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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Goodrich lands Northrop Grumman deal

Goodrich Corp. has won a supply contract from Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding for parts on eight Virginia-class fast-attack nuclear submarines.

The agreement comprises the design and manufacture of sail cusps, which are composite structures attached to a submarine’s sail and hull. The product enables water to flow smoothly over the submarine’s surface, improving hydrodynamic performance.

Delivery is scheduled to start in the second quarter of next year.

Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, a unit of Los Angeles-based Northrop Grumman Corp. (NYSE:NOC), includes the former Northrop Grumman Ship Systems and Northrop Grumman Newport News shipbuilding segments.

Charlotte-based Goodrich (NYSE:GR) is a global supplier of systems and services to the aerospace and defense sectors.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Raytheon to develop SWIR sensor for next-generation photonics mast on Navy attack submarines

Electro-optical engineers at Raytheon Vision Systems in Goleta, Calif., are developing advanced short wave infrared (SWIR) hyperspectral imaging sensor technology for the next-generation photonics mast on U.S. Navy Virginia-class fast attack submarines under terms of a $7.4 million contract announced Tuesday.

Raytheon is doing the work as part of the Affordable Modular Panoramic Photonics Mast program. Navy researchers say they expect Raytheon to enhance the current state of art in SWIR imaging by proving higher resolution, area coverage, and sensitivity than is available today.

Awarding the contract are officials of the Office of Naval Research (ONR) in Arlington, Va.

The Affordable Modular Panoramic Photonics Mast program seeks to eliminate the need for mast rotational assemblies and related components, achieve 360-degree "quick look" search time that is five times faster than is available today, and develop SWIR detection and tracking capability under degraded and restricted conditions, Navy researchers say.

For the next-generation submarine photonics mast, Raytheon will develop a SWIR hyperspectral sensor in the 1-to-1.7-micron band that is able to track hostile targets with intermittent contact, as well as to track friendly targets marked with RF microchips or with chemical or physical markers.

Turkish submarine program in place, Greece to sell one

While senior Turkish and Greek officials have voiced a wish to reduce their countries' defense spending, Ankara's major Navy modernization programs, including a multibillion-dollar deal to buy new submarines, remain in place.

The initiative to reduce military spending took off last month when Turkish state minister for EU affairs, Egemen Bağış, suggested the two neighbors cut defense spending.

"Greece doesn’t need new tanks or missiles or submarines or fighter planes; neither does Turkey. It’s time to cut military expenditure throughout the world, but especially between Turkey and Greece," he said in an interview with the Financial Times. "Neither Greece nor Turkey needs German nor French submarines."

The Athens government is presently experiencing a punishing financial crisis, while Ankara was only partly affected by the 2008 and 2009 global economic crisis. The combined Turkish and Greek defense spending in 2008 was 18.4 billion euros, according to NATO (6.9 billion euros for Greece, or 2.8 percent of its gross domestic product, or GDP; and 11.9 billion euros for Turkey, or 1.8 percent of its GDP).

Confidence-building measures

But nearly 15 years after the two former foes almost went to war over a sovereignty dispute in the Aegean, they have agreed on a fresh set of confidence-building measures, including strengthening contacts between their militaries.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and acting Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas earlier this month agreed in talks here on a number of confidence-building measures. "These measures will help bring our countries, peoples and armies closer," Droutsas said. "We should allocate our budgets not to arms, but health, education and welfare," Davutoğlu said at a joint news conference on April 8.

The latest measures include joint training programs at Greek and Turkish facilities within the framework of NATO's 22-member Peace for Partnership program. The contacts would also include visits by each other's chiefs of staff to give lectures at military academies, conduct joint research and visit staff colleges.

But there are still problems facing mutual disarmament. Turkey and Greece have territorial disputes in the Aegean and diverging views over Cyprus. The territorial disputes include differences on the sizes of territorial waters, airspace and continental shelf. The two neighbors' navy modernization programs are mostly designed to counter potential threats from each other.

Rival submarine deals

While some political obstacles remain in place, Turkey's defense modernization programs, including major Navy deals, are continuing as planned.

