Showing posts from October, 2017

China's Air Force: 1,700 Combat Aircraft Ready for War

The People’s Liberation Army Air Force of China and its sister branch, the PLA Naval Air Force, operate a huge fleet of around 1,700 combat aircraft—defined here as fighters, bombers and attack planes. This force is exceeded only by the 3,400 active combat aircraft of the U.S. military. Moreover, China operates a lot of different aircraft types that are not well known in the West.

However, most Chinese military aircraft are inspired by or copied from Russian or American designs, so it’s not too hard to grasp their capabilities if you know their origins.

The Soviet-Era Clones - The Soviet Union and Communist China were best buddies during the 1950s, so Moscow transferred plenty of technology including tanks and jet fighters. One of the early Chinese-manufactured types was the J-6, a clone of the supersonic MiG-19, which has a jet intake in the nose. Though China built thousands of J-6s, all but a few have been retired. However, about 150 of a pointy-nosed ground-attack version, the Nanch…

Don’t Trust the Chinese to Make Microchips for the Military

The recent disclosure that Moscow co-opted the popular Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab to aid its espionage efforts has highlighted the danger of relying on companies from adversary countries for the security of sensitive government systems. While the federal bureaucracy and Congress now are acting decisively to end American dependence on Russian-made software products, America’s national-security infrastructure has an even deeper vulnerability to address.

In 2014 McKinsey & Co. estimated that more than 50% of personal computers and between 30% and 40% of the world’s embedded systems—such as automotive, commercial and medical electronics—contained Chinese-designed components. By pressuring Chinese manufacturers to source components domestically, Beijing stimulated a semiconductor industry that has rapidly developed expertise and expanded its reach. Beijing’s strategy has also attracted U.S. manufacturers in ever-increasing numbers to relocate their development and produc…

Seoul Presses U.S. to Hand Over Wartime Command of South Korean Military

South Korea is pushing the U.S. to allow it to take control of its own military forces should war break out on the Korean Peninsula, but the Americans are concerned that Seoul isn’t ready, according to U.S. officials. The issue creates a potential fault line between the two allies amid a growing threat from North Korea. The topic is set to feature prominently in security talks that start Friday in Seoul during a visit by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Mr. Mattis on Friday visited the demilitarized zone that divides the two Koreas. “We stand shoulder to shoulder with you and the Korean people in confronting the threats posed by the Kim Jong Un regime,” Mr. Mattis said, standing beside South Korea’s Defense Minister, Song Young-moo. South Korea has day-to-day control of its own military, but under an agreement in place since the Korean War in the 1950s, the U.S. would assume operational control of both the U.S. and South Korean militaries in the event of a major conflict on the peninsula…

Finland Doubles Arms Exports, Gambles on Middle East

In the past 15 years, Finland's arms exports have skyrocketed and undergone a change of pattern. The Middle East is becoming a focal point for Finnish weapons manufacturers, to the dismay of local peace activists, who consider it unbecoming of a nation that styles itself a mediator. Between 2002 and 2016, Finland's exports of military equipment have doubled, according to a recent report from independent think-tank Safer Globe. Over these years, Finland has sold military equipment to the tune of €1.5 billion ($1.76 billion), coupled with a €700 million ($822 million) worth of weapons for civilian purposes, such as hunting weapons. The export of arms and defense equipment is part of Finland's foreign and security policy. Between 2003 and 2016, the government and the Defense Ministry have granted some 3,000 export licenses for military equipment.
As far back as 2003, North America and Europe were the most important export destinations, but in recent years the Middle East has…

Combat Search, Rescue Exercise Pacific Thunder Begins in South Korea

One of the largest joint combat search and rescue exercises in the Pacific region, Exercise Pacific Thunder 18-1, kicked into full swing yesterday at Osan Air Base, South Korea. This year, the exercise is the largest it has ever been. More than 20 U.S. Air Force squadrons and nine South Korean air wings are involved, giving the 25th Fighter Squadron and the 33rd and 31st Rescue Squadrons opportunities to train in simulated combat search and rescue missions all while working alongside their South Korean counterparts.

“Pacific Thunder originally started in 2009 as a one-week exercise between the 25th Fighter Squadron and the 33rd Rescue Squadron, and has since grown into a [Pacific Air Forces]-level exercise,” said Air Force Capt. Travis Vayda, the 25th Fighter Squadron Pacific Thunder 18-1 coordinator.

Although the annual exercise now has a vast range of units participating, it is still centered on the 25th Fighter Squadron, which operates A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft, and the 33rd Res…

Metallurgy skills are Kalyani Group’s springboard to defence production

Indian engineers, who struggled for decades to design high-tech weaponry like the Tejas fighter and Arjun tank, are enjoying unusually quick success in developing what promises to be a world-class artillery gun. At firing trials on September 4, prominent defence firm, Tata Power (Strategic Engineering Division), was cock-a-hoop when its Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) fired three shells to a world-record 47.2 kilometres – three kilometres longer than contemporary guns. But Tata Power (SED)’s record lasted just one day. The next morning, a second ATAGS gun, which the Kalyani Group has built according to a parallel development strategy, broke that record by achieving a range of just over 48 kilometres. Both guns achieved this record-breaking performance with “high explosive – base bleed” (HE-BB) ammunition, which is optimised for longer ranges. The Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO), which conceived and designed the 155-millimetre, 52-calibre ATAGS, has f…

NATO ships and a Russian sub hints at changes happening in naval warfare

Western and Russian warships have been in close proximity in the eastern Mediterranean, where both sides are assisting partners fighting in Syria. Both sides have used it as an opportunity to keep tabs on each other, studying their adversary's capabilities and tactics. Russian attack submarine Krasnodar left the Baltic Sea in early May, heading to the eastern Mediterranean, according to The Wall Street Journal. It was tracked along the way by NATO ships, including by a Dutch frigate that took a photo of the sub in the North Sea. By the end of the month, it had arrived on station, and the Russian Defense Ministry announced the cruise missiles it fired hit ISIS targets near Palmyra in Syria.

