Turkish, US Military Inspectors to Fly Over Russia

 

Experts from Turkey and the United States will make a surveillance flight above the territory of Russia on board a specially fitted Turkish CN-235 plane.
Experts from Turkey and the United States will make a surveillance flight above the territory of Russia on board a specially fitted Turkish CN-235 plane.

Military inspectors from Turkey and the United States will fly over Russia’s territory starting from Monday as part of the international Open Skies Treaty, Russia’s Defense Ministry said.

“In the period between July 22 and July 26, experts from Turkey and the United States will make a surveillance flight above the territory of Russia on board Turkey’s CN-235 plane,” the ministry said in a statement.

Russian experts will also be on board the aircraft, to oversee the proper use of surveillance and filming equipment.

The Open Skies Treaty, which entered into force on January 1, 2002, establishes a regime of unarmed aerial observation flights over the territories of its 34 member states to promote openness and the transparency of military forces and activities. Russia ratified the deal in May 2001.

Under the treaty, each aircraft flying under the Open Skies program is fitted with a sensor suite including optical panoramic and framing cameras, video cameras with real-time display, thermal infrared imaging sensors, and imaging radar.

The image data recorded during the observation flights can be shared among all signatories to support the monitoring of compliance with existing or future arms control treaties.

RIA Novosti

Raytheon’s Mike Boots Explains Turkey’s Patriot Balance

A Dutch soldier standing by a Patriot anti-missile battery at the Diyarbakir military airport in southeastern Turkey. (AFP)
A Dutch soldier standing by a Patriot anti-missile battery at the Diyarbakir military airport in southeastern Turkey. (AFP)

TR Defence’s North America correspondent and acting editor-in-chief Hasan Karaahmet has interviewed Mr. Mike Boots, Patriot Turkey Program Manager at Raytheon Defense Systems, to shed light on some of the most common questions Turkish defense enthusiasts ask regarding Turkey’s T-LORAMIDS long-range air defence program.

Hasan Karaahmet: Mr. Boots, thank you for agreeing to talk to our readers. As a time-tested, battle-proven system, many countries around the world depend on the Patriot, both NATO and non-NATO. What is the driving force behind Patriot’s huge commercial success to this day?

Mike Boots: No other existing system has the proven combat experience of Patriot to engage evolving threats; and no other air and missile defense system has demonstrated the reliability and lower cost of system ownership. Patriot is the backbone of NATO’s lower tier defense, and as you know, Patriot is currently deployed in Turkey by NATO members Germany, the Netherlands and the United States.

Hasan Karaahmet: What is the current level of deployment around the world?

Mike Boots: There are currently over 200 Patriot fire units deployed around the world with Raytheon’s 12 Patriot partners. More than 40 Patriot fire units are now in construction or are undergoing modernization.

Hasan Karaahmet: How about the US? How long does the US military itself plan on using the Patriot air defence system?

Mike Boots: The US Army has committed to fielding Patriot beyond the year 2048.

Hasan Karaahmet: What’s Raytheon’s policy on investments in Turkey?

Mike Boots: Raytheon has a long history working in Turkey — from ground based air defence systems like Stinger and Hawk to tactical radars like Firefinder and Sentinel. From our family of air-to-air missiles like AMRAAM and AIM-9 to naval command management systems like Genesis. Raytheon is committed to partnerships with Turkish industry.

Hasan Karaahmet: Any cooperation prospects in regards to Patriot?

Mike Boots: We are already working closely with several Turkish defence companies to produce Patriot components for export to other countries. For example, Aselsan is a key strategic partner for Raytheon on the Antenna Mast Group for the UAE Patriot system. Roketsan is also a key strategic partner, producing components of GEM-T missile for the UAE and Kuwait. Also, Pagatel is producing command and control shelters, and AYESAS is working on the command and control integration.

Hasan Karaahmet: Turkey’s Undersecreteriat for Defence Industries, the SSM, has adopted a procurement policy favoring local production and technology sharing. What are Raytheon’s views on this?

Mike Boots: Both Roketsan and Aselsan have been awardedRaytheon’s prestigious Supplier Excellence awards for the past two years for the excellent work they have performed on these programs. We anticipate increased global Patriot work share for Roketsan and Aselsan and have recently signed long-ter, agreements with these great companies for collaboration on advanced technology co-development projects in the area of high altitude missile defense. In addition to these strategic partner companies I mentioned, many other Turkish defence companies have the experience and skills we look for in our suppliers. As we win in other countries, they will get the opportunity to compete for additional work for those programs.

