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JSF international: the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is gearing up for the next phase of the program, which will carry it through the next three to four decades.

During a meeting of the partner countries involved in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (ISF) program in Canada in mid-May, progress was made towards the next step in the development of the new-generation fighter aircraft.


Currently in the System Design and Demonstration (SDD) phase, the program is now looking ahead to the Production, Sustainment, and Follow-On Development (PSFD) phase, which, according to John Schreiber, director of international programs at the JSF program office in Washington, DC, will carry the international partnership over the next 30 to 40 years.

As part of the SDD MOU, the US and the eight partner nations on the JSF program--the UK, Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Canada, Turkey, and Australia--meet on a semiannual basis, with hosting duties rotated among the various partner nations, to receive updates from the JSF program office and to discuss current program issues. Schreiber characterized the meeting of the JSF executive committee in Canada as "very successful," with much of the discussion focusing on negotiations, set to start in late May, for a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the PSFD phase of the program. Along with providing a framework for the continuation of the partnership for the next three to four decades, the MOU for the PSFD phase will also serve as the vehicle by the partner nations procure the aircraft, and it will also establish the parameters for life-cycle support and sustainment of the program over that period of time. "Our gameplan is to conclude those negotiations and have a signed MOU by December of '06," Schreiber said.

Schreiber acknowledged, however, that some of the partner nations may not be prepared to fully commit to the PSFD phase and potential subsequent procurement of the JSF. For this reason, he said, the MOU will provide a certain degree of flexibility so that those nations could join at a later date through an accession amendment.

Partners in Development

The JSF program includes the US and the eight partner nations, along with Israel and Singapore, which signed on as a Security Cooperation Participant in 2003 (see "Israel, Singapore to Participate in JSF Program"), all joined in the development of a family of aircraft that will include short-takeoff/vertical-landing (STOVL) and conventional-takeoff-and-landing (CTOL), as well as a carrier variant (CV). According to Schreiber, the aircraft will cost somewhere between $45 million and $60 million, with the CTOL at the lower end and the CV up around the top end.

But it's not just the relatively reasonable cost of this next-generation aircraft that has made it so attractive outside the US. From the very beginning, the US encouraged other countries to join the development program. "From the very beginning," Schreiber said, "we created an international business strategy that would bring countries into the SDD program and give them some benefits and exposure to the program so they can make a smart procurement decision downstream."

The level of participation on the program is based on the amount of funding each country has put into the program. Contributing $2 billion to the SDD effort earned the UK level-one status. At level two are Italy and the Netherlands, which each pitched in funding in the neighborhood of $1 billion, according to Schreiber. The remaining five international partners have been granted level-three status, with contributions ranging from about $125 million to $175 million (which is the amount contributed by Turkey).

Based on these levels of participation, each country is granted different levels of insight and influence on the program, actually putting their own personnel into the JSF program office, working side by side with the US. "The more people you have in the program office," Schreiber noted, "the more insight, understanding, and influence on the program you might have."

The UK, as a level-one partner, initially put 10 people into the program office (though that number has since grown). At level one, the UK is also a signatory to the JSF's operational-requirements document (ORD), which directs the development of the aircraft. When any changes are made to the ORD, not only must those changes be accepted by the individual US services involved in the program (the US Air Force, Navy, and Marines), but the UK Ministry of Defense (MoD) must agree to them as well. The UK, to date, is also the only country outside the US to commit to procuring the JSF, with plans to acquire about 150 STOVL variants to replace its Royal Navy Sea Harrier and Royal Air Force Harrier.


The level-two participants--Italy and the Netherlands--are not signatories to the ORD, but they do get to put three to five people in the program office and at positions of greater influence than the countries at level three. The partner countries at level three got to put one person each into the program office, and they are basically designated as those countries' "national deputies," Schreiber said.

Another benefit to participation on the program, Schreiber pointed out, is that when the F-35 is sold to third parties (i.e., those not involved in the aircraft's development) through the US Foreign Military Sales program in the future, the partner nations will receive a cut of the deal--strictly a monetary benefit. Although the exact formula for determining the size of each partner's cut has yet to be negotiated, Schreiber said that, in theory, it will be based on each country's level of participation in the development program.

The International Beg-a-thon

Another benefit of participation on the JSF program--and one that Schreiber said was heavily discussed at last week's meeting in Canada--is industrial participation. He said all of the partner nations want more work on the program for their companies.