The Turkish Navy will buy six modern submarines, built by Germany's HDW shipyards and Turkish partners. The U-214 type submarines will cost nearly 2 billion euros under a contract signed last summer.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Malaysia inks defence deals worth $3.24 bn at DSA '10

Malaysia has signed defence contracts worth RM10.355 billion (USD 3.24 billion) at the ongoing Defence Services Asia 2010 exhibition here to acquire a number of defence equipment and systems from domestic and international companies.

The deals include eight contracts, five MoUs, three letters of acceptance and four letters of intent, Malaysian official news agency Bernama said.

Among the major agreements is an RM128.5 million deal for the Royal Malaysian Navy to acquire Scorpene-type submarine navigation safety, combat systems, sensors and periscope simulator.

Another RM100 million contract, signed during the international defence exhibition, is for the supply of articles, services and technical assistance for the SU-30MKM (Sukhoi) aircraft which the country is acquiring from Russia.

Deals have also been signed to get helicopters, tanks and a range of arms and artillery for the Malaysian Army, the news agency said.

TNI-AL Tender Ulang Pengadaan Kapal Selam

TNI Angkatan Laut menender ulang pengadaan dua kapal baru dan prosesnya sekarang sudah dimulai dengan sejumlah perusahaan telah mengajukan penawaran.

Ketika dikonfirmasi ANTARA di Jakarta, Rabu, Kepala Staf Angkatan Laut Laksamana TNI Agus Suhartono mengatakan, karena rencana pengadaan sebelumnya belum disetujui maka pihaknya melakukan tender ulang terhadap pengadaan dua kapal selam tersebut.

"Ya sudah dimulai, dan pesertanya bisa dari pemain-pemain lama atau baru. Kami tidak tahu, yang jelas kami lakukan tender ulang karena kapal selam ini memang sangat kami butuhkan," katanya, usai menghadiri Forum Strategi TNI Angkatan Laut 2010.

Pengadaan dua unit kapal selam itu dibiayai fasilitas Kredit Ekspor (KE) senilai 700 juta dollar Amerika Serikat, yang diperoleh dari fasilitas pinjaman luar negeri di Anggaran Pendapatan dan Belanja Negara (APBN) tahun 2004-2009. "Kami sudah tentukan spesifikasi teknisnya, serta kemampuan dan efek penggentar yang lebih dari yang dimiliki negara tetangga, kata Kasal.

Pada tender pertama,d ari empat negara produsen kapal selam yang mengajukan tawaran produk mereka, seperti Jerman, Perancis, Korea Selatan, dan Rusia, TNI Angkatan Laut telah menetapkan dua negara produsen sesuai kebutuhan yaitu Korea Selatan dan Rusia.

Submarine builder axes 41 jobs

 Submarine builder ASC has announced it will retrench 41 staff.

The company has merged its submarine and ship building divisions.

Redundancies at the Adelaide-based firm, formerly known as the Australian Submarine Corporation, were announced on Wednesday morning.

Another 34 vacant positions were also abolished.

Chief executive Steve Ludlam said the reduction in staff numbers "while necessary was regrettable".

"Wherever possible we have taken into account attrition rates and abolished vacant positions in an effort to retain as many employees as possible, but unfortunately we could not retain everyone," he said in a statement.

ASC previously had a contract to build the Collins Class submarines.

Following the redundancies, ASC will have 1500 workers.

But it says it will need another 300 employees during the next three years to build the Hobart Class air warfare destroyers.

Israel builds up deep-sea navy

Israel is building up its navy and it's looking to Germany to provide the warships, most notably two advanced corvettes and two, possibly three, more Dolphin-class attack submarines, that will transform it from a coastal force to a deep-water navy.

Until now, the navy has been largely confined to the Mediterranean countering the naval forces of Syria, Egypt and the Maghreb states further east, with occasional forays into the Red Sea.

The objective of the expansion program clearly seems to be to increase the navy's reach to counter Iran, which Israel views as its primary adversary because of its buildup of ballistic missiles and its alleged drive to develop nuclear weapons.

The main focus of the naval expansion program is negotiations with Germany to buy two MEKO A-100 corvettes from the Blohm+Voss shipyard in Hamburg. Jane's Defense Weekly says the 2,500-ton, 280-foot MEKOs would be adapted to carry Israeli-made systems.