Hasan Karaahmet: Can the Patriot system be operated in conjunction with an Aselsan radar or launch a Turkish-made missile with comparable capabilities?

Mike Boots: Patriot can use data and information from a wide variety of sources and can interface with a variety of equipment, including missiles. We would need to know the specific sensors or effectors we are talking about in order to adequately answer that question.

Hasan Karaahmet: Does the US government or certain laws restrict the transfer of know-how on any subsystem or component of Patriot to Turkey?

Mike Boots: No! Turkey is a valuable ally of the United States and a NATO partner. Turkey’s T-LORAMIDS program fulfills an important NATO air and missile defence commitment.

Hasan Karaahmet: Certain reports appeared in the Turkish defence media indicate that the Patriot procurement has been tied to Turkey’s being granted access to F-35 source codes and the SM-2/Aegis technology for TF-2000 class frigates. What can you tell me about this?

Mike Boots: Intellectual property (IP) rights, such as software source codes, are often an issue to be negotiated in any sale of new technology. A customer’s desire for IP rights must be balanced with the rights of the inventor and owner of those rights through the negotiation process.

Hasan Karaahmet: Mr. Boots, how does Patriot compare to the other Western contender in T-LORAMIDS, Eurosam’s SAMP/T? What makes Patriot the better of the two?

Mike Boots: As I mentioned at the beginning of the interview, no other existing system has the proven combat experience of Patriot to engage evolving threats. No other air and missile defence system has demonstrated the reliability and lower cost of system ownership. Patriot is NATO’s lower tier defense with 200 Patriot fire units deployed around the world.

Hasan Karaahmet: In the past, we’ve published statements from mainly US sources that if Turkey opts for a non-Western solution, integration of the SAM system into NATO networks can be problematic. Can you explain to our viewers as to why this is the case?

Mike Boots: We have read and heard similar statements from various sources. NATO is very serious about protecting critical technology from falling into the hands of potential enemies. Patriot is a key element of NATO air and missile defence capability and works seamlessly with the NATO command and control architecture and other NATO defence systems. NATO would be very careful about what other systems might be connected to the architecture.

Hasan Karaahmet: What’s the future for Patriot? Is it going to continue to evolve with new capabilities beyond the GEM=T and PAC-3?

Mike Boots: The Patriot modernization roadmap will ensure Patriot remains the most advanced air and missile defence system in the world. If Turkey chooses Patriot for their long-range air and missile defense system, Turkish industry will have opportunities to participate in co-developing new technologies to help keep Patriot on the leading edge of technology.

 

Turkey to Sync Air & Space Power

Turkey aims to maximize its aerial firepower through several simultaneous programs, mostly indigenous, that better synchronize air and space assets.

The most ambitious program is locally designing, developing and building, with foreign technical support, the country’s first “national” fighter jet, dubbed the F-X.

Turkey’s procurement authorities recently decided to employ Sweden’s Saab, maker of the JAS 39 Gripen, to help shape their plans to manufacture the F-X. Turkish engineers, with help from Saab, have drafted three models that will be presented to top management at the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM) procurement agency and the air force in September.

According to a draft plan, Turkey aims for its national fighter jet to make its maiden flight in 2023, the Turkish Republic’s centennial. Production will commence in 2021 and deliveries to the Air Force are planned between 2025 and 2035.

Turkey, whose fighter fleet is composed of U.S.-made aircraft, plans to buy the F-35 joint strike fighter.

“The F-35 will be the principal air power asset, with the Turkish fighter complementing it,” one procurement official said.

In January, SSM announced that it put off plans to order an initial two F-35s, citing rising costs and technological failures, although it said it still intends to buy 100 more in the long run. Turkey is one of nine countries that are part of the U.S.-led F-35 consortium.

Turkey’s plans heavily rely on several unmanned aerial vehicle variants that Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) has been striving to develop. TAI will soon finalize a contract with SSM for the sale of 10 locally made Anka drone systems. The last of these passed acceptance tests in January, including a full endurance, 18-hour flight, successful automatic landing and data link performance at a distance of 200 kilometers.

