Russia Begins Deployment of New Nebo-M Anti-Missile Radar Facilities

Russian Strategic Missile Defense troops have begun deploying the new Nebo-M (Heaven-M) anti-missile radar facility systems, a spokesman from the Russian Defense Ministry’s press service said Thursday.
“The mobile multi-range programmable Nebo-M complex is capable of performing tasks of providing information on small-sized aerodynamic and hypersonic targets in difficult jamming background, as well as provide information for anti-missile weapon systems,” the spokesman said.


The deployment, construction and development of Russia’s anti-missile systems have become a top priority for the Russian Defense Ministry, predominantly due to the expansion of a US anti-ballistic missile system in Eastern Europe, in particular in Romania, Turkey and Poland, as well as in Spain.

India, Russia Sort Out Differences On Fighter Jet Project

India and Russia have generally agreed upon the amount and division of work during the research and development (R&D) stage of the fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) project. 

A contract for the R&D phase is being prepared and expected to be signed this year, said Yuli Slyusar, president and chairman of Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) at Aero India 2015 in Bengaluru.

“The Russian and Indian parties have generally agreed on the work share of each,” said company officials but refused to divulge specific details at this stage.
The work share of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has been a contentious issue as the project will have equal investment between India and Russia and is likely to cost over $30 billion for about 400 aircraft. India plans to induct 144 of them.

PAKFA T-50_ shark_camouflage
PAKFA T-50_ shark_camouflage

But HAL’s share in the work has been limited to a meagre 13 per cent so far which will not build any critical technological gains. Both sides have been holding discussions to sort this out before the final agreement.

FGFA is crucial for Indian Air Force’s evolving structure as was recently acknowledged by the air chief recently. The final announcement could come later this year with President Pranab Mukherjee visiting Moscow in June, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi expected to visit Russia twice.

Skunk Works Head Says New Spy Plane Needed

The Air Force's current plans for high-altitude surveillance, keeping the decades-old U-2 flying while upgrading the new RQ-4 Global Hawk drone, will not meet the demands of the military for reconnaissance, and the service needs to start again with a new aircraft to replace both spy plans, the head of Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works said.

The Air Force's fiscal 2016 budget request will keep the U-2 flying until 2019 while funding upgrades to the Global Hawk's sensor package to put the drone on par with the aging spy plane. The move will have the drone take over the spy plane's missions in full, though the differences in capabilities means that neither aircraft can really do the other's job.

"I ask myself, when will a program be initiated, which I think will be unmanned, to replace both and do the full set of missions accomplished by both the U-2 and the Global Hawk" said Rob Weiss, the executive vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin's advanced development programs, or Skunk Works, which originally designed the U-2.
Air Force officials have repeatedly said there is an ever-increasing demand for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance around the world. The service does not have enough operators, and is trying to upgrade its ISR fleet to keep up with demand.

"There is no opportunity to replace both of them based on current demand," Weiss said.
The Air Force had originally sought to cut it's brand-new Block 30 variants of the Global Hawk, saying the U-2 was more capable and had a cheaper cost per flight hour. The service flipped its position, and in the fiscal 2015 request tried to retire all of its U-2s, a move that Congress blocked. The compromise in the newest spending request looks to appease Congressional concerns and keep the spy plane in the air long enough to meet short-term demands of combatant commanders.

But the difference in capability will mean this plan could mean a shortfall in ISR capability, Weiss said. Northrop Grumman is developing a "universal payload adapter" to take the sensor suite from a U-2 and fix it to the drone. The $487 million project is expected to take three to four years to develop and test, according to an Air Force report to Congress.
There is technology advanced enough to be able to develop a new system to address the need for high-altitude surveillance, but now it's an issue of funding and deciding to move forward.

Iran Reveals Details of New Cruise Missile-Capable Submarine

The new Be'sat submarine will have a displacement of 1,300 tons and will be capable of launching cruise missiles as well as torpedos.

