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Tiltrotor Craft That May Replace Black Hawk Prepares for Test Flight

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Next week, a team from Textron Inc. and Bell Helicopter will demonstrate the maneuverability of its experimental V-280 Valor helicopter, a platform that may one day replace the U.S. military's UH-60 Black Hawk fleet. The June 18 demonstration comes six months after the V-280's first test flight as a technology demonstrator in the Army's Future Vertical Lift program. "It's not just a flight test, it's actually a demonstration of what we have been able to achieve so far," retired Army Maj. Gen. Jeff Schloesser, executive vice president for strategic pursuits at Bell, told Military.com.

"What you will see is the aircraft go through a variety of maneuvers. ... One of the things we want to demonstrate is just how able you are to quickly reposition the aircraft in flight," he said. "When you are on the objective area, you are not flying fast, but what you do have to do is do tail maneuvers, turn maneuvers, roll and pitch maneuvers in a very accel…

France Steps Up Efforts to Counter Beijing's Activities in S China Sea

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At present, the majority of the Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOP) in the region are conducted by the US, despite strong protests against them from China. Beijing, however, continues to deploy more military equipment to the islands, claiming the country’s moves are purely defensive in nature.

French assault ship Dixmude and a frigate sailed near the disputed Spratly Islands and other nearby islets as a part of a FONOP in the South China Sea, AFP reported. A researcher from the Hudson Institute think-tank, who was on board during the operation, said that several Chinese warships "tailed" Dixmude until it left the area. "Our patrol involved passing close to these islets to obtain intelligence with all the sensors it is possible to use in international waters," the Dixmude's commanding officer, Jean Porcher said in a video interview.



Although it is the US that conducts most of the FONOPs in the South China Sea, France and the UK also actively participate in …

UK jets to conduct air policing mission in Iceland and Estonia

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UK Royal Air Force (RAF) fighter jets will be deployed to Iceland and Estonia to carry out Nato Air Policing next year, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced. Four RAF Typhoon jets will return to Estonia, where they last carried out air policing in 2016. The fighter aircraft will also patrol the airspace of Iceland for the first time next year, enabling the UK to work in close collaboration with allies to deter aerial threats to Euro Atlantic security.



The missions will provide the RAF with opportunities to test and evaluate its skills in operating in a wide range of environments. As part of the air policing missions, Nato fighter jets will be prepared to address issues and carry out operations around the clock throughout the year. Currently, four of the RAF’s Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft have been deployed to Mihail Kogălniceanu Airbase in Romania to ensure security in the South and the Black Sea region.

In addition, Williamson confirmed that the country will deploy 40 add…

Chinese missile launchers reappear on disputed South China Sea island

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A series of Chinese missile systems have reappeared on a disputed island in the South China Sea, days after satellite imagery appeared to show they had been removed. The initial discovery of their disappearance was made by ImageSat International (ISI) in early June, who provided images showing bare sand where previously there had been a large number of missile launchers. But in new intelligence analysis released Monday, the organization said the weapons had reappeared on Woody Island on the Paracel island chain. In their initial analysis of the surface-to-air missile systems' removal, ISI said it was possible they had simply been redeployed to another island, or moved as part of a drill.



When the original images were released, experts were extremely skeptical that the launchers had been permanently removed, suggesting instead they may have been sent for maintenance. "Due to the corrosive effects of salt and humidity in the islands, HQ-9 missile systems must be removed and sen…

China ‘removes missile systems’ from disputed South China Sea island – but sends warning to US

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Beijing seems to have removed missile systems from a disputed island in the South China Sea, although US defence officials and experts said the disappearance was likely to be only a temporary arrangement, amid rising tensions between the two countries. Satellite imagery and new analysis from Israeli intelligence firm ImageSat International (ISI), dated June 3, suggested the Chinese surface-to-air missile systems on Woody Island, in the Paracel Islands, may have been removed or relocated. Beijing-based naval expert Li Jie said it would not be the first time that Beijing had removed its HQ-9 missiles. The last removal took place in July 2016, just two days before the Permanent Court of ­Arbitration in The Hague rejected Beijing’s claims over the South China Sea.

But he said removals had also be made for maintenance purpose. “Because of the humid weather, plus a recent typhoon in the region, it is likely that those systems needed to be temporarily removed for repair or to have some of th…

Turkey to take delivery of first F-35 on June 21

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Turkish authorities have received an official invitation to receive the country's first next-generation F-35 Lightning II jet on June 21, according to the Turkish daily, Hürriyet.

