Integrated Platform Management System and Hepburn of Toronto’s Replenishment-At-Sea Systems.

Other innovative features include an extensive intermodal handling area that is accessible at sea (a first within NATO), Canada’s first at sea hospital facility (with a full operating theatre) and an advanced aviation capability which is able to land all of the RCAF’s helicopters (including Chinooks).

A fully redundant electrical power plant and propulsion system were also installed to preclude the possibility of a recurrence of a complete power plant failure that struck HMCS PROTECTEUR in February 2014.

Asterix will also be the Canadian Government’s most “Green Ship” and features, amongst other environmental innovations, Terragon of Montreal’s MAGS 8 waste management system.

Like the Joint Support Ship, the ship is capable of being fitted with a range of active and passive self-defence systems, including three Raytheon Phalanx 20-mm Close-In Weapon Systems.

The ship will remain under the ownership of Federal Fleet Services and be operated by a mixed crew of Canadian merchant seafarers and Royal Canadian Navy personnel for at least the next 10 years. The ship has a service life of 40 years.

Canada has the option to purchase the vessel at any time during or upon

termination of the lease. At a value of $659m today, Asterix’s price is a fraction of the cost of the currently planned Joint Support Ships (2013 PBO estimate indicates a 50% probability that each JSS will cost over $2.1B each).

While Asterix remains under the ownership of Federal Fleet Services, it will fly the company’s House Ensign and be referred to as Motor Vessel Asterix.

Davie and Federal Fleet Services fully support the government’s new defence policy – Strong, Secure, Engaged – which calls for at least two naval supply ships, though most naval experts would agree that Canada requires four such vessels to simultaneously ensure availability on both coasts, form international task groups and provide redundancy during maintenance periods. Due to program delays and limited shipbuilding capacity under the National Shipbuilding Strategy, the first Joint Support Ship will likely not be delivered before 2026 at the very earliest and possibly as late as 2028. As such, Davie has offered to build a second Resolve-Class Naval Support Ship for the Royal Canadian Navy in order to mitigate the need for Canada to rent supplementary ships from the Chilean and Spanish navies over the next decade.

Latvian Border Guard

Leonardo is pleased to announce that the State Border Guard of Latvia has signed a contract for two AW119Kx single engine helicopters plus option for an additional unit, customised configuration and aircrew/maintenance technician training services. The aircraft will be delivered from the Company’s facility in Philadelphia in 2019 and will perform a wide range of missions including Search and Rescue (SAR), transport, firefighting and disaster relief; replacing two ageing AB206B JetRangers.

The most spacious and most powerful light single engine helicopter
The most spacious and most powerful light single engine helicopter


This order marks a further expansion of the State Border Guard’s fleet of Leonardo helicopters, adding to two AW109 Power light twins which have been successfully in service for the last ten years. The AW119Kx was chosen following a thorough assessment of competing types within the framework of the Ministry of the Interior’s helicopter fleet modernisation programme. The combination of AW109 Power and AW119Kx helicopters will boost the State Border Guard’s mission capabilities and versatility for round-the-clock day/night operations.

The AW119Kx is a best in class single engine helicopter featuring a state-of-the-art avionics system for enhanced situational awareness, mission effectiveness and safety. The AW119Kx has a large cabin able to accommodate up to six passengers and redundancy of all critical systems that are typically available on twin engine aircraft, ensuring outstanding safety.

Nearly 300 AW119 helicopters have been ordered to date in almost 40 countries by over 120 customers. The new AW119Kx is perfectly suited to perform many roles including law enforcement, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), utility, fire-fighting, VIP/Corporate transport, training and government duties. Several law enforcement operators in the USA, China, Republic of Korea, Finland, and Brazil, to name a few, have already chosen the AW119.

Heavy Vehicle Fleet

Oshkosh Defense, LLC, an Oshkosh Corporation company, announces on December 26, 2017 that it has been awarded a $40 million delivery order from the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) to recapitalize vehicles from the U.S. Army Reserves Family of Heavy Tactical Vehicles (FHTV) fleet. Oshkosh will bring the Army’s fleet of Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks (HEMTT) to their latest model configuration and the same zero-mile, zero-hour condition as new production vehicles.

The latest configurations of FHTV’s include air-conditioned and armor-ready cabs, electrical upgrades, and anti-lock braking
The latest configurations of FHTV’s include air-conditioned and armor-ready cabs, electrical upgrades, and anti-lock braking

Overall, the award is valued at more than $40 million for the recapitalization and production of over 90 units. All work performed under the contract will be completed in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, with deliveries beginning in Fiscal Year 2019.

«Our recapitalization services offer significant cost savings to the Army Reserves by returning vintage vehicles to current operational readiness with the same performance and life cycle cost advantages of a new vehicle», said Pat Williams, Oshkosh Defense vice president and general manager of Army and Marine Corps programs. «Recapitalized vehicles are assembled on the same production line as new vehicles, and put through the same extensive performance tests and inspection procedures as new vehicles. As the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), Oshkosh can modernize these vehicles to the latest configuration and quickly return them to operations».


The U.S. Army’s Heavy Vehicle Fleet

With a 13-ton payload and multiple variants for a wide range of operations, the HEMTT is the backbone of the Army’s logistics fleet. Oshkosh’s latest configuration, the HEMTT A4, brings significant improvements in power, maintenance and safety to the battlefield, traversing even the most challenging environments easier and more efficiently. The latest configurations of FHTV trucks also include air-conditioned and armor-ready cabs, electrical upgrades, and anti-lock braking to keep soldiers safe.