Iran is building a new submarine, called Be'sat, which will be capable of firing cruise missiles and laying underwater mines, the country's Fars News Agency reported. "The Navy's new subsurface vessel will be ready and launched soon to enhance the Army's power," Iranian Army Commander Major General Ataollah Salehi told reporters in December.

Be'sat submarine
Be'sat submarine

The submarine will be 60 meters long and have a displacement of over 1,300 tons. It will have six bays for torpedoes and marine cruise missiles.
The Be'sat, will be Iran's biggest domestically made submarine. The Iranian Navy also operates three Russian Kilo-class submarines with a displacement of 2,325 tons and six torpedo tubes but no cruise missile capacity.

Russian Air Force Awaits Cutting-Edge Transport Planes

The Russian military plans to buy an additional number of Ilyushin IL-76 MD-90A transport planes as part of its modernization program.

The IL-76 MD-90A is an updated version of the IL-76MD, which itself is based on the IL-76 aircraft platform.

"By 2020 we expect to have all 39 such aircraft lined up as part of the contract we signed with the Defense Ministry in 2012,” said  Sergei Artyukhov, deputy head of the new plane’s maker, the Ilyushin Aviation Complex, a subsidiary of the United Aviation Corporation (UAC).


“The new program for 2020-2025 provides for the delivery of more IL-76 MD-90A planes for our Air Force,” he added. 
Artyukhov earlier said the Ilyushin Aviation Complex was also eyeing India and China as potential buyers of the new aircraft.

The IL-76MD-90A was developed to transport a range of military equipment, armed personnel, heavy and long size vehicles and cargoes.
It will also be used in parachuting cargo/troops and other airborne cargo missions.

New Delhi Gets Full Access to Russian New Fighter Jet Technology

According to Indian ambassador in Moscow, defense companies involved in a joint project with Russia to build a Fifth-Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) are satisfied with their access to Russian technologies.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) Indian defense companies involved in a joint project with Russia to build a Fifth-Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) are satisfied with their access to Russian technologies, the Indian ambassador in Moscow said, denying media reports that Moscow withheld information from New Delhi. 
 "We have had excellent results in our bilateral cooperation and are fully satisfied with the access to technologies that our defense enterprises get. We proceed with the same level of cooperation in the development of the FGFA," Ambassador Pundi Srinivasan Raghavan told RIA Novosti.

This remark came after IHS Jane's Defence Weekly magazine claimed last September that India had expressed concerns to Russia over the progress on the FGFA program. According to the defense news weekly, New Delhi was annoyed about Russia's reluctance to share design data on its T-50 PAK-FA jet, which is the base model for the FGFA aircraft.

Raghavan refuted these reports, saying they "may have been supplied by competitors," and accused the media of biased reporting.

PAK-FA Fighter Jet

The ambassador lauded the progress in military technical cooperation between Russia and India, who are working on a raft of bilateral projects.

"The new tendency in the relationship is the joint development of advanced technology weapon systems. FGFA, MTA and Brahmos Missile are examples of the joint development of weapon systems incorporating sophisticated technology," he noted.

MTA stands for the Multirole Transport Aircraft, which is a twin-engine light transport plane with a maximum take-off weight of 65 tons. It is designed to replace the BAe 748 and Antonov An-26 craft, currently in Indian service.

Raghavan told RIA Novosti the countries have agreed to fast-track the project, with a timetable to be laid out by the year-end.

China Conducts JL-2 Sub Missile Test

China carried out a flight test of its new JL-2 submarine-launched ballistic missile last month, highlighting Beijing’s nuclear buildup of missile submarines. The JL-2 flight test took place Jan. 23, according to defense officials familiar with details of the test.

No details of the test were available. China in the past has conducted JL-2 flight tests from the Bohai Sea.

Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Jeff Pool declined to comment on the test. But Lt. Col. Pool said the JL-2 was discussed in the Pentagon’s most recent annual report on the Chinese military as one part of the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s “first credible long-range sea-based nuclear deterrent.”

The JL-2 test took place, coincidentally, on the same day that North Korea conducted what Pentagon officials said was the first flight test of a developmental submarine-launched ballistic missile called the KN-11. Officials said there did not appear to be any linkage between the two tests.

