Written by admin on May 14th, 2013
Can you outsource defense procurement for an entire nation? One should think no, as private interest may not be within the full military strategy of the country. However, the UK think differently as the Defense Reform Bill announced in the Queen’s Speech in May 2013 will enable the Ministry of Defense to make radical changes to defense acquisition. The proposed reforms are significant. The Government wants to change Defense Equipment and Support, the body responsible for procuring and supporting defense equipment, into a Government-owned, Contractor-operated entity, known as a GOCO. This would mean a private sector company would be responsible for managing the UK’s entire defense procurement program. No other country has done this. A White Paper setting out the Government’s arguments, the options available and the reasons for pursuing the GOCO option will be published in spring 2013. A final decision on the future of Defense Equipment and Support is expected in 2014.
This is major as the defense equipment programs accounts for 45% of the entire defense budget. The Ministry of Defense has committed to a £160 billion ten year equipment and equipment support plan. The Defense Secretary has been sharply critical of what has been called the “black hole” in the defense budget inherited from the previous Government caused, in part, by an “overheated defense equipment plan.” Defense Equipment and Support (DE&S) is responsible for buying and maintaining equipment for the UK’s armed forces. It employs approximately 16,000 people and is based in Abbey Wood, Bristol. It has an annual budget of approximately £14 billion. Attempts to reform the way the MOD buys equipment are not new. The previous Government commissioned an independent report into Defense Acquisition, led by Bernard Gray. The Review of Acquisition for the Secretary of State for Defense was published in October 2009 and was largely critical of the way defense acquisition is conducted by the Ministry of Defence. Among the report’s main recommendations was a proposal for the Defense Equipment and Support (DE&S) organization to be outsourced to a “Government owned, Contractor operated” organization, a proposal which met with significant opposition by the then Government. The report acknowledged the creation of such a body is a “significant and controversial step”.
Written by admin on May 6th, 2013
We have said many times here that drones were inevitable in the near future, and that someday they would probably replace fighter pilots. Now drones are stirring new rows over the question of “should we get them”. And in an unexpected country: Germany. The germans have always been cautious since the Second World War to avoid shouting too much about armament and their involvements in conflicts. That can be understood. However now, some politicians are shouting louder and louder to make sure the project of purchasing drones from the US goes down the drain. Here are the arguments against the purchase, along with their counter arguments:
Drones are forbidden in the European airspace. What use would the Germans have of such drones if they can’t fly. The response is that German special forces are fighting abroad such as in Afghanistan, and may require cover, then drones are useful. Also there is the argument of cost. Why purchase drones now as Germany and the rest of Europe is facing one of the most dreadful economic crisis. The counter argument is also valid: without drones, airplanes with pilots flying them and the entire crews preparing the aircrafts will be required. And in the long run, that’s much costly. So it would make sense to purchase the drones.
But in reality, Germany is facing another argument which plunges deep into the conscience of the people. Drones may kill people. And that’s what is bothering the Germans. The entire debate has evoled around many points, some in favour, some against, but after all these talks, the main point is that drones are used to kill people. And in these dire times, Germany does not want to be looked at badly again. The country has managed to steer away from most conflicts since World War II. People in power have a very remembrance of what was Nazi Germany – most of them were kids at the time – and they still feel guilty for what happened, hence they might overthink about weapons.
The Germans also have allies outside the country, pushing to ban the use of drones as killer machines. UN Special Investigator Philip Alston in 2010 described the danger of drones as allowing a “Playstation mentality to killing.” The opposition in Berlin believes that when people carry out war via computer screen and joystick, killing would become easier. Also complicating the situation is that drones are becoming ever more “smart” and autonomous. They fly off of pre-programmed routes, starting and landing by themselves. The Greens criticize this as “armed, automated systems not tied to a chain of accountability.” It’s also inevitable that civilians would be killed through such a weapon, politicians admitted during a round of parliamentary debate. But that innocent people die is an unavoidable consequence of war. What do you think of this debate ?
Written by admin on April 30th, 2013
Many pilots are looking at Russia and the PAK – Sukhoi T-50, with interested minds. After many talks about the F-22 Raptor and the oxygen problem, and the F-35 over expensive budget, many are interested to see if Russia will be met by such incidents in the development of its fifth generation aircraft. Since the Cold War ended, there haven’t been many opportunities for Russia to demonstrate they are now up to speed from a military and technological standpoint. So what happens with the T-50 will be an eye-opener for many regarding the military future of Russia. It’s a bit like checking the first steps of your son or daughter, expecting the fall. But what if Russia does not fall…
Russia’s fifth-generation T-50 fighter jet will enter service with the country’s armed forces in 2016, and not 2015 as was previously announced, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday. “The T-50 fifth generation jet should go into serial production and enter service in 2016,” Putin said at a live Q&A session with the Russian public. The Defense Ministry had earlier said the jet would be ready in 2015. Russia will start state flight tests of the T-50 in 2014, United Aircraft Corporation’s President Mikhail Pogosyan said on Tuesday. However, it is understood that the plane already flew a test mission. Indeed, Russian Air Force pilot of the Chkalov Flight Test Center made a PAK FA test flight for the first time. The plane took off the airfield of the M.M.Gromov Flight Research Institute in the city of Zhukovsky (Moscow region). The system and equipment testing went on for two hours in accordance with the flight test program. The flight was a success, in full conformity with the flight mission.