"Lockheed Martin would be happy to see you by our side during ‘The Republic of Turkey F-35 Delivery Ceremony' at Fort Worth on June 21," said the official invitation letter from Lockheed Martin, the main manufacturer of the aircraft.

The handover of the first warplane will take place after the reception on June 21, the invitation letter added. Turkey's first F-35A will enter service in November 2019 after the completion of a pilot training program. The other jets will start coming at regular intervals, the report said.

Meanwhile, a U.S. Senate committee recently passed a defense policy bill which included measures to prevent Turkey from purchasing the F-35 jets. It was reported that the amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) from Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen an…

India Concluded S-400 air defense missile systems deal for USD 6 Bn with Russia

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Finallye deal has been cut. According to the Pravda, Russia plans to ship several regimental sets of S-400 air defense missile systems to India. The deal is evaluated at about $6 billion, sources at the Russian Ministry of Defense told RBC. "It goes about five regiments, which is ten divisions," the source said. Most likely, Russia and India will announce the deal prior to the summit of the leaders of the two countries in October of this year.

In October 2015, it was reported that India's Defence Acquisition Council would acquire 12 units of S-400 for its defence needs. However, on 17 December 2015, it was confirmed that the final order would be for 5 units rather than 12 units, as it is considered to be adequate for India's defensive needs. The deal is worth US$5.5 billion.


On 15 October 2016, on the sidelines of BRICS Summit, India and Russia signed an Inter-governmental Agreement (IGA) for the supply of five S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems and the final discu…

Philippines rebuilding runway on South China Sea island, scene of stand-off with Beijing, think tank says

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The Philippines has started repairing a runway and upgrading other facilities on Thitu Island, the South China Sea territory that was last year the scene of a stand-off between Chinese and Philippine vessels, according to a Washington-based think tank. Satellite images taken on May 17 show two barges anchored near the western edge of the runway, one of which appears to be fitted with a grab dredger, which comprises a crane with clamshell bucket, the Centre for Strategic and International Studies said on Saturday.

The airstrip on Thitu Island was built in the 1970s and was the first of its kind in the Spratly Islands. Over time, however, the western end of the runway crumbled which, coupled with the poor condition of its surface, made it difficult for aircraft to take-off and land. Besides the repairs to the runway, seven new buildings were built on Thitu last year, four of them close to a residential area on the eastern side of the island.



The stand-off, in August, happened when a fle…

Su-57 Continues Test Flights

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A test flight of the fifth generation Su-57 fighter jet with a developmental engine installed on it has been caught on camera in Russia's Zhukovsky. The Sukhoi Su-57 stealth air superiority fighter, also known as flying laboratory T-50-2, is one of the sleekest and most modern aircraft of the Russian Air Force. It made its debut at the Victory Day Parade on May 9 on Moscow's Red Square.




The first test flight of the Sukhoi-57 took place at Zhukovsky airport on December 5, 2017. Flight tests were later resumed in February, 2018. Packed with state-of-the-art avionics and active airborne phased array radar, this super-maneuverable fifth-generation warplane can carry a wide array of weaponry, allowing it to engage airborne, ground and naval targets.



The Su-57, also known as the PAK FA, is a multi-role fifth-generation fighter jet which was developed for air superiority and attack operations. Some of the most impressive aspects of the airplane include the fact that it has side-moun…

Chinese air force lands long-range bombers on island in disputed South China Sea

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The Chinese air force has landed long-range bombers at an airport in the South China Sea for the first time, a move which has fuelled concerns about Beijing's ambitions to assert control over the disputed territory. China conducted take-off and landing training with nuclear-capable H-6K aircraft, state media reported, prompting US warnings about destabilising region.

Beijing is pitted against smaller neighbours in multiple disputes over islands, coral reefs and lagoons in the waters of the South China Sea, which are important for global commerce and rich in fish and potential oil and gas reserves. The defence ministry said the exercises were carried out on an island reef but it did not specify when or where. The drills involved several H-6Ks taking off from an air base and making a simulated strike against sea targets before landing, the ministry said.