The warships, which carry crews of 94, have a range of 4,635 miles, a top speed of 30 knots and advanced radar-evading capability. They carry one medium-size helicopter and 24 weapons systems -- 16 ship-to-shore and eight anti-ship missile launchers adapted to U.S. weapons as well as air-defense missiles and automatic cannon.

The Israeli navy had shown interest in Lockheed Martin's Littoral Combat Ship to fit its requirement for a new missile ship to be categorized as Saar 5.5. But the U.S. vessel was considered too expensive at $600 million. The MEKO variant sought by Israel costs an estimated $300 million.

Negotiations with the Germans began in October 2007 when Israeli Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi visited Berlin.

The Israelis want a discount on the proposed MEKO deal of 20-30 percent, said Jane's.

The Germans are already funding one-third of the total cost, estimated at $1.4 billion, of two 1,900-ton Dolphin submarines, based on Germany's Type 212A boat currently on order.

These were ordered in 2006 and are scheduled for delivery starting in 2012 to the submarine base at Haifa. That will bolster the Israeli navy's sub strength to five.

The subs, the most expensive weapons platforms in Israel's arsenal, have a range of 2,810 miles. However there were reports in October 2009 that their fuel capacity had been increased to keep the vessels at sea for 50 days without refueling.

German opposition parties, including the Social Democrats, have expressed misgivings about exporting weapons to crisis zones. But the 2006 order for two Dolphins was approved while the Democrats were part of a coalition government.

Defensive posture

The case for Trident is strong but it still needs to be made

The Trident nuclear deterrent is fast becoming a sort of holy grail in the national debate about how to reduce the deficit. Wilder and wilder figures for its lifetime cost are being bandied around, as those with a prior hostility to Trident leap on the poor state of the public finances as a pretext for scrapping it. Britain’s responsibility to be a force for stability in the world seems to be regarded, by some, as alarmingly dispensable.

At most, Trident represents 5 per cent of current defence spending, (including capital and running costs and the cost of the Atomic Weapons Establishment). Yet the more that money is tight, the more the justification for all expenditure, including Trident, must be sound. The question that needs to be asked is this: is a ballistic-missile submarine system the best and most appropriate use of this part of the defence budget?

Writing in The Times today, four respected retired generals sound a sceptical note. They argue that the programme to replace Trident should not automatically be protected but must be included in the Strategic Defence Review that all parties are committed to holding after the election. They make two main arguments. The first is financial. With the defence budget likely to be cut after the election, they argue that it is important to include a weapon that has a “significant” cost when everything else is up for grabs. They fear that money spent on new nuclear weapons will not be available to support troops, frontline equipment or crucial counter-terrorism work.

Their second reason is that changes in the international context, in particular the multilateral disarmament process being led by President Obama, are a reason to reconsider what relevance a nuclear arsenal has to modern warfare.

There are distinguished voices on both sides of this debate. It is a finely balanced one. Part of the problem is in anticipating what threats Britain might face in the future. Failed and rogue states abound in the world, and state failure is increasingly coupled with nuclear capability. That is why France still spends almost a quarter of its defence budget on nuclear weaponry, and has no intention of stopping. It is why the British Government’s decision to renew Trident was a realistic assessment of future threats.

Monday, April 19, 2010

BrahMos ready for launch from submarines

The Indo-Russian joint venture BrahMos cruise missile is ready for launch from underwater platform to enable it to be used in a submarine, the Lok Sabha was informed today.

Defence Minister A K Antony, in a written reply, told the House that the missile, which can hit targets 290 km away, had recently proved its capability to be launched vertically from a naval warship and manoeuvred to hit the target ship, thereby meeting the Navy's requirements.

BrahMos, the world's only supersonic cruise missile that touches speeds of 2.8 Mach, was developed initially as an anti-ship version for launch from ship-to-ship for the Indian Navy and inducted into service, he said

Later, land-to-land version was developed for the Army and Air Force, he said, noting that this version was already inducted into the Army and is under production for both the Army and Air Force.