The T-50, which will be the core of Russia’s future fighter fleet, is a fifth-generation multirole fighter aircraft featuring elements of “stealth” technology,” super-maneuverability, super-cruise capability (supersonic flight without use of afterburner), and an advanced avionics suite including an X-band active phased-array radar. India will also buy a fighter aircraft based on the T-50, known as the FGFA (fifth-generation fighter aircraft). United Aircraft Corporation is the state holding company uniting Russia’s aircraft building industry including Sukhoi, a military and civil aircraft manufacturer.
Photos (Sergey Chaikovsky)
Written by admin on April 22nd, 2013
So we love to fly jet fighters. And we would love to be able to reach space soon, such as demonstrate the successes of the Virgin and Xcor ventures into suborbital rides. Now there is a problem that is arising and that not too many people have taken into consideration: space is becoming a junk yard. And the problem is serious as it poses threats to what we do, under the stars. The continuing growth in space debris poses an increasing threat to economically vital orbital regions. Next week, hundreds of top experts from across the globe will meet at Europe’s largest-ever debris forum to share their latest research findings and discuss potential solutions. Satellite operators worldwide, including those flying telecom, weather, navigation, broadcast and climate-monitoring missions, are now focusing their efforts on controlling space debris. All human-made objects now in space result from the near-5000 launches by all space faring nations since the start of the space age. Around two thirds of catalogued objects originate from orbital break-ups – more than 240 explosions – and fewer than 10 known collisions. The 2009 collision between America’s Iridium-33 civil communications satellite and Russia’s Kosmos-2251 military satellite destroyed both and created a large amount of debris – more than 2200 tracked fragments. Scientists estimate the level of space debris orbiting Earth to be around 29 000 objects larger than 10 cm, 670000 pieces larger than 1 cm, and more than 170 million above 1 mm. “Any of these objects can harm an operational spacecraft,” says Heiner Klinkrad, Head of ESA’s Space Debris Office. Heiner explains that satellites collisions with fragments larger than 10 cm would be catastrophic, releasing hazardous debris clouds that can cause further catastrophic collisions that may lead to increasing debris in some orbits. “Space debris mitigation measures, if properly implemented by satellite designers and mission operators, can curtail the growth rate of the debris population. Active debris removal, however, has been shown to be necessary to reverse the debris increase,” says Heiner. The ultimate goal is to prevent collisional cascading from setting in over the next few decades. Now if you have booked your suborbital flight, don’t be too scared, but you should be aware of that.
Written by admin on April 15th, 2013
The Boeing X-48C flew for last time April 9, marking the successful completion of an eight-month flight-test program to explore and further validate the aerodynamic characteristics of the Blended Wing Body design concept. The Boeing X-48 is an experimental unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for investigation into the characteristics of blended wing body (BWB) aircraft, a type of flying wing. Boeing designed the X-48 and two examples were built by Cranfield Aerospace in the UK. Boeing began flight testing the X-48B version for NASA in 2007. The X-48B was later modified into the X-48C version. It was flight tested from August 2012 to April 2013. Boeing and NASA plan to develop a larger BWB demonstrator. The aircraft has done 30 flights which were conducted at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center. The X-48C typically flew for approximately 30 minutes on most flights, reaching speeds of up to 140 miles per hour and attaining an altitude of about 10,000 feet. X-48C flight testing began Aug. 7, 2012. Some of the lessons learned are that the aircraft offers the tremendous promise of significantly greater fuel efficiency and reduced noise, and can be controlled as effectively as a conventional tube-and-wing aircraft during takeoffs, landings and other low-speed segments of the flight. The X-48C is a scale model of a heavy-lift, subsonic vehicle that forgoes the conventional tube-and-wing airplane design in favor of a triangular tailless aircraft that effectively merges the vehicle’s wing and body. Boeing believes the concept could be developed in the next 15 to 20 years for military applications such as aerial refueling and cargo missions. The blended wing body (BWB) concept offers advantages in structural, aerodynamic and operating efficiencies over today’s more conventional fuselage-and-wing designs. These features translate into greater range, fuel economy, reliability and life cycle savings, as well as lower manufacturing costs. They also allow for a wide variety of potential military and commercial applications. Boeing and NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate funded the X-48 technology demonstration research. The effort was aligned with NASA’s ERA project, which has the goals to reduce fuel burn, emissions and noise of future aircraft. Boeing and NASA will continue to develop Blended Wing Body technology, with the aspiration of developing a larger-scale, transonic BWB demonstrator in the future.