The statement quoted a Chinese military expert, Wang Mingliang, as saying the exercises would help the air force improve its "…

UAE in the swing with GlobalEye

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In a recorded address played on the second day of the roll-out, Major General Staff Pilot Ibrahim Naser Al Alawi, chief of the UAE Air Force, described the GlobalEye as a ‘strong force multiplier’ and added: “It’s such a powerful system and will save you platforms, manpower and cost.”
  The GlobalEye SRSS was specifically developed for the UAE, which Sebastian Carlsson, Saab senior vice president and head of group communications, described as a “well committed customer with a far-reaching vision”.

The UAE Air Force announced a $1.27 billion order for two GlobalEyes at the Dubai Air Show in 2015, becoming the launch customer for the type. A $236 million order for a third aircraft was announced at IDEX on January 4 2017. Saab had previously signed a November 2009 contract for two former Swedish Air Force Saab S 100B Argus aircraft. These were equipped with the original Erieye radar and provided the UAE with an interim air surveillance capability. Deliveries took place in August 2010 and…

US Navy’s $13 Billion Supercarrier Just Got Even More Expensive

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The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), the lead of vessel of the U.S. Navy’s latest class of carriers, and the most expensive warship in U.S. history, just breached a USD$12.9 billion spending lid set by Congress by USD$120 million bringing total acquisition cost to $13.027 billion, the Navy said in a recent statement. The additional USD$120 million will be needed to fix the aircraft carrier’s faulty Advanced Weapons Elevator used to transport ammunition from the lower to the upper decks, as well as to repair the the Ford’s propulsion system bearing, which broke down during sea trials in January, the U.S. Navy’s Naval Sea Systems Command said in a statement quoted by Bloomberg News on May 11. (This was the second breakdown of the main thrust bearing of the ship’s propulsion system—the first incident occurred in April 2017.)

The ship’s weapons elevators need to be fixed “to preclude any effect on the safety of the ship and personnel,” the Naval Sea Systems co…

Russia Confirms a Revolutionary New Tank Was Sent to Syria

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Russia has been on the forefront of building unmanned ground vehicles and last week the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed that their armed drone tank Uran-9 was tested in Syria. The Uran-9 is powerfully armed with anti-tank missiles, an automatic cannon and a machine gun. It can also be reconfigured to carry different weapons like surface-to-air missiles. Additionally, the unmanned vehicle is equipped with advanced optics and targeting systems including a laser warning system and thermal imaging.


While the deployment of the Uran-6, a minesweeping drone, in Syria has been widely reported on, little has been said publicly about the Uran-9, and military observers and analysts have yet to see it in Syria. “In reality, [the] Uran-9 tests in Syria should have garnered major attention from all major Russian news outlets, given how proud Russian [sic] are of their remote-controlled tank,” said Samuel Bendett, a research analyst specializing in Russian unmanned systems at the Center for Naval…

Beijing winning the great South China Sea game

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The security temperature in the South China Sea has ratcheted upward precipitously in recent weeks. On May 2, news outlet CNBC reported U.S. intelligence that China has installed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missiles on three fortified outposts in the Spratly Islands.

This deployment follows the installation in April of jamming equipment that disrupts military communications and radar systems — also on outposts in the Spratlys. This continued militarization of South China Sea features that Beijing controls comes on the back of extensive land reclamation activities — to the tune of 1,295 hectares of land — since 2013; the contravention of a 2015 verbal agreement between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Barack Obama not to militarize Chinese-occupied features; and Beijing’s blatant rejection of the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s ruling in 2016 in favor of the Philippines.

Most worryingly, the deployment of missiles — for the first time — provides China w…

Russia’s Navy to Receive Upgraded Variant of New Ballistic Missile Sub in 2019

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The Russian Navy is slated to receive the first advanced variant of the nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) Project 955A Borei II-class (“North Wind”) or Dolgorukiy-class in 2019, a senior Russian naval official said on May 9. The Borei II-class (also designated Borei-A) SSBN Knyaz Vladimir (Prince Vladimir) was originally expected to be delivered to the Russian Navy in 2017, a date that was later pushed to 2018 and eventually 2019 due to a two-year contract dispute between the Russian Ministry of Defense and the Severodvinsk-based Sevmash Shipyards.

“Yes [in 2019],” the Navy Deputy Commander-in-Chief for Armament,Vice-Admiral Viktor Bursuk, told TASS news agency this Wednesday. “The sub will have to undergo a wide range of trials, including those that were not held before.” Additionally, Bursuk noted that the new boomer will purportedly be delivered to the Navy “fully ready to accomplish assigned missions.” The Knyaz Vladimir was laid down in July 2012. It is the first…

South Korea gave Kim Jong Un a blueprint for developing North Korea

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un received a USB drive with a blueprint for connecting his country to the world when he met South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Apri l — and while the device was likely meant as a sign of goodwill, it could bring Kim's downfall. South Korea's Blue House, where Moon lives, reported that Moon gave Kim a book and a USB drive containing an e-book and a presentation on the "New Economic Map of the Korean Peninsula," something Moon announced last year.