Anka is the first medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle to be produced by TAI.

A more ambitious program involves development of an unmanned combat aerial vehicle, which would have longer range and function as a strategic bomber. TAI officials declined to provide details, citing confidentiality.

A Turkish air force official said these aircraft programs would be synchronized with numerous planned satellite programs.

“We aim to achieve an excellent interoperability between our aerial and space assets,” the official said.

One highly ambitious program aims to build a missile with a maximum range of 2,500 kilometers. In 2011, the Turkish government announced plans to develop that missile, not revealing whether it would be ballistic or cruise.

Although little information about the program has been released, a Turkish Cabinet minister in January confirmed that Turkey can produce a missile with a range of 800 kilometers.

State scientific institute Tubitak-Sage has been awarded the development contract and said it intends to test a prototype in the next two years. But while Turkish officials have indicated a desire for an independent capability to launch satellites, the military aspects of the missile program have not been released.

Earlier this year, the Air Force devised a national roadmap that will eventually lead to the launching of Turkish space command within its structure, a move that may be a boon for space-related procurement in the country. The space command will become fully operational by 2023.

As a first step, the air force is founding a space group command, or a de facto “aerospace force” unit that will comprise reconnaissance, early warning, electronic support, satellite command and satellite launching center departments.

Air force officials said the work and procurement under the roadmap would enable the service to perform reconnaissance and observation through imagery intelligence regardless of weather and geographical conditions; build a communications system for secure command and control; provide early detection of ballistic missile threats; and conduct electronic support for operational and warfare purposes.

The system will enable the air force to monitor Turkish and non-Turkish satellite activity and upgrade Turkish satellite programs.

Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz said Jan. 3 that the government would start negotiations with state-run missile maker Roketsan for the early design phase of a new launch system “to ensure that military and civilian satellites can be sent into space.”

Also in January, Turkey’s top decision-maker in procurement, the Defense Industry Executive Committee, approved starting talks with TAI for domestic development of a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) spacecraft dubbed Gokturk-3, with support from defense electronics manufacturer Aselsan and Tubitak.

With a space segment composed of a single satellite equipped with a SAR payload, a fixed main ground terminal and mobile backup station, Gokturk-3 will provide high-resolution radar images from anywhere in the world in day/night, all-weather conditions, according to Defense Ministry requirements.

The Turkish military’s space-based assets are geared more toward intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

Placed in orbit late in December was Gokturk-2, an Earth observation satellite designed and built by Tubitak’s space technologies research unit, Tubitak-Uzay, in cooperation with TAI.

Gokturk-2, launched Dec. 18 from China, encompasses 80 percent indigenously developed technology and 100 percent domestically developed software. It provides day imagery of 2.5 meters’ resolution. It is Turkey’s second national satellite.

The intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data gathered by national assets, including Gokturk-2 and an unknown number of operational and planned unmanned aerial vehicles, will be integrated into Turkey’s command and control network.

Turkey plans to launch the next satellite in the series, Gokturk-1, in the next few years. Gokturk-1, under construction through a deal with Telespazio and Thales Alenia Space, is a larger and more powerful optical imaging spacecraft capable of sub-meter resolution. Under the government roadmap, Turkey plans to send 16 satellites into orbit by 2020.

A space industry expert based here said the next five years’ satellite contracts could amount to $2 billion.

SpaceNews

Hungary’s Fire Sale of Soviet Military Hardware

Hungary announced Monday plans to sell off its old Soviet-made tanks and fighter planes, saying they were in “very good condition” but expensive to maintain.

Zoltan Borbiro, state secretary for the defense ministry, said MIG 29 fighter jets and T-72 tanks, military equipment and clothing would all be up for sale later this year.

“Since Hungary’s transition from communism in 1990, the army has been organized on a professional and modern basis, and a part of our military inventory is no longer compatible with NATO requirements,” he said.

“It won’t be an easy sale,” he admitted.

Hungary scrapped conscription in 2004 and now maintains an army of some 19,000 soldiers, down from around 140,000 during the Warsaw Pact era.

Hungary sold 77 of its stock of 180 T-72 tanks to the newly formed Iraqi army in 2005.