Written by admin on April 8th, 2013
Following up on our previous post about North Korea, we had a read through the press to find out if North Korea could be serious about seeking war with neighboring South Korea. And this is what we found.
1.2 million soldiers
8,500 artillery pieces
5,100 rocket launchers
620 combat aircrafts
600 Scud missiles (that could hit South Korea and about 300 more that could reach Japan).
Enough plutonium to make about 6 nuclear bombs
5000 tons of chemical weapons deliverable by artillery or missile
5,200 artillery pieces
200 rocket launchers
460 combat aircraft
On paper, on a game of “Risk”, the North would crush the South. But truth be told, most of the equipment of the North is obsolete, soldiers are forced and would probably surrender easily in case of war, but most importantly, South Korea is supported by the US and its allies. The USA currently has 28,000 military people in South Korea, 50 tanks, 90 combat aircrafts, 19 vessels and of course the power to destroy any insect thanks to military precision. Some say China will back North Korea if a conflict arise, but there again, the world has changed and China, despite all its history, is looking more and more like the US and is getting a modern view of the world. Therefore, it is unsure they would support fully the North. The best on the table is that China would probably calm Kim down to avoid the worse. As for China, the worse would be a regime change in North Korea, due to a failed war, and the awakening of a population.
Written by admin on April 2nd, 2013
North Korea wants war ? Why not liberate North Korea ? This is a question I have always asked myself. Now with the B-2 Bomber and two F-22 Raptors closing in on the northern regime, why not simply go for it and liberate all these poor souls that have know nothing but tyranny, first Russian, then from crazy people named Kim Jung something. Instead, the US and the allies have chosen to go and protect values in some countries known to defeat their enemies, such as Afghanistan. But would not it be wise not to go for North Korea, and change the country as a protectorate. Japan would be happy. It is worth noting that China announced this week the country was purchasing another 34 SU-35, and 4 submarines from the Russians. The Russians are pushing to strike their luck in mid Asia such as Syria and Iran. Meanwhile, Pakistan is getting confused and India thinks of purchasing French armament. Everybody is going for war it seems. Even North Korea. North Korea’s military has put rocket units on a war footing with a fresh threat to strike US targets as well as South Korea, as Washington said it was ready to respond to “any contingency”. The move came as South Korea on Tuesday marked the third anniversary of the sinking of its naval vessel “Cheonan” by what Seoul insists was a North Korean submarine. The idea of the Northern leader would be strike Hawaii. The US is seriously thinking that Pyongyang could go for it. But do they only have the tech to achieve this… In reality North Korea is looking for a row to further negotiate assistance. The sad truth is that the country is ruined and the regime is in desperate need of power and money to further extend the lead on the people of North Korea. Power comes in the face of conflict and hopefully avoid one, but it will demonstrate to the people of North Korea that the leader is afraid of no avenue. However, to remain in power, the leader needs cash and food to feed the people. If they are not fed, they will at some point revolt. And that’s the real conflict North Korea will face one day.
Is Kim Jun ready to face this ?
Written by admin on March 29th, 2013
You may have seen some images of the exercise in some blogs and specialized press, but a recent event occurred in South Korea. The military exercise is design to improve cooperation between US and South Korean forces. As part of the exercise is a bombing training. And for this the U.S. Strategic Command officials sent two B-2 Spirit bombers for a long-duration, round-trip training mission from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., to South Korea March 28 as part of the ongoing bilateral Foal Eagle training exercise. The exercise demonstrates the commitment of the United States and its capability to defend South Korea and to provide extended deterrence to our allies in the Asia-Pacific region. This mission by two B-2 Spirit bombers assigned to 509th Bomb Wing, which demonstrates the United States’ ability to conduct long range, precision strikes quickly and at will, involved flying more than 6,500 miles to the Korean Peninsula, dropping inert munitions on the Jik Do Range, and returning to the continental U.S. in a single, continuous mission. The United States is steadfast in its alliance commitment to the defense of South Korea, to deterring aggression, and to ensuring peace and stability in the region. The B-2 bomber is an important element of America’s enduring and robust extended deterrence capability in the Asia-Pacific region. It always strikes me as impressive that a bomber pilot will arrive at the base near his home in the US, prepare the mission, fly around the world, drop the load without even being seen as the B-2 is stealthy, and return home later that night to have dinner with the family.