Experts suggest possible attack by N.K. submarine

With an external explosion being cited as the most likely cause of the sinking of the Cheonan, allegations are growing that a torpedo, fired by a North Korean submarine, could have caused the disaster.

Experts say that given the shallowness of the waters near the western inter-Korean maritime border, a 325-ton shark-class submarine could have entered South Korean waters undetected.

Rep. Kim Hak-song of the ruling Grand National Party who chairs the National Assembly’s defense committee said on April 5 that he was briefed by the military that movements of two shark-class submarines at the North’s naval base in Bipagot -- some 80 kilometers north of Baengnyeong Island -- were detected before and after the incident occurred on March 26.

Kim also said the whereabouts of one of the submarines was not verified, fueling speculation that a North Korean submarine entered the South’s waters and fired a torpedo at the Cheonan, which was traveling 1.8 kilometers southwest of Baengnyeong Island.

If a shark-class submarine traveling at 13 kilometers per hour had come from Bipagot, it would have taken six to seven hours to reach the waters near Baengnyeong Island.

To avoid being detected by the South’s surveillance, the submarine might have operated only underwater. However, experts say that the submarine should come above the water periodically for air.

“It depends on how many people are aboard the vessel. The submarine should come above the water to emit carbon dioxide created by crewmembers inside,” a submarine expert told The Korea Herald on condition of anonymity.

Experts believe that if the North’s submarine had infiltrated the South’s waters, it might have moved from the waters far west of Baengnyeong Island rather than taking a route between the island and the North’s province of Hwanghae.

They believe that the North’s submarine could not take the route because of the tidal currents between the island and the province and the South’s military has been tightening its security along the route.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

nuclear no-show is victory for Arab pressure

Israel is estimated to have 150-200 atomic bombs, deliverable by aircraft, missile or submarine. Photograph: Havakuk Levison/Reuters

Binyamin Netanyahu's decision not to take part in next week's nuclear security summit in the US will be seen as a victory for mounting Arab and Muslim pressure on Israel over its most controversial and secret weapon.

Egypt has long campaigned on the issue of Israel's atomic arsenal. Last month the Arab League called on the UN to declare the Middle East a nuclear-free zone. Saudi Arabia has been active too. Turkey also backs this demand as it offers to mediate between the west and Iran over Tehran's nuclear programme.

Israel, constantly highlighting the danger from Iran, is estimated to have 150 to 200 atomic bombs, deliverable by aircraft, missile or submarine. Its programme was developed after France built a nuclear reactor at Dimona in the Negev desert in the 1950s. The so-called Samson option was seen by Israel's first generation of leaders as designed to prevent another Holocaust – its bombs reportedly bearing the slogan "never again".

Israel, unlike Iran or Saddam Hussein's Iraq, never signed the 1970 nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT), which allows countries to develop civilian nuclear power in exchange for forgoing weapons – supposedly the preserve of the five permanent members of the UN security council.

India, Pakistan and North Korea have swelled the ranks of the weapons states, but unlike them, Israel has never come out of the closet, preferring a policy of so-called nuclear ambiguity – keeping its enemies guessing. Israel's official line has always been that it would not be the first to use nuclear weapons in the Middle East.

Fears about Iran's nuclear ambitions have reinforced domestic support and perhaps international tolerance for Israel retaining its arsenal. In diplomatic terms, this has long been a no-go area for the US, Britain and other western countries. But the focus on Iran has also boosted Arab demands for a regional approach to disarmament.

Last September, for the first time in 18 years, Israel, the US and other powers failed to prevent passage of a resolution by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) calling on Israel to sign the NPT and open up Dimona to international inspectors.

Egypt played a key role in negotiating the NPT in the 1960s and tried but failed to link the renewal of the treaty in 1995 to the creation of a nuclear-free zone. Syria, an ally of Iran, denies harbouring nuclear weapons ambitions, a issue that was dramatically highlighted in 2007 when Israeli warplanes destroyed an alleged reactor on the Euphrates.

"There is widespread resentment in the region towards the NPT and what it seeks to achieve, its double standards and lack of political will," Egypt's UN ambassador, Hisham Badr, said recently. "We in the Middle East feel we have, short of better word, been tricked into giving concessions for promises that never materialised."