DefenseNews

MIT begins probe into ‘foreign links’ of Gezi Park protests

Turkey’s intelligence service has launched a comprehensive investigation to uncover foreign links in the three-week-long Gezi Park protests, upon the government’s instruction.
“Different units of MİT [National Intelligence Service] are working on different aspects of this movement. The outcome of this work will be submitted to the government,” a senior security official said.

Although the protests erupted following a harsh police intervention against a handful environment activists protecting the trees in Gezi Park, at the heart of Istanbul’s Taksim Square, the government believes the mass uprising was a plot against Turkey, in which some foreign powers and international financial institutions played a crucial role. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other top government official have also said they have evidence of this.

MİT’s different units have started to work to find international links to the plot, officials confirmed. “Any incident like this, with this magnitude, is of course under investigation. Our organization is working on this,” they said.

‘Natural for intelligence’

The incident has many dimensions, including security and keeping public order, officials said, adding, “It’s only natural for MİT to come up with its own findings. They would surely be shared with the government.”

A pro-government newspaper, Yeni Şafak, reported a scenario focusing on a possible revolt in Istanbul being discussed at a meeting held at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in February. Government officials have credited such scenarios, adding that the purpose was to slow down the economic and political rise of Turkey. They have also claimed that international media played a part in this plot by agitating the protests through one-sided broadcasting and publications.

The Foreign Ministry has also started research on how these incidents have been conveyed in other countries. “I demanded a report detailing which efforts these countries took to create a perception against Turkey, which instruments were used in this process, what our embassies did and what were our citizens’ reactions,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said.

The initial findings of the probes conducted by MİT, the Foreign Ministry and other state institutions will be discussed at large at the National Security Council (MGK) meeting slated for June 25. Interior Minister Muammer Güler is expected to brief the council on the protests.

HDN

Thales: First A400M Full Flight Simulator Ready

The first A400M Full Flight Simulator (FFS) designed and built by Thales for  Airbus Military received European Aviation Safety Agency’s qualification for training on the 7 June at Airbus Military International Training Centre in Seville.

This qualification is a key enabling milestone that allows Airbus Military to  start to train A400M flight crews for their complex missions in a safe  environment.

The Full Flight Simulator utilises aircraft hardware and software that  represents the initial configuration of the A400M aircraft cockpit and simulates  the ground and flight operations of the aircraft in various natural and tactical  environments. It includes an enhanced field of view visual system that is  capable of supporting training in all aircraft manoeuvres, including air-to-air  refuelling and low level tactical operations. A six degrees of freedom motion  system, on-board and off-board instructor stations and a record and replay  system to aid crew briefing and debriefing is also provided.

As new aircraft data is made available, Thales and Airbus Military teams are  also working to obtain Level D certification for this simulator.

Peter Hitchcock, VP Avionics, Thales UK,  says: “Thales is the leading provider of training solutions for Military Aircraft with contracts to provide A400M Full Flight Simulators and Flat Panel Trainers  to Spain, France, Germany and UK. We are proud to offer our long-standing  experience to help train pilots for this exciting and highly capable new  aircraft”.

Thales is the main supplier of the A400M’s avionics system, covering cockpit  displays systems, Head-up displays, Flight management systems, Integrated  Modular avionics, Enhanced Vision System.

Through a joint venture with Airbus Military, Thales has also been selected  by the UK MoD for the provision of its through life support training service,  which includes the design, construction and management of the A400M training  school, the installation and maintenance of full flight simulators and all  synthetic training equipment, and support to the RAF’s own course design team  and training staff.

The training school will be built at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, with  work planned to complete in Spring 2014. The school will train a range of  aircrew and ground crew in the operation and maintenance of the RAF’s 22 A400M  Atlas aircrafts.

Thales has been a world leader in provision of training services for more  than 30 years.

The Atlas A400M is an all new military airlifter designed to meet the needs  of the world’s Armed Forces in the 21st Century. Thanks to its most advanced  technologies, it is able to fly higher, faster and further, while retaining high  manoeuvrability, low speed, and short, soft and rough airfield capabilities. It  combines both tactical and strategic/logistic missions, while being also able to  be used as a tanker plane. With its cargo hold specifically designed to carry  the outsize equipment needed today for both military and humanitarian disaster  relief missions, it can bring this material quickly and directly to where it is  most needed.