Technology has transformed radically the way we approach the perception of a conflict. Stealth long range aircrafts have changed the way we think of war. And it goes the same for drones. A guy is at his desk in a valley in the US sipping his latte and at the same time is targeting and striking baddies in Afghanistan. Back in the 80s some of you may remember “war games” the movie. It was only nuclear war at the time, and the concept was non surgical, but global. Now, things have dramatically changed thanks to technology, and that’s great. Before, we thought of war as something like Vietnam. It was painful, atrocious, and the end was never near. With modern aircraft technology, war becomes to be non visible. That’s an enormous change in perception and God knows how we will approach going to war in 50 years or even a 100 years. More and more screens, video games like. The Air Force may wish to recruit gamers as they are quick and responsive at their desk… Changes technology delivers are both fantastic and scary. They are great as technology reduces human loss. However it is scary as maybe we will lose sight that on the ground, they are still some people dying. It’s war, and unavoidable, but if we lose conscious of this, fighters will turn into gamers without the appreciation of reality in the background.
Written by admin on March 18th, 2013
The F-15 is one of the greatest jet fighters ever made. It has been unsurpassed in combat by any other aircraft, and we tend to forget that the F-15 is actually old. This came to mind as Saudi Arabia is currently revamping and modernizing its air force, and especially the fleet of F-15. They are getting fly by wire technology. Fly-by-wire is a system that replaces the conventional manual flight controls of an aircraft with an electronic interface.
The movements of flight controls are converted to electronic signals transmitted by wires (hence the fly-by-wire term), and flight control computers determine how to move the actuators at each control surface to provide the ordered response. The fly-by-wire system also allows automatic signals sent by the aircraft’s computers to perform functions without the pilot’s input, as in systems that automatically help stabilize the aircraft. This is amazing that such an aircraft as the F-15 still did not have fly by wire technology, and this demonstrates two things: 1/ the F-15 is old and built on old tech, and 2/ the F-15 is awesome as it has been the best, with simple controls. The McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) F-15 Eagle is a twin-engine, all-weather tactical fighter designed by McDonnell Douglas to gain and maintain air superiority in aerial combat. It is considered among the most successful modern fighters, with over 100 aerial combat victories with no losses in dogfights. Following reviews of proposals, the United States Air Force selected McDonnell Douglas’ design in 1967 to meet the service’s need for a dedicated air superiority fighter. The Eagle first flew in July 1972, and entered service in 1976.
Since the 1970s, the Eagle has been exported to Israel, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and other nations. The F-15 was originally envisioned as a pure air superiority aircraft. Its design included a secondary ground-attack capability that was largely unused. The design proved flexible enough that an all-weather strike derivative, the F-15E Strike Eagle, was later developed, and entered service in 1989. The F-15 Eagle is expected to be in service with the U.S. Air Force past 2025 and much longer with other air forces around the world.
Written by admin on March 11th, 2013
Operation Red Flag has been launched with great success. This international air exercise is usually held each two years, involving more than 20 participating countries, allies of the US. The objective is to develop team work and see how to work cooperatively between various air forces around the world. The Red Flag exercises, held at the Nellis Air Force Base since 1975, are very realistic aerial war games. The purpose is to train pilots from the U.S. Air Force, other U.S. military branches, NATO and other allied countries for real combat situations. It is conducted on the vast bombing and gunnery ranges at Nellis AFB, northwest of Las Vegas. The area covers an area of 60 nautical miles by 100 nautical miles, allowing Red Flag to be on a very large scale. In a typical Red Flag exercise, Blue Forces (friendly) engage Red Forces (hostile) in combat situations. Blue Forces are made up of units from ACC, Air Mobility Command (AMC), US Air Force Europe, Pacific Air Forces (PACAF), Air National Guard (ANG), United States Air Force Reserves (USAFR), Army, Navy, Marine Corps and allied air forces. Red Forces are composed of Red Flag’s Adversary Tactics Division flying the F-16 and F-15 and provides air threats through the emulation of enemy tactics. They are often augmented by other U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps units. The first Red Flag held this year saw the allied participation of Royal Air Force’s Tornado GR.4s and Royal Australian Air Force F-111s and F/A-18 Hornets. Note the carriage of the range instrumentation pods, practice ammunitions, missiles and jammers by the participating aircraft. In addition to the Red Flag aircraft, there are some shots of visitors and the Thunderbirds, which are based at Nellis AFB. Below are some pictures of the ongoing exercise.
Photos by Glenn E. Bloore, GEB Photography