British-Boeing Discuss Wedgetail Purchases

The British Defense Minister revealed that the government held discussions with Boeing Co. regarding the fleet purchase of the Wedgetail E-7 early warning aircraft and air control. Discussions were also held with Australia about cooperation in the use of the aircraft, said Gavin Williamson.

British-Boeing Discuss Wedgetail Purchases

Reporting from Defense News, Williamson said that the Ministry of Defense had conducted market analysis and discussions with other potential providers and concluded that "the potential for E-7 procurement represents the best cost option, including representing significant opportunities to enhance defense cooperation and collaborate with Australia's main ally".

"Wedgetail is a prominent player in our pursuit of new reconnaissance aircraft and has proven itself in Iraq and Syria," Williamson said.

The UK Ministry of Defense said in a statement that further discussions would be held before the investment decision was set.

"If elected, the British defense industry can be significantly involved in the program, from modification work to through support during the service period," said MoD. "The MoD will work with Boeing to make sure [exploration] of how the UK's leading defense industry can also benefit from the existing agreement".

Companies that are expected to benefit from the E-7 agreement are the Marshall Aerospace and Defense Group.

Marshall has built an additional fuel tank for the Poseidon P-8 maritime patrol program and industry sources say that the Cambridge, UK-based company will turn the Boeing 737 into the Wedgetail configuration as part of the deal.

Talks with Boeing about increasing British content on the plane are trying to avoid possible criticism of handing over another big contract to the US defense giant without competition and with little work for the local industry.

Apache attack helicopters and Boeing's P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft were recently purchased without going through a tender process.

The US defense contractor, however, tried to overturn criticism of the growth of its workforce to 2,300 and spent a large amount of investment by building Poseidon support facilities at the UK Air Force's main base in Lossiemouth, Scotland.

"We work with our supply chain in the UK, government and military partners to provide critical capabilities, local content, exports, skills and value to our armed forces," said a Boeing spokesman.

Intent to carry out two major transactions, the only source in the armored vehicle sector from US and German companies has sparked outrage from a number of British defense companies over the country's procurement policies.

Every British Wedgetail agreement will be carried out with Boeing and not through the Foreign Military Sales route from the US government.

Williamson did not give details about the cost and number of aircraft, but up to 6 units of aircraft are expected to be purchased to replace the E-3D Sentry fleet belonging to the British Air Force. The cost may be more than £ 2 billion or around USD 2.6 billion, giving more pressure on the too large UK defense budget.

The planned purchase of the AEW & C Wedgetail as the sole source of procurement has provoked anger among potential rivals such as Airbus and Saab. The two European companies discussed the merging of power earlier this year as a step to offer a credible and cheaper option for the Wedgetail program.

Singapore Operates RSS Justice and RSS Indomitable

The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) has commissioned two more Independent Class Litoral Mission (LMV) ships, RSS Justice and Indomitable RSS through a ceremony held at Tuas Naval Base, Singapore, September 26, 2018, released Janes.

Singapore Operates RSS Justice and Indomitable RSS

Built by Singapore Technologies Engineering Marine Justice and Indomitable (with numbers 18 and 19), this ship is the fourth and fifth of the eight 1,250-ton LMVs - coming from the design of the Saab FLEX patrol multimission patrol boat - which is progressively replacing the aging Fearless RSN class patrol boat, which has operated since the mid-1990s. Ships are assigned to 182 squadrons and function as part of the Singapore Maritime Security Task Force (MSTF).

The armament of the ship includes the Oto Melara 76 mm main rifle, along with two remote-controlled weapons stations, Oto Melara Hitrole 12.7 mm on both sides of the bridge and the Typhoon 25 mm Rafael rifle system on the back of the bridge. Protection of enemy aircraft and precision-guided ammunition is provided by the MBDA Mica VL anti-air missile system deployed via a 12-cell vertical launch system (VLS) on the front.

These ships are manned by an initial crew of 23 people, including five officers, and can work for up to 14 days at sea. Ships can also be quickly reconfigured for a variety of missions including search and rescue operations (SAR) and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) using containerized mission modules.

The ship is also equipped with a dock at the stern and a launch-and-recovery system that can be used with up to two 11 meter rubber boats (RHIB), as well as a stern deck that can accommodate medium helicopters. Jane previously reported that only four LMVs would be configured for helicopter operations, with the rest expected to carry unmanned aerial vehicles, which had not yet been determined, whether the UAV was a fixed wing or rotary.

US Fly Again B-52 Bombers Near South China Sea Territory

This week several US bombers flew across the contested territory, with 4 B-52 aircrafts transiting across the sky above the South China Sea on Monday and an extra batch on Tuesday traveling over the East China Sea, released Sputniknews, Thursday 27 September.

US Fly Again B-52 Bombers Near South China Sea Territory

Lt. Col. Dave Eastburn told Reuters on Wednesday that the bombers participated in "regularly scheduled joint operations" which are part of "a routine program designed to improve our readiness and interoperability with our partners and allies in the region."

"The United States military will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever international law permits at the time and place we choose," Eastburn added.

B-52 bombers on Tuesday were reportedly escorted by Japanese fighter jets as they flew through the Diaoyu Islands, according to CNN. Although uninhabited islands are controlled by Japan, China has claimed them as their own.

When asked about flybys this week, US Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon on Wednesday that the flight was "nothing extraordinary."

"That continues. If 20 years ago, and [China] didn't militarize those features there, it would be the same as other bombers would make their trajectories on the way to Diego Garcia or anywhere, "he said. Diego Garcia, the largest island in the Chagos Islands, is used by the US as a military base in the region.