Conceived to be highly reliable, dependable, and with a great survivability,  the multipurpose Atlas A400M can do the job of three of today’s different  aircraft models in a single one. This means smaller fleets and less investment  from the operator. Able to do more with less, the Atlas A400M is the most cost  efficient and versatile airlifter ever conceived and absolutely unique in its  capabilities.

Thales is a global technology leader for the defence & security and the aerospace & transport markets. In 2011 the company generated revenues of £11.4 bn (€13  bn), with 65,000 employees in 56 countries. With its 22,500 engineers and  research­ers, Thales has a unique capability to design, develop and deploy  equipment, systems and services that meet the most complex security  requirements. Thales has an excep­tional inter­national footprint, with  operations around the world working with customers as local partners.

Thales UK employs 7,500 staff based at 35 locations. In 2011 Thales UK’s  revenues were around £1.4 bn.

DefenceTalk

Welsh: F-35 is backbone of Air Force’s future fighter fleet

The Air Force’s most advanced  strike aircraft, the F-35 Lightning II, is a vital capability that the nation needs to stay ahead of  adversary technological gains, the Air Force chief of staff told a Senate panel  here, June 19.

Testifying before the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on  Defense, Gen. Mark A. Welsh III said air superiority is critical to the nation’s  security and how the U.S.  military plans to fight.

“The air superiority this nation has enjoyed for 60 years is not an accident  and gaining and maintaining it is not easy,” Welsh said. “It requires trained  proficient and ready Airmen and it requires credible, capable and  technologically superior aircraft. I believe the F-35 is essential to ensuring  we can provide that air superiority in the future.”

The F-35 is an unprecedented fifth generation fighter combining stealth technology with fighter speed and agility, fully integrated  sensors and network enabled operations, and state-of-the-art avionics. However,  design issues and production costs have put the F-35 program in real  jeopardy.

Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank  Kendall told the committee he believe those concerns have been addressed.

“The department’s and my focus has been on the efforts to control costs on  the program, and to achieve a more stable design so that we could increase the  production rate to more economical quantities,” Kendall testified. “Indications  at this time are that these efforts are succeeding.”

The Air Force intends to use a portion of the proposed fiscal 2014 budget to  support current defense strategic guidance and modernization programs like the  F-35.

“Potential adversaries are acquiring fighters on par with or better than our  legacy fourth generation fleet,” Welsh told the committee. “They’re developing  sophisticated early warning radar systems and employing better surface to air  missile systems, and this at a time when our fighter fleet numbers about 2,000  aircraft and averages a little over 23 years of age — the smallest and the  oldest in the Air Force’s history.”

Welsh said America needs the F-35 to stay a step ahead and to “make sure the  future fight is an away game and to minimize our risk to our ground forces when  conflict inevitably does occur.”

“The F-35 is the only real, viable option to form the backbone of our future  fighter fleet,” he said. “The F-35 remains the best platform to address the  proliferation of highly capable integrated air defenses and new air-to-air  threats.”

DefenceTalk

Kroenig: Why the U.S. needs its oversized nuclear arsenal

This week, President Obama gave a speech at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, calling for the United States and Russia to reduce the size of their deployed nuclear arsenals by one-third to around 1,000 strategic warheads. The call for further cuts has been greeted with enthusiasm in many quarters, but these proposed nuclear reductions could potentially be highly damaging to U.S. interests.

In his speech, the president argued that such cuts would be consistent with the goal of maintaining “a strong and credible strategic deterrent,” but this argument rests on a contested theory about how nuclear deterrence works. The Obama administration, and many scholars and experts, believe that a secure, second-strike capability is sufficient for deterrence and that anything more is “overkill.” Therefore, they believe that nuclear warheads in excess of a “minimum deterrent” threshold can be cut with very little loss to our national security.

However, there are those who argue that maintaining a nuclear advantage over one’s opponents enhances deterrence. As Paul Nitze argued during the Cold War, it is of “the utmost importance that the West maintain a sufficient margin of superior capability. . . . The greater the margin (and the more clearly the Communists understand that we have a margin), the less likely it is that nuclear war will ever occur.”

For decades, this debate was largely theoretical – neither camp marshaled systematic evidence in support of its views – but, recently, I methodically reviewed the relationship between the size of a country’s nuclear arsenal and its ability to achieve its national security objectives. I found strong evidence that, when it comes to nuclear deterrence, more is better.