The USB drive contained a blueprint for economic cooperation between the Koreas which detailed a series of proposals for railway lines that would connect the country to China, Russia, and as far as Europe. Though Moon most likely wants to use the map to entice North Korea to keep to the Panmunjom Declaration the two leaders signed at the demilitarized zone, it could have dire consequences for the Kim family.



North Korea fiercely controls the media and imprisons an estimated 100,000 of its citi…

ISRAEL ALMOST SHOT DOWN RUSSIAN JET IN SYRIA, SAYS FORMER DEFENSE MINISTER

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The Israel Air Force almost shot down a Russian jet heading toward Israeli airspace, former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon said in an interview with a Russian news outlet Saturday. “At the very beginning of the Russian presence [in Syria], there was a case where one Russian pilot almost crossed our border over the Golan Heights. If it was a Syrian plane we would have shot it down,” Ya’alon told RIA Novosti news agency. According to Ya’alon, Israel identified the plane as it was approaching, and while it had identified it as Russian, the IAF was prepared to take it down if it did not change course. Ya’alon said contact was made with the Russian-operated Khmeimim Air Base in Syria alerting it to the danger the plane was in and following the warnings, the jet changed direction.

“The issue was resolved immediately,” he said. The incident occurred shortly after Moscow intervened in the Syrian conflict in September 2015. Shortly thereafter, Israel and Russia implemented a deconfliction mech…

Turkish boat's collision with Greek warship sparks fears of 'hot incident'

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A Turkish cargo ship has collided with a Greek warship off the Aegean Sea island of Lesbos, fuelling fears of a “hot incident”, in what has long been a traditional theatre of tension between the Nato rivals. The vessel rammed into the Greek gunboat, Armatalos, early on Friday within hours of Alexis Tsipras, the Greek prime minister, giving a keynote speech on the island.

“After the incident, the cargo ship increased speed and made off to Turkey’s nearest coast without responding to the radio messages of the Armartalos,” the Hellenic Navy said. A Navy statement described the pre-dawn collision as occurring in Greek national waters in flagrant violation of international law. “There were no injuries,” it said. Turkey’s transport ministry also announced that there was no threat of “casualties or environmental pollution”.

But while damage to the warship – part of a Nato-led operation monitoring illegal migrations flows in the Aegean – was also described as minimal, the incident highlighted…

U.S. Navy re-establishing its Second Fleet after eyeing Russia

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The United States Navy is re-establishing its Second Fleet, responsible for the northern Atlantic Ocean, nearly seven years after it was disbanded as the Pentagon puts countering Russia at the heart of its military strategy.

“Our National Defense Strategy makes clear that we’re back in an era of great power competition as the security environment continues to grow more challenging and complex,” Chief of U.S. Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson said on Friday. “Second Fleet will exercise operational and administrative authorities over assigned ships, aircraft and landing forces on the East Coast and northern Atlantic Ocean,” Richardson said.

A U.S. Navy official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said a number of decisions, like who would command Second Fleet and what assets it would include, had not yet been made and it was unclear when the fleet would be operational. In 2011, the fleet was disbanded for cost-saving and organizational structure reasons.



Since then, however,…

Global military spending remains high at $1.7 trillion , China Rose to Second Position

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Total World Military expenditure rose to $1739 billion in 2017, a marginal increase of 1.1 per cent in real terms from 2016, according to new figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). China’s military expenditure rose again in 2017, continuing an upward trend in spending that has lasted for more than two decades. Russia’s military spending fell for the first time since 1998, while spending by the United States remained constant for the second successive year. The comprehensive annual update of the SIPRI Military Expenditure Database is accessible from today at www.sipri.org.

‘Continuing high world military expenditure is a cause for serious concern,’ said Ambassador Jan Eliasson, Chair of the SIPRI Governing Board. ‘It undermines the search for peaceful solutions to conflicts around the world.’

After 13 consecutive years of increases from 1999 to 2011 and relatively unchanged spending from 2012 to 2016, total global military expenditure rose again in 20…