Technically, this work is not in the form of offsets. Schreiber said the JSF program looked at offsets on past programs and decided that they were "economically artificial." Instead of taking the offset route, Schreiber said the program office decided on a "best-value concept" for contracting work. "Even though the countries are partnering with us." Schreiber explained, "we look at their industries first. These industries have to be competitive to provide best value to the program, or they won't win the work."

However, according to Richard Aboulafia, aerospace analyst at the Teal Group (Fairfax, VA), this arrangement is "slowly degenerating into a beg-a-thon." Despite the JSF program office's hopes of doing away with offset demands, Aboulafia said the JSF program "has actually engendered nothing but industrial greed" and that there appears no way to reconcile "best value" with strategic sourcing contracts. Nevertheless, he said, "there's enough work going out to keep most of the players happy.

Schreiber acknowledged that all of the partner nations--even the UK--are still pushing for more work on the program. This desire for an increased share of the industrial pie, combined with increased costs and an 18-month slip in the SDD program, has sometimes led politicians in those countries--and frequently those in opposition parties--to question their participation on the F-35 program, to "stir the pot," as Schreiber put it. But he called such questions "par for the course."

Following the meeting in Canada in mid-May, Schreiber characterized the partnership as very strong. "Everybody still wants to play in the program, and we're working very hard to keep the partnership intact," he said.

Issues With Israel

While international participation is holding steady among most countries involved in the JSF program, a sticking point has come up with Israel. In a DoD press conference on April 21, it was stated that Israel was being sidelined on the program because, according to Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Lawrence Di Rita, "There are some types of technology and information that at the moment we're not comfortable sharing while some issues can be worked out."

The issues in question are Israeli arms and technology transfers to China, according to Aboulafia, who called the effective suspension of Israel from the JSF program "a shot across the bow." He also said it "falls under the heading of fairness to Europe," because the US has been insistent upon Europe maintaining the arms embargo against China, so it would be hypocritical if this insistence didn't apply to Israel as well.

Israel still maintains a small program office, with a staff of three, in a building adjacent to the DoD's JSF program office in Washington, DC. The Israeli staff, however, is not integrated into the JSF program office. While Schreiber would not address the larger security issues between the US and Israel, he said that the current situation is not "business as usual. "The JSF program office, he explained, has been receiving questions regarding the program from the Israeli representatives in Washington, and the program office is preparing answers, just not providing those answers to the Israelis yet. Schreiber stressed that the LOA signed between the US and Israel back in 2003 has not been terminated. Indeed. Lockheed Martin is still moving forward with studies, contracted by the JSF program office, looking at some unique systems--for example, weapons, electronic-warfare systems, communications--that Israel would like to fit to its JSFs (see "JSF Going Global, But Will Its EW Suite?"), but none of this information is being passed along to Israel. "We're stacking these up," Schreiber said, "and once this larger security issue gets resolved between the two countries, we'll release that information to them. Right now, basically, they are not getting any new information."

Schreiber also expressed the hope that the issues between the US and Israel get resolved soon. The JSF program office has told Israel that it could begin getting F-35s in the 2014 timeframe. In order to make that happen, Israel needs to get certain information, and the JSF program office needs to start shaping the Israeli configuration of the aircraft. If the current situation between the two countries continues to drag on much longer--longer than, say, the next six to eight months--getting aircraft to Israel in 2014 could be jeopardized, Schreiber said.

JSF on the Global Marketplace

That said, however, Schreiber said that, based on the program office's understanding of the needs of current partners, as well as those of the US services, as of today, the capacity is there to meet those needs, pending any possible future slippage on the program, of course. In fact, he noted that there are even some slots available in 2014 for countries not already participating on the program. "We could actually start delivering aircraft to some other countries, if somebody expresses an interest in that," he said.

And what other countries might be interested in acquiring the JSF? According to Schreiber, the program office has already held talks with Spain, which, like Italy, is building a new aircraft carrier and plans to employ STOVL aircraft from the new ship. "If they're going to put a STOVL aircraft on that carrier--and they're sizing it to that--there's only one option for them, and that's the STOVL version of the Joint Strike Fighter," Schreiber said," because no one else is producing a STOVL airplane."

In addition to Spain, South Korea, Japan, and Greece have expressed interest in the Joint Strike Fighter.