The congressional U.S.-China Economic Security and Review Commission stated in its latest annual report that the JL-2 is part of China’s expanding strategic nuclear forces and appears to have reached initial operating capability.

“The JL-2’s range of approximately 4,598 miles gives China the ability to conduct nuclear strikes against Alaska if launched from waters near China; against Alaska and Hawaii if launched from waters south of Japan; against Alaska, Hawaii and the western portion of the continental United States if launched from waters west of Hawaii; and against all 50 U.S. states if launched from waters east of Hawaii,” the report said.

The commission report said that despite uncertainty surrounding the number of Chinese nuclear missiles and warheads, “it is clear China’s nuclear forces over the next three to five years will expand considerably and become more lethal and survivable with the fielding of additional road-mobile nuclear missiles; as many as five JIN [missile submarines], each of which can carry 12 JL-2 submarine-launched ballistic missiles; and intercontinental ballistic missiles armed with multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs).”
China’s nationalistic state-run newspaper Global Times in 2013 published a lengthy article that stated that nuclear JL-2 missile strikes on the western United States would kill 5 million to 12 million people through a combination of blasts and radioactive fallout.

The article was later pulled from the newspaper’s website after reports about the provocative report were published in the West.

The Obama administration and Pentagon remained silent on the Global Times report. When asked about the report in November 2013, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert appeared to dismiss the Chinese submarine missile nuclear threat as not credible.
China was to have carried out the first missile submarine patrols with nuclear-armed JL-2 missiles by the end of last year.

However, Defense Intelligence Agency Director Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart told the House Armed Services Committee Feb. 3 that the first missile submarine patrols are expected this year.
Last year, China on two occasions deployed submarines to the Indian Ocean in what Lt. Gen. Stewart said were part of plans for boosting Chinese power projection.

Russia Angles to Snatch $20Bln Indian Fighter Jet Deal From France

Russia may be leveraging India's anger at French aerospace firm Dassault to kill a $20 billion aircraft deal, after allegations that the company seriously misled New Delhi on pricing its Rafale fighter jets.
After three years in limbo, Indian newspaper Business Standard reported on Monday that India's defense ministry now considers the contract "essentially dead." 

Moscow lost out on the contract in 2012, when India chose Dassault's Rafale fighters over Russia's MiG-35 multi-role aircraft. With tensions between Russia and France high following Paris' decision last year to delay the delivery of two Mistral-class warships over conflict in Ukraine, analysts said that politics may have played a role in the demise of the French aerospace deal. 

"Obviously, Russia is working to kill the French contract and they are [attacking] from all directions," Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Moscow-based Center for the Analysis of Strategy and Technology, a defense industry think tank, told The Moscow Times by phone on Monday.

But Petr Topychkanov, a military expert at the Carnegie Moscow Center, said that although Russia may be influencing India's position, "it does not mean that Russia will automatically get the deal," as the U.S. aerospace industry is also aggressively targeting the Indian market.

A Massive Tender

India's air force is aging, but New Delhi's strategic ambitions in Southeast Asia are rising. With its aging fleet of Soviet-era MiG-21 fighter jets fast approaching retirement, India's defense ministry announced a $10 billion tender for 126 foreign fighter jets in 2007.
One of the largest fighter jet tenders in history, India's call drew the attention of some of the world's largest aircraft manufacturers — such as France's Dassault, the U.S. behemoths Boeing and Lockheed Martin, and Russia's RSK MiG.

In 2012, India named Dassault the winner of the tender, which called for the localized production of all but 18 of the 126 aircraft under the arm of India's largest aerospace firm, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). Rafales were chosen in part because they were thought to be cheaper to produce and operate than other options.
But Dassault based its bid on incomplete pricing information that did not take into account the cost of outfitting and operating the fighters over their entire operational lifetime.
Over the course of three years of negotiations, the value of the contract has since swollen to $20 billion, and is now threatened by allegations surfacing in the Indian press that Dassault intentionally misled the defense ministry over the price.  
Canceling the deal with France would be a reasonable next step, said Topychkanov,
"[Dassault] has not demonstrated any progress, and for India this deal was extremely important for the innovation of their aerospace industry — they cannot wait for years to get new warplanes."
Neither Dassault nor the Indian defense ministry could be reached for contact by The Moscow Times.