In an analysis of 52 countries that participated in nuclear crises from 1945 to 2001 (think the Cuban Missile Crisis), I found that the state with the greater number of warheads is over 17 times more likely to achieve its goals. In addition, there is qualitative evidence from these crises that leaders in nuclear-armed states pay close attention to the nuclear balance of power, that they believe nuclear superiority enhances their position, and that a nuclear advantage often translates directly into a geopolitical advantage.

For example, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Secretary of State Dean Rusk argued, “One thing Mr. Khrushchev may have in mind is that . . . he knows that we have a substantial nuclear superiority . . . He also knows that we don’t really live under fear of his nuclear weapons to the extent . . . that he has to live under ours.” Even if Russia agrees to match the president’s proposed cuts, the nuclear reductions would attenuate our advantages vis-à-vis Russia and eat into our margin of superiority against other nuclear-armed states, such as China, possibly increasing the likelihood that the United States will be challenged militarily and reducing the probability that we achieve our goals in future crises.

If there is at least some reason to believe that reductions could harm America’s strategic deterrent, then certainly those in favor of reductions provide concrete evidence that the benefits of reductions outweigh these costs, right? Alas, they do not.

Supporters of further cuts argue that reducing the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. policy will help us stop the spread of nuclear weapons to other countries. They argue that our large nuclear arsenal makes it difficult (if not hypocritical) to tell, say, Iran that it cannot have nuclear weapons, or to demand that other non-nuclear countries (such as Brazil and Turkey) help us pressure Iran. Therefore, they argue, we can generate goodwill and strengthen our nonproliferation efforts by cutting our own nuclear arsenal.

This argument makes sense at a superficial level, but on closer inspection it falls apart. As Iran’s leaders decide whether to push forward with, or put limits on, their nuclear program, or as Brazilian and Turkish leaders think about getting tougher with Iran, they likely consider many things, but it is implausible that the precise size of the U.S. nuclear arsenal is among them. The evidence backs this logic up; the United States has been cutting the size of its nuclear arsenal since 1967, but there is no reason to believe that we have ever received any credit for doing so, or that these cuts have contributed to any breakthroughs on important nonproliferation problems. In short, we can’t stop other countries from building nuclear weapons by getting rid of our own.

Finally, proponents of cuts claim that nuclear reductions will lead to cost savings in a time of budget austerity, but, at least in the short term, nuclear reductions will actually result in cost increases, not decreases. Cutting arsenal size means pulling missiles out of silos, erecting buildings in which to store them, dismantling retired warheads, and decommissioning nuclear facilities. All of this costs money. Only if we think we can maintain a diminished nuclear posture indefinitely is it plausible to think there might be marginal cost savings to be had over the long run. But this would be an unwise bet given that U.S. competitors, including China, are moving in the opposite direction, expanding and modernizing their nuclear forces.

Since there are potential strategic costs and no identifiable benefits to further reducing the size of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, the United States should refrain from making any additional nuclear reductions. It must not go below the 1,550 warheads agreed to in New START (and it should take its sweet time getting down to that number). In addition, the United States should maintain the “hedge” of weapons it keeps in reserve at current levels and halt the transfer of warheads from storage to retirement and elimination. Finally, the Obama administration must follow through on its promise to fully invest in modernizing U.S. nuclear infrastructure so that it does not lose the capability to sustain a safe, secure and effective nuclear arsenal for decades to come.

Some may find this argument provocative, but it is actually quite anodyne; I recommend simply that the United States maintain the status quo. What is provocative is slashing America’s nuclear arsenal to 60-year lows in the face of evidence suggesting that doing so will harm our national interests.

Newsday

Cirit & UMTAS on show for US border protection

The company expects to also test Roketsan’s UMTAS air-to-surface missile in the near future.

Based in Mooresville, North Carolina, Iomax USA (Chalet A132) has chosen the Paris Air Show to launch its ArchAngel border-patrol aircraft. The ArchAngel has a wide variety of sensor and weapon options available and offers customers a low-cost but highly effective platform for a range of ISR and light attack missions. ArchAngel is in many ways an evolution from the Air Tractor AT-802U armed agricultural aircraft that was previously displayed at Le Bourget. However, much has changed since then.