The latest developments are Chinese authorities rejecting US Navy amphibious assault ships USS Wasp anchored in Hong Kong after the US imposed sanctions on the Chinese military for buying Russian military equipment. The rejected ship is part of a group operating in the Indo-Pacific region, according to Bloomberg.

India Successfully Tests Astra Missile from Su-30 MKI

The BVR-AAM Astra missile has a dual pulse motor rocket, which makes it very maneuverable during the chase and thus provides missiles with high killing chance in one shot, as reported from the Indian Defense Ministry.

India Successfully Tests Astra Missile from Su-30 MKI

The Indian Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), in collaboration with the Indian Air Force, has successfully tested Astra, an out-of-range air-to-air missile (BVR-AAM), from the Su-30MKI fighter jet on Wednesday.

The missile can involve targets at a distance of 90 - 120 km when launched at an altitude of 15 km, a distance of 44 km when launched at an altitude of 8 km and a distance of 21 km when launched from sea level.

"The missile managed to maneuver high-precision targets that have fulfilled mission objectives. In a series of trials held to date, Astra has been launched through Su-30MKI fighter jets, "said the Indian Ministry of Defense.

Adding that this flight testing is very significant because it is part of a series of last pre-induction trials. Indian Defense Ministry claims that Astra is the best in its class and has experienced more than 20 tests during development.

Indian Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman praised the effort and said that India had achieved a high level of capability in the field of design and development of advanced weapons systems.

Last year, DRDO has replaced the active search radar 9B1103M made in Russia which is used in the early version of Astra missiles, with Indian-made Ku-band seekers developed by the Imarat Research Center (RCI) in Hyderabad.

India's state-owned company, Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL) has made arrangements to supply bulk orders ahead of schedule through special production facilities established in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

Russia Starts Developing New Generation of Frigates

Research and development for the new generation 22350M project frigate have begun in Russia, according to CEO of Severnaya Verf (Northern Shipyard), Igor Ponomaryov, in an interview with TASS.

Russia Starts Developing New Generation of Frigates

"We participate in this work together with the North Design Bureau, but the frigate parameters and their number will be determined by the Ministry of Defense. Work is in progress. I am not sure that 4 ships will be enough for the Navy, which requires the replacement of blue sea vessels, "he said.

Project 22350M

Ponomaryov previously said that the updated 22350M Project frigate would carry stronger weapons and be able to function as a missile destroyer.

Russian Navy Commander Vladimir Korolyov said that the Navy hopes to have 4 Project 22350 frigate units by 2020. After that, the project will be upgraded.

According to the head of United Shipbuilding Corporation Alexey Rakhmanov, these ships carry more weapons and are more effective than the current 22350 projects. Deputy Commander of the Russian Navy, Vice Admiral Viktor Bursuk said the Navy wanted to have the first frigate upgraded from the 22350M Project in 2026.

Unlike destroyers, frigates have a smaller weight and less powerful weapons. Although the duties of both classes of ships are very identical, destroyers have better weapons and radio-electronic equipment for independent combat operations. Destroyers can also be used to operate as leaders of attack groups.

Russia will soon mass produce new SHORAD

The Sosna-R's latest short-range air defense system (SHORAD) made in Russia will soon enter mass production, according to General Designer of the vehicle Vladimir Ukleyev. The Sosna-R is based on the MT-LB multi-role armored vehicle hull, as reported by the Army Recognition.

Russia will soon mass produce new SHORAD

"The latest Sosna-R mobile air defense system has passed a state trial. It was designed to replace the short-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) system of the Gopher Strela-10 aka SA-13 which is still in the service of the Russian Armed Forces. Industrial manufacturing capability is being prepared for the mass production of the SHORAD system, Sosna, said Ukleyev.

Sosna has a modular architecture, which allows the integration of combat system modules with various types of chassis with a payload capacity of not less than 3,500 kg, or 3.5 tonnes including BTR-82A armored personnel transport vehicles, BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles, and BMP-3 and BMD-4 air crossing vehicles. Sosna-R can be embedded in various automatic command and control systems (C2).

The basic variant of the SORNA-R SHORAD system is based on the chain MT-LB transporter. Sosna has been equipped with digital computing sub-systems and works in automatic and semi-automatic modes.

The sensor suite of systems combines an optoelectronic unit that drastically reduces the Sosna signature on the battlefield. Thus, the new SHORAD system is equipped with the laser rangefinder, laser missile control (LMC), CCTV, and heat-imaging sub-systems with the LMC rangefinder and subsystem mounted on the gyrostabilized platform. The integration of the LMC unit has resulted in an increase in the range of involvement of the Sosna target to 10 km. The system has a reaction time of about 5-6 seconds.

The unmanned combat module from Sosna brought 12 SAMs ready to use Sosna-R in two cells containing six missiles each. The wrapped missile weighs 42 kg and has a length of 2.4 m.

The Sosna-R has a speed of up to 875 m / s and can be used against flying air targets at altitudes of up to 5 km at speeds of 100 m / s such as helicopters, 250 m / s such as cruise missiles and 300 m / s like fixed-wing aircraft.

"The Sosna-R missile can also paralyze unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs," an industry source told TASS.

It is said that the Sosna surface-to-air missile system does not need a transport-loader vehicle. "It only takes about 10 minutes to refill the 12 missiles from the combat module," the source added.

The Soviet Union's Armed Forces have used the Strela-10 short-range SAM family system since the late 1970s. According to the Military Balance 2018 analysis book published by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) based in London, the Russian Army (SV) still has around 400 units of the Gopher SA-13 Strata-10M3 SHORAD 9K35M3 system.