Pakistan To Buy Jet Engines Directly From Russia

Pakistan will directly import engines from Russia to manufacture its JF-17 Thunder fighter jets. The engines were earlier imported via China.

According to sources in ministry of defence production, China has recently issued no objection certificate (NOC) to Pakistan, which was earlier producing the fighter jet as a joint venture with China.

“The Chinese NOC now allows Pakistan to import fighter jet engines from Russia directly,” a source said. “This will not only reduce the cost of production of the fighter jet but will also lead to enhanced defence cooperation between Russia and Pakistan.”

Islamabad and Moscow had recently agreed to boost cooperation in several spheres including that of defence during the recent Russian defence minister’s visit to Pakistan. “This is a significant move since Pakistan had never struck any direct defence deal with Russia,” the sources said.


“Russia was clearly tilted towards India and the new Russian policy towards Pakistan is seen as a coup pulled by the country’s foreign policy.

Argentina To Buy 20 Chinese-Made FC-1 Xiaolong fighter Jets

Pakistan/China likely to get first customer.

Argentina and China signed deal for 20 FC-1 fighter aircraft in order to increase aerial capabilities of the Argentina. The move, which further raised tensions in the South Atlantic last night, follows a three-day visit by President Kristina de Kirchner to Beijing last week, in which Argentina secured 15 economic agreements and significant financial investment to bolster its failing economy.

It comes after a decision by Buenos Aires to abandon talks with Vladimir Putin to secure 12 Sukhoi Su-24 'Fencer" bombers.
Last night sources told the Sunday Express that the deal with Russia, revealed by the Sunday Express in September, had stalled after a series of delays and concerns over post-sale maintenance.

However, that failure will see Argentina now take delivery of 20 of the Chinese-made fighter jets.

In a "working group" formed by the two countries, Beijing agreed to supply around 20 FC-1 fighter jets produced by the Chengdu Aircraft Corporation.

FC-1 Xiaolong
FC-1 Xiaolong

The CAC FC-1 Xiaolong (Fierce Dragon), or PAC JF-17 Thunder, is a light-weight, single-engine, multi-role combat aircraft developed jointly by the Pakistan Air Force, the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and the Chengdu Aircraft Industries Corporation (CAC) of China. Its designation "JF-17 Thunder" by Pakistan is short for "Joint Fighter-17", while the designation "FC-1 Xiaolong" by China means "Fighter China-1 Fierce Dragon".

Russian Fear of U.S. Hypersonic Missiles Threatens New Arms Race

While conflict between the United States and Russia over Ukraine has raised talk of a new Cold War, another feature of that era has also begun to re-emerge — the missile race.
A new arms rivalry between Russia and the United States is heating up as the two major military powers rush to develop a new class of hypersonic, non-nuclear missiles that can strike any target on the globe within one hour of launch with devastating accuracy.
The United States is leading the chase for the new weapons, which Russia firmly believes poses a significant threat to its own nuclear missile forces. 

"Russia considers this trend as a path to obtaining [non-nuclear] means of depriving Russia of its deterrent capability," Dr. Eugene Miasnikov, director of the Moscow-based Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies told The Moscow Times.
Russia's sensitivity to threats to its nuclear deterrence could lead it to mistake a hypersonic missile launch as the opening moves of a larger attack, some analysts say, arguing that the weapons are so destabilizing that their mere development could spark a nuclear war between major powers.