To date, then, the JSF has attracted, outside the US, eight partner nations, to Security Cooperation participants, and the interest of at least four other countries. With other new-generation fighters already available (the Gripen and Eurofighter Typhoon) and others about to enter the market (Rafale, F/A-22, and possibly the Su-34), why so much interest in the JSF in particular? Schreiber called the JSF "the best show in town" from an affordability standpoint. "If you're looking at a highly capable platform at a very good initial procurement cost and a low life-cycle cost, compared to the international competition, the JSF is your aircraft of choice," he claimed, adding that "there's nothing out there even close to what we're advertising."

And the JSF program is advertising quite a bit. The question will be whether or not the JSF can live up to that advertising.--Brendan Rivers

Production of Russian Su-34 Relaunched

Serial production of the Su-34 has begun, according to the general director of the Novosibirsk Aviation Company (NAPO) (Novosibirsk, Russia), which is part of Sukhoi consortium.

Officially, the first serial Su-34 flew on Dec. 20, 2003, but production of subsequent aircraft ended immediately thereafter. According to Russian Air Force plans from 2003, 10 production Su-34 aircraft were to be delivered by the end of 2005. But in a March 31, 2005, announcement, general director Aleksandr Bobryshev Bobryshev revised the projection to five aircraft to be delivered to the Russian Air Force by 2006. He also said that the aircraft have passed all factory and state trials, and that full-scale production has been authorized.

Thus, production of the Su-34 had been officially relaunched rather than launched. The current plans for production and delivery are more realistic and financing remains stable, so it is unlikely that the production will be interrupted again. The achievement is notable because the Su-34 is the first new type of combat aircraft to enter production for the Russian Air Force since the collapse of the Soviet Union.


Work on the aircraft, known initially as the Su-271B (Istrebityel-Bombardirovshchik, or fighter-bomber) started at Sukhoi OKB in 1983. The official decision to launch development of the aircraft was made jointly by the Communist Party Central Committee and the Minister Council of the Soviet Union on June 19, 1986. It was an outgrowth of plans to reorganize the Soviet Air Force using new concepts of operations. After a new generation of aircraft (the Su-27, MiG-29, Su-25, and Su-24) had been introduced to service in quantity, it was decided that "light" fighter-bomber aviation, using Su-17s and MiG-27s, would be deleted from the order of battle. The role of such aircraft was to be undertaken by multirole versions of fighters, and the Su-27M (later known as the Su-35 and its developed version, the Su-37) and the MiG-29M are examples of this. To balance the force, it was decided that a successor to the Su-24 tactical bomber would be required, and this new type would have some secondary fighter capabilities. The aircraft would be based on the Su-27 airframe and was to have a range of 3,000 km on internal fuel, equal to the range of an Su-24 with two external tanks. The new aircraft initially was to have a tandem cockpit for the two-man crew.

Rollan G. Martisov directed the development effort at Sukhoi OKB. The design team quickly discovered that providing for the required internal fuel would be impossible, so they developed a radically different airframe with a side-by-side cockpit, like that of the Su-24, with the pilot's position on the left and the weapon-systems operator on the right. This configuration enabled a large avionics bay behind the cockpit and adequately increased the fuel capacity. From the outset, the aircraft was to be air-refuelable. Initially, the aircraft was to be powered by two AL-31 FM engines with 127.5 kN of afterburner thrust. The aircraft received 17 mm of titanium armor around the cockpit, in engine bays, and in the main fuel-tank area, for a total of about 1.5 tons of armor. It could carry three external fuel tanks, providing a range of up to 4,000 km.

After building a static test airframe (T10V-0), the first prototype, T10V-1 (nose No. 42), was flown on April 13, 1990, in Zhukovski. After initial trials and cancellation of the Sukhoi T-60S medium bomber as a replacement for the Tu-22M3, it was decided that the Su-27IB would undertake some of the Tu-22M3's "sub-strategic" missions, so the next prototype was to be adequately reworked along these lines. However, poor financing during the administration of President Boris Yeltsin undermined this effort, leading the NAPO factory to undertake further development of the Su-27IB on its own. The aircraft was unofficially (by the factory, not by the Russian Air Force) redesignated the Su-34, reflecting its primary status as a Su-24 replacement. The airframe was further reinforced to accept more fuel, avionics, and weapons. Another static test airframe (T10V-3) was built, along with a reworked second prototype, T10V-2 (nose No. 43). With a full weapons load, it had a combat radius of 600 km at low altitude and 1,150 km at medium altitude, without air refueling. T10V-2 flew for the first time on Dec. 18, 1993.