Although no AT-802Us were produced, Iomax undertook the integration of mission systems for 24 similar AT-802i aircraft that were sold to a customer that was widely reported in the media as being the United Arab Emirates. The ArchAngel builds on that aircraft, with some important changes, not least of which is a switch of airframe supplier to Thrush. Iomax made the change as it can now incorporate its own modifications on the production line, something that was not possible with the Air Tractor.

A new avionics suite is installed, with Esterline CMC Electronics and Honeywell components and an all-new cockpit. The weapon system has also been improved, and with it the range of weapons that is available. The main EO/IR sensor turret is changed from the FLIR Systems Britestar to an L-3 Wescam MX-15, although other turrets are options. The ArchAngel can also be fitted with missile defenses, such as the BAE Systems AAR-57 CMWS, and ballistic protection is an option. Iomax has also designed a flexible pod system that can mount EO/IR sensor turret, SAR/MTI radar, Sigint sensors, video and weapons datalinks, missile and radar warners and UAV command and control systems.

Here at the Paris Air Show the ArchAngel is being displayed with a range of weapons, including the Hellfire missile and Roketsan Cirit laser-guided rocket. Iomax undertook the first firings of Cirit from a fixed-wing aircraft in January, firing the weapon from an AT-802i at a range in the Middle East. Final qualification of this weapon is expected in late August/early September. The company expects to also test Roketsan’s UMTAS air-to-surface missile in the near future, as well as an FN Herstal 0.5-in caliber machine gun pod. Both are represented on the aircraft here in the static display. GBU-12 laser-guided bombs can be dropped and guided, as well as INS-guided weapons. Iomax is shortly to fly a twin-rack launcher that it has developed for these 500-pound class smart bombs.

ArchAngel’s show debut is being made at Paris after a commendably short installation program. Iomax received the aircraft from the Thrush factory in March, and in less than three months had the aircraft back in the air in late May with its new avionics suite and cockpit. The company hopes to undertake in-country demonstrations to potential customers later in the year.

AIN Online

Roketsan joins international submarine-launched missile program

German missile house Diehl Defence (Hall 2c B355) is proposing the GILA (guided intelligent light armament) weapon to the German ministry of defense as a potential weapon to arm the Eurocopter Tiger. The weapon is an adaptation of Elbit’s GATR (guided advanced tactical rocket), which fits a laser guidance package to a 68mm or 70mm rocket. GATR has recently been awarded a demonstration contract by U.S. Special Operations Command.

Diehl is also proposing an innovative use for older AIM-9L Sidewinder missiles that have been replaced in the air-to-air role by weapons such as the Diehl’s own IRIS-T. The LaGS (laser-guided Sidewinder) replaces the air-to-air infrared seeker with a semi-active laser seeker, allowing the missile to be targeted with great precision against ground targets. Thus, older missiles can be reworked to provide a low-cost, low-collateral damage precision-attack option.

Arguably Diehl’s most interesting program, however, is the IDAS (interactive defense and attack system), which is based on the IRIS-T weapon but has been tailored for firing from the torpedo tubes of a submarine. It is intended for use against both surface and air targets.

Developed in conjunction with shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp and Norway’s Kongsberg, IDAS is intended primarily for use with the German 212A-class submarine. Due to budget cuts it was removed from the German MoD’s plans, but Diehl and its partners have continued development using their own funds up to the point where the technologies involved have been de-risked. An IDAS prototype began underwater firing tests in 2006, leading to a launch from a 212A submarine in 2008.

When the risk-reduction phase is complete, IDAS will be offered again to the German navy and also to other nations. Norway has signaled interest in the project, and now Turkey’s Roketsan has agreed to join the program. “We strongly believe that this is one of the weapon systems that can change submarine warfare dramatically,” said Diehl Defence CEO Claus Günther. “It allows a submarine to perform tasks that currently you need a surface vessel for.”

Concerning other systems, Diehl reports that the Swedish air force has become the launch customer for the surface-launched IRIS-T SL anti-air weapon. Sweden’s air defense system will use the standard IRIS-T SLS missiles for short-range interceptions (it already employs IRIS-Ts on its Gripen fighters). The longer-ranged IRIS-T SLM with additional rocket booster stage can also be fired from the same launcher.

AIN Online