Hypersonic Weapons 101

Hypersonic missiles are being developed in the United States as part of the Conventional Prompt Global Strike program, a loosely defined Department of Defense initiative to develop the capability to accurately hit targets with non-nuclear intercontinental missiles in record time.
The idea has its roots in U.S. post-9/11 counter-terrorism strategy, when the United States decided it needed the capability to hit targets as soon as they had been located.
To date, a reported $1 billion has been spent on the Conventional Prompt Global Strike program. A few billion dollars more would likely be needed to attain true hypersonic capability, according to James Acton, a senior associate in the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
The most prominent example of hypersonic weapons currently in development are so-called "boost-glide" weapons.
These are missiles that, instead of arcing into space before coming down on their target, are fired at a shallow trajectory that barely exits the atmosphere. After reaching a hypersonic speed, the missile's warhead is released and glides the rest of the way to its objective.
As the weapon begins to glide, its relatively shallow angle of approach makes it extremely difficult to track and defend against — a detail Russia's leadership finds troubling. 

Russia's Planning On Upgraded Nuclear Submarines

Russia is apparently planning an enlarged naval fleet.

12 Project 955 "Borei" submaines. Eight 955s have been ordered under the SAP 2020. Four more are planned after 2020.

The Borei has a compact and integrated hydrodynamically efficient hull for reduced broadband noise and the first ever use of pump-jet propulsion on a Russian nuclear submarine. The Borei submarines are approximately 170 metres (560 ft) long. They have a maximum submerged speed of at least 46 kilometres per hour (25 kn; 29 mph). They are equipped with a floating rescue chamber designed to fit in the whole crew. Smaller than the Typhoon-class, the Boreis were initially slated to carry 12 missiles but are able to carry 4 more due to the decrease in mass of the 36-ton Bulava SLBM (a modified version of the Topol-M ICBM) over the originally proposed R-39UTTH Bark. Cost is some 23 bln RUR ($890 million USD), in comparison the cost of an Ohio-class SSBN was around 2 billion USD per boat (1997 prices).

Borei submarines
Borei submarines

 A fifth generation successor to the 955 submarine is already in development It will carry cruise missiles and ballastic missiles.

 Russia is also building multipurpose nuclear-powered ships called Project 885 "Ash". These are quite large (almost submerged displacement of less than 14 thousand tons) submarine. The Yasen-class submarine is a Russian nuclear multipurpose attack submarine. It is based on the Akula-class submarine and the Alfa-class submarines. It is projected to replace Russia's Soviet-era attack submarines, both Akula and Oscar-class submarines.
The Yasen design is claimed to be state-of-the-art. The Yasen-class nuclear submarine is presumed to be armed with cruise missiles

The main part of the 2020s for the 2020s will the construction of at least 12 "destroyers" (and in fact - missile cruisers) in project "Leader". This large (displacement of about 15,000 tons) universal missile ships will have nuclear or gas turbine power plant, equipped with a wide range of both shock and defensive weapons.

The Sino-Russian 20+ ton Heavy-lift Helicopter Project

During the Wenchuan Earthquake in 2008, an all-red Russian-made M-26 helicopter, the largest helicopter in the world, was frequently seen on TV. It lifted a large number of badly-needed goods and materials to the disaster-hit areas, impressing the public.

However, there were only two M-26 helicopters in China at that time, and they were the only helicopters that were able to lift those lifesaving heavy-duty machines.

The pain of Wenchuan is also the pain of the helicopter industry in China. After that, China began to speed up the development of heavy helicopters, and China and Russia's joint development of heavy helicopters has become a hot spot.

An insider from the military industry system of Russia said in an interview that the heavy helicopter being jointly developed by China and Russia is slightly smaller than the M-26 helicopter. With China's needs taken into full consideration, it is usable at high altitude, reported Interfax, the Russian news agency.

Sino-Russian 20+ ton Heavy-lift Helicopter
Sino-Russian 20+ ton Heavy-lift Helicopter

With the help of Russia who possesses strong technical strength in helicopters, this advanced heavy helicopter tailor-made for China is taking shape.

In as early as 2010, Andrei Shibitov, Chief Executive Officer of the Russian Helicopters, declared at a news conference that Russia and China would jointly develop 30-35 tonnage helicopters.