The next prototype to fly was the sixth airframe, T10V-5 (nose No. 45), which took off for the first time on Dec. 28, 1994. It was the first aircraft to receive the B004 fire-control/navigation radar developed by NPO Lenniec (St. Petersburg, Russia), a company specializing in radar systems for bomber aircraft. The B004 has a fixed, electronically scanned, phased-array antenna and is claimed to have low-probability-of-intercept (LPI) characteristics. It has several air-to-ground modes: automatic terrain following, terrain avoidance, ground mapping, ground-target acquisition/track, moving-ground-target track, and Doppler beam sharpening (DBS). It has a range of 150 km in ground-mapping mode and 75 km in DBS mode. It can track small-sized ground targets--fixed or moving--at a range of up to 30 km. In air-to-air mode, the radar can track up to 10 targets and engage up to four of them with use of R-77 active radar-homing missiles. Larger targets (such as large bombers) can be detected out to a range of about 200-250 km, and fighter-sized targets out to about 90 km. Initially, the aircraft was to have a built-in TV observation system coupled with a laser and forward-looking infrared (FLIR) camera in a pod. Later, however, TsKB Geofizyka (Moscow, Russia) developed the Platan targeting pod, with all the electro-optical devices integrated, including a second-generation FLIR sensor and a CCD TV camera, coupled with a laser rangefinder and target illuminator. The Platan pod was successfully tested for integration with Su-34 in 2004.

The first Su-34 to receive a full avionics suite was T10V-4 (nose No. 44), flown for the first time on Dec. 26, 1996. Its integrated navigation and fire-control system had embedded Glonass/GPS, a laser-gyro inertial-navigation system (INS), a powerful central computer, the B004 radar, and the Khibiny integrated electronic-warfare (EW) system. The latter consists of an electronic-support-measures (ESM) receiver working initially in the range of 2-20 GHz, though later increased to 2-40 GHz; an infrared missile-warning system, a laser-warning receiver, the Sorbtsya podded radio-frequency (RF) jammer (fixed to the wingtips), and a large set of BVP-50 (50mm) chaff/flare dispensers. The aircraft is also to have plasma stealth technology employed (which works only at supersonic speed, since high speed is necessary to create the necessary level of air ionization), but the actual status of the system remains unknown (see "Russian Stealth Research Revealed," JED, January 2004, p. 27). New AL-41F engines with 175 kN of afterburner thrust will give the aircraft super-cruise (non-afterburning supersonic cruise) capability. The self-protection system is supplemented by the NIIR N012 radar for rear-hemisphere observation, with a range of up to 40-50 km against fighter aircraft.


The next prototype, T10V-6 (nose No. 46) was flown in December 1997, followed by T10V-7 (nose No. 47) on Dec. 22, 2000. As noted above, the first production aircraft (T10V-8) was flown in December 2003.

The Su-34's weapons can be attached to 12 hardpoints, of which four are under the fuselage, six under the wings, and two on the wingtips, although the latter are almost always occupied by the Sorbtsya jammers. The Platan targeting pod is typically attached to the front-central under-fuselage station, enabling the carriage of up to six laser-guided weapons under two of the remaining fuselage stations and four on the wing stations. Laser-guided munitions carried include Kh-29L heavy missiles. Kh-25ML missiles, KAB-500L bombs (500 kg), and KAB-1500L bombs (1,500 kg, a maximum of four). TV-guided munitions include Kh-29T missiles, KAB-500Kr bombs, and KAB-1500Kr bombs (also a maximum of four).

If the aircraft is equipped with the APK-9 radio-link system, it can carry up to three KAB-1500TK heavy TV-guided glide bombs or up to four Kh-59M TV-guided missiles. The Su-34 can also carry up to six Kh-31P anti-radar missiles or Kh-31A anti-ship missiles. Future weapons are to include KAB-500G Glonass/GPS-guided bombs. The conventional bomb load also includes up to 16 500-kg bombs or up to 24 250-kg bombs. The free-fall bombs can be released with relative precision (up to 25-30 m of accuracy at low altitude) with the use of the INS/GPS system in a blind-bombing mode. For air defense, two to four R-73 IR-guided or R-77 radar-guided missiles are carried together with most of the ground-attack weapons loadouts. Theoretically, although the aircraft is not primarily a fighter, an air-to-air configuration is possible with up to eight air-to-air missiles in any balanced combination, including R-27ER and R-27ET types.