A few days later, the USS George H.W. Bush sailed through the Suez Canal, meant to support US-backed rebels in Syria. For sailors and pilots from the Bush, with little formal training in anti-sub operations, their duties now included monitoring the Krasnodar. "It is an indication of the cha…

France wants India to buy more Rafales

During her visit, Defence Minister will make a strong sales pitch for the fighters. India has a hectic diplomatic calendar next week with a series of high-profile visits scheduled. French Defence Minister Florance Parley will be in New Delhi on an official visit during which she is likely to make a strong pitch to sell additional Rafale fighter jets.

Ms. Parley is scheduled to visit India from October 26. “The two sides will discuss the progress of the implementation of the deal for 36 Rafale fighter jets,” one official said. The issue of additional Rafale jets and the Navy’s mega tender for a new line of submarines are likely to come up for discussion, the official added.

“Ms. Parley will travel to Nagpur on October 27 to lay the foundation stone for a manufacturing facility being set up by Dassault and Reliance Defence as part of the offsets under the Rafale deal,” another official said. In September last year, India and France concluded a €7.87-billion government-to-government deal…

Air Force F-22 Conducts Operational Testing of New Weapons Tech

The Air Force is now conducting operational tests of new software and weapons technology for the F-22 designed to help modernize the stealth fighter and expand the range of weapons it is able to fire in combat, service and industry officials said. Air Force officials have told Scout Warrior that, by 2019, the service will begin upgrading F-22 functionality for the AIM-120D and AIM-9X Air-to-Air missiles as well as enhanced Air-to-Surface target location capabilities. The F-22 currently carries the AIM-9X Block 1 and the current upgrade will enable carriage of AIM-9X Block 2.

Current operational testing of the F-22 is focused upon a 3.2B software upgrade for the fighter, allowing it to quickly integrate weapons upgrades, a story in Aviation Week stated. Raytheon AIM-9X weapons developers explain that the Block 2 variant adds a redesigned fuze and a digital ignition safety device that enhances ground handling and in-flight safety. Block II also features updated electronics that enable s…

American attack helicopters MOBILISED in Seoul as North Korea tensions soar

The south’s Maritime Counter Special Operations (MCSOF) unit is being boosted by the addition of nearly 50 Apache choppers to counter a possible attack by Kim Jong-un's regime from the sea. The AH-64D Apaches - the same model of helicopter piloted by Prince Harry - have joined a MCSOF exercise already underway in the Yellow Sea, to the west of the Korean Peninsula.

The announcement comes as North Korean special forces have been spotted near the Northern Limit Line (NLL), the disputed maritime border between the rouge state and South Korea. The NLL has been the site of a series of aggressive acts by the north, the most recent of which was in 2010 when Kim’s navy was accused of sinking a South Korean warship and killing 46 sailors. Pyongyang denied any involvement, but an international investigation concluded a torpedo fired by a North Korean submarine was responsible.

Later the same year, North Korean forces decimated the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong with 170 artillery shells,…

Greece Plans to Spend Billions Upgrading Its F-16 Fighter Jet Fleet

The United States has approved the possible sale of more than 120 upgrade kits from Lockheed Martin to the Greeks for their F-16 fighter jet fleet. The deal, worth more than $2 billion, highlights the continued importance of advanced 4th generation fighter jets, especially for countries such as Greece that don’t necessarily have the need for or the resources to procure expensive, stealthy 5th generation aircraft.

The announcement came on Oct. 17, 2017, as U.S. President Donald Trump met with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Washington, D.C. Trump, who has repeatedly criticized NATO countries for not meeting the alliance's defense budget targets, applauded Greece for meeting the goal of each member spending two percent of their gross domestic product on their military and highlighted the F-16 upgrade plans. “They're upgrading their fleets of airplanes – the F-16 plane, which is a terrific plane,” Trump said ahead of a bilateral meeting. “They're doing big upgrades.”


Russia’s Navy to Get 10 Upgraded Sub-Killer Helicopters Per Year

The Russian Navy is slated to receive ten Kamov Ka-27M anti-submarine warfare helicopters per year, the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) said in a statement on October 16. “This year, the number of Ka-27 helicopters arriving for naval aviation will make up another ten rotocraft. In compliance with the state armament program, the naval aviation is planned to be receiving 10 upgraded Ka-27M helicopters a year until the entire pool of these choppers is modernized,” the MoD said as quoted by TASS news agency.

The Russian Navy received its first pre-production batch of eight upgraded Ka-27 helicopters in December 2016. The shipborne Ka-27M helicopter has been specifically designed for anti-submarine warfare missions and can be deployed aboard larger surface warships including aircraft carriers (e.g., Admiral Kuznetsov). It has been the mainstay of the Russian (Soviet) naval forces helicopter pool ever since first entering service in the 1980s. In June 2017, the Russian MoD approved the ma…