The reports in recent years show that such heavy helicopter jointly developed by China and Russia becomes smaller but more practical.

Russia Exercises With Il-76 Bombers

The Russian Air Force  has performed bomb-carrying trials with its Ilyushin Il-76 'Candid' strategic transport aircraft, the company announced on 30 January.

In the exercise, which took place in the Tver region of the country north of Moscow, an Il-76MD was fitted with P-50T practice bombs on four underwing hardpoints.
Il-76 'Bombers
Il-76 'Bombers
The modification is geared at enabling the aircraft to operate on unprepared and unfamiliar airfields behind enemy lines. The crews will first visually inspect the airfield using flares, before dropping bombs ahead of landing with troops on board. "Bombing is performed at a speed of 500 km / h at altitudes of 500 to 1,000 m (1,650 ft to 3,280 ft)," a company statement said.

Pakistan Tests Ra'ad ALCM

Pakistan successfully tested what it described as the "indigenously developed" Ra'ad air-launched cruise missile (ALCM) on 2 February, according to an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement.

The 4.85 m-long, nuclear-capable Ra'ad was launched from an undisclosed air platform and was the fifth successful test firing to be announced. All previous tests, the most recent of which was on 31 May 2012, were conducted using an upgraded Dassault Mirage III ROSE aircraft.

The 350 km-range missile enables Pakistan to achieve "strategic standoff capability" on land and at sea, the Pakistan Army said.
Pakistan Tests Ra'ad ALCM
Pakistan Tests Ra'ad ALCM

Lieutenant General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, director general of the Strategic Plans Division, described it as a major step towards strengthening Pakistan's full spectrum credible minimum deterrence. This is aimed at achieving strategic stability in the region, he added.

Russian Helicopters JSC is Developing a 5th Generation Stealth Helicopter

According to Russian media, Russian Helicopters JSC is developing a 5th generation stealth helicopter.
“Two of the major designing offices in the country, Mil and Kamov have two different versions of it: Mil is proposing an one-rotor craft while Kamov a two-rotor version”, commented Mr. Shibitov (Executive Counselor).

Russian 5th Generation Stealth Helicopter

While details have not been made public, the general requirements by the military are estimated to be the following:
-low observability
-two pilots (tandem configuration, possibly)
-long range
-intelligent weapon control system
-fighting against aircrafts
-max speed of 500-600 km/h
-ground analysis systems for trails of passing vehicles or troops
-artificial intelligence

Russia Agrees To Supply Mi-28 Gunships Helicopters To Pakistan

China 's PLA Navy Aims To Control Indian Ocean

The People’s Liberation Army Navy is preparing for a permanent deployment to the Indian Ocean and plans to use dual-use ports as secret ammunition caches and to support military operations, according to a piece in Washington-based National Interest.
The US magazine said China aims to dominate the Indian Ocean after Beijing deployed amphibious ship the Changbaishan and a nuclear submarine to the region. The country has attempted to establish itself as a maritime player in the Indian Ocean by increasing anti-piracy deployments, naval exercises and investments in maritime infrastructure projects. These activities raised concerns on whether Beijing will adopt more aggressive maritime strategies in the future.

The PLA Navy’s submarines docked at the port of Colombo in Sri Lanka twice last year and China is said to have established military facilities in the country. Beijing also holds a controlling stake in Hambantota port in the southeast of the country. With the shares, Chinese state-owned companies gained the operating rights of the port’s four berths from Sri Lanka, which got an easing of loan conditions in exchange.

Although Beijing has said that these activities are part of their Maritime Silk Road project, there have been concerns that China seeks to reinforce its “string of pearls” strategy that encircles India.

China may also set up dual-use bases in the Indian Ocean with low-level logistical support capability, which would allow Beijing to use a commercial port to support military operations during conflicts or cover up a secret ammunition cache.

Although the PLA denied that it has ever set up such base, the Republic of Seychelles is said to have offered its port for Chinese ships combating pirates in the Gulf of Aden and the West Indian Ocean in 2011.

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