One of the most interesting features of the Su-34 is its possibility of receiving of target-acquisition data from reconnaissance satellites. This mode was successfully tested in 2004.

Production Su-34s are to be initially issued with units of the 10th and 14th Air Forces in the Siberian and Far East regions, respectively. Initial operational capability is planned for early 2007. The original plans to totally replace the Su-24 fleet by 2010 seem to be unrealistic, however.--Michal Fiszer

Singapore's Fighter Competition Down to Two

The Singapore Ministry of Defense (MINDEF) has decided to invite Dassault Aviation (St. Cloud, France) and Boeing (St. Louis, MO) to participate in negotiations for the Republic of Singapore Air Force's planned procurement of 20 multirole combat aircraft under its New Fighter Replacement Program (NFRP). The Eurofighter (Halbergmoos, Germany) Typhoon has been eliminated from the competition.


Officials in the Singapore Ministry of Defense said the government has dispatched letters to Dassault and Boeing asking that they submit price offers for their Rafale and F-15T (a proposed variant of the F-15E Eagle), respectively, as possible replacements for the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) fleet of aging A-4SU Super Hawk fighters.

In late 2003, Singapore announced that it had eliminated the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, the Lockheed Martin (Ft. Worth, TX) F-16 Block 60 Fighting Falcon, and the Sukhoi (Moscow, Russia) Su-30MK from competition on the NFRP, which was initiated in 1998 and calls for the procurement of 20 (and perhaps as many as 24) new fighter aircraft (see "Singapore Pares Down Fighter Competition," JED, November 2003, p. 24).

Government officials in Singapore said the MINDEF's decision is based on RSAF recommendations on delivery schedule, service support, and operational performance record of the combat aircraft that were under consideration for the NFRP, MINDEF in a statement released on April 21 said: "The Typhoon is a very capable aircraft. However, the committed schedule for the delivery of the Typhoon and its systems did not meet the requirements of the RSAF."

Government officials declined to comment on when a final selection of a new fighter would be made.

Singapore is also taking a look at the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) under a separate program and officially joined the US-led program last year as a Security Cooperation Participant (SCP), which gives Singapore early access to operational and technical information related to the JSF. Any possible JSF purchase, however, would be considered further down the road.--Pulkit Singh and Brendan P. Rivers

India Announces Aircraft Orders

The Indian government approved new military aviation programs for the Indian defense forces on March 29.

Indian Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee announced in New Delhi on March 28 that the top security committee of the Indian government, the Cabinet Committee on Security, has cleared several military aviation projects, including the proposed acquisition of 12 used Mirage 2000-V fighters from Qatar for the Indian Air Force, along with 11 Dornier (Wessling, Germany) 228 maritime-reconnaissance aircraft and a midlife upgrade for 16 Sea Harrier combat aircraft for the Indian Navy.

The Indian defense forces--particularly the Indian Air Force and Navy--have been pressing the government to clear several of their priority demands to recover the depleting force strength of their combat aircraft fleets.

The Indian Air Force has been negotiating for the purchase of used 12 Mirage 2000-V multirole fighters from Qatar at a cost of $38 million apiece since 2002, with Pakistan as the main rival bidder, although Pakistan may drop out of the bidding since the US government has agreed to self F-16s to India's regional rival. It is expected that a tentative decision on the price of the Mirage 2000-V will be reached during a visit by Oatari Emir Amir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani to New Delhi on April 14-15, according to Indian Defense Ministry officials, who added that the formal negotiations would conclude in around four months with a contract inked within six months.

The Indian Air Force, along with a team from Dassault (St. Cloud, France), the original Mirage manufacturer, has already evaluated Qatar's Mirage 2000-Vs, sources revealed, and the aircraft have been deemed suitable. Of the 12 aircraft, nine are single-seat Mirage 2000-5EDAs and three are two-seat Mirage 2000-5DDAs.

A senior Indian Air Force official called the Mirage 2000-V a reliable frontline multirole aircraft, with a "minimal" history of air crashes (unlike the Indian Air Force's problematic MiG-21s). The Indian Air Force also demonstrated considerable air power and success over Pakistani combat aircraft during the Kargil war in 1999, and Indian Air Force planners have subsequently decided that the Mirage fleet will not only be the mainstay for the multirole combat operations but will also be equipped with nuclear weapons for strategic operations.

Interestingly, a senior flight-safety officer in the Indian Air Force also noted that an internal study conducted by the Indian Air Force indicated that the Indian Mirage 2000 is less likely to crash than the F-16 aircraft used by the US and several other countries, including Pakistan (see "New F-16s for Pakistan," JED, May 2005, p. 19). The official pointed out that this factor would certainly be taken into consideration when selecting the medium-range multirole combat aircraft for which the Indian Air Force has issued requests for information to Lockheed Martin (Ft. Worth, TX) for its F-16 aircraft, RAC MiG (Moscow, Russia) Russia for its MiG 29, Saab (Stockholm, Sweden) for the Gripen aircraft, and Dassault for its Mirage 2000-V5 aircraft (see "Indian Defense Budget Rises 7.8%, to $19B," JED, April 2005, p. 19).


Meanwhile, 11 Dornier 228 aircraft will be purchased at a cost of $165 million to meet the Indian Navy's maritime-reconnaissance needs. The Dornier planes will be produced under license by state-owned aircraft manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) (Bangalore, India). HAL is already producing the Dornier 228 under license from Germany and has so far supplied a total of 73 to Mauritius, Indian Airlines, and India's Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC).

The Dornier 228 is a multirole twin-engine turboprop aircraft with a maximum speed of 472 kilometers per hour and the ability to accommodate 22 persons onboard. In terms of armament, it can carry two 7.62mm multi-barrel machine guns or underwing air-to-surface missiles. The Dornier 228s for the Indian Navy would be fitted with a search radar from Elta (Ashdod, Israel), and the outfitting of the aircraft for the service is already underway at HAL facilities in Kanpur in northern India.

The Indian government also approved a program to upgrade 14 Sea Harrier aircraft for the Indian Navy at a cost of $108 million. The upgrade will include enhancements to the aircraft's radar, the integration of air-to-air missiles from Rafael (Haifa, Israel), and the installation of a new flight recorder and digital cockpit voice recorder from HAL. In addition, a new-generation multimode radar will be purchased from Elta to track targets and guide the new missiles that will equip the Harriers. The upgrades will be carried out by HAL.

After the imposition of US sanctions against India, the majority of the Indian Navy's 21 Sea Harriers were grounded for want of spares that the US had formerly supplied, including avionics, radars, engines, and weaponry.--Pulkit Singh

EW Suite Flies on Korean F-15K

Deliveries of the electronic-warfare (EW) systems for the Boeing (St. Louis, MO) F-15Ks ordered by the Republic of (South) Korea Air Force (ROKAF) have gotten underway, and the systems are already flying on the first production aircraft.


The ROKAF ordered 40 F-15Ks at a cost of some $4.2 billion, and Boeing unveiled the first F-15K Strike Eagle on March 16 at the company's facility in St. Louis, MO. This initial aircraft had completed its first flight earlier that month on March 3. Flights of the aircraft in St. Louis are continuing, and delivery of the first F-15K to the ROKAF is slated for later this year.

The F-15K is the newest variant of the F-15, equipped with a variant of the traditional Tactical Electronic Warfare Suite (TEWS) that is fitted on all the F-15s in service with both the US Air Force (USAF) and the Royal Saudi Air Force (see "TEWS for Korean F-15s," JED, July 2002, p. 25). The TEWS for the F-15K includes an updated version of the BAE Systems (Yonkers, NY) AN/ALR-56C radar-warning receiver and the Northrop Grumman (Rolling Meadows, IL) AN/ALQ-135M radio-frequency (RF) jammer, an upgraded version of the AN/ALQ-135 employed on USAF F-15s. Additional self-protection is provided by the BAE Systems (Austin, TX) AN/ALE-47 countermeasures dispenser.

Deliveries of the systems that make up the TEWS for South Korea are already underway and will run until the 2007-08 timeframe, at which time all of the F-15Ks are expected to be in service with the ROKAF. The system that makes this a "variant" of the traditional TEWS is the new version of the AN/ALQ-135. The M version, which was over two and a half years in development, includes a processor upgrade and the replacement of the large legacy RF transmitters with microwave power modules for a much smaller system, said Tom Cook, Northrop Grumman's ALQ-135 program manager. Cook also noted that Boeing redesigned the aircraft so the jammer's transmitters are right next to its antennas, resulting in less signal loss and, thus, enhanced performance.

The new fighter is also equipped with the Raytheon (El Segundo, CA) AN/APG-63(V)I radar, which according to Boeing, provides 10 times the performance of the older AN/APG-70 radar used on other F-15s. The AN/APG-63 can be outfitted with an active electronically scanned array (AESA) instead of the traditional mechanically scanned radar antenna, a configuration designated as the AN/APG-63(V)2, and although the ROKAF didn't opt for the AESA initially (possibly due to financial reasons), it could be and is certainly likely to be part of a future upgrade.

Given the possible threat scenarios faced by the South Korea, particularly from North Korea, it is more than a little odd that the ROKAF didn't choose the (V)2, as this version of the radar can perform some of the functions necessary for cruise-missile defense. The USAF, in fact, chose to upgrade its AN/APG-63 radars for just that reason, and 18 of the service's F-16Cs with the AESA radars are already deployed to Elmendorf AFB. AK, according to Michael Henchey, director of strategy and business development at Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems' Air Combat Avionics business unit.

In addition to the radar, the F-15K features the Lockheed Martin (Orlando, FL) Tiger Eyes sensor suite, which consists of forward-looking infrared systems for targeting and navigation, as well as an infrared search and track (IRST) system for passive air-to-air detection.

For arming the new aircraft, the ROKAF has ordered Raytheon (Tucson, AZ) AIM-120 AMRAAM and AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, as well as Boeing SLAM-ER standoff land-attack missiles. The F-15Ks are expected to employ laser-guided bombs as well.--Brendan P. Rivers

Latest, Greatest for USAF C-17s

Like any aircraft, cargo planes naturally benefit from technology upgrades, particularly when they are needed to keep battlefield operations up and running.

For the C-17, program managers are touting a boost in the rate at which modifications--including the equipment of a laser-based countermeasures systems--are done, getting the aircraft with updated avionics back into the field sooner.

The successor to the C-141 cargo aircraft, which the US Air Force is currently phasing out of its fleet, the C-17 Globemaster III is a kind of intermediate cargo aircraft, not as large as the more strategic C-5 Galaxy, but bigger than the C-130 and still able to land on smaller, unimproved air landing strips, for supplying forces in tactical situations.

At Warner Robins Air Force Base, GA, the Global Reach Improvement Program (GRIP), which does the modifications to the C-17, recently boosted its monthly maintenance schedule from two aircraft to three, and plans by April 2004 to boost that number to four per month. Of 180 aircraft that manufacturer Boeing (Chicago, IL) is under contract for, 133 aircraft have so far been delivered to the Air Force and 26 have undergone upgrades at Robins.

Under the modification program, up to 12 C-17s, according to a contract with Northrop Grumman, will see their existing missile-warning and flare-based countermeasure systems replaced to the Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) System, which automatically defeat enemy missile guidance systems using high-intensity lasers beamed at the missile seeker, without any action by the aircraft crew (see "USAF Wants LAIRCM--Stat!" JED, February 2003, p. 20). Exactly how many C-17s have been upgraded with LAIRCM so far has not been disclosed.

Upgrades to the C-17s also cover communications that make the aircraft part of a new airborne local-area data network providing high-speed Internet access, email, voice-over-Internet protocol, and video teleconferencing. US military services are seeking in general to connect all vehicles, aircraft, ships, and troops to a data network that allows all concerned to operate more quickly and closely in concert, and Art Martinelli, the team leader for C-17 maintenance and modification, said the C-17 is no exception.

Program managers at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base oversee the modification program, which is technically done under contract by C-17 manufacturer Boeing (Chicago, IL). The same modification done at Robins can also be done at the Boeing production center in Long Beach, CA, noted Col. Gregg Sparks, director of C-17 logistics at Wright-Patterson.


Scheduled maintenance of an aircraft like the C-17 ordinarily takes something like 145 days, during which there is a full refurbishment of the airplane, Martinelli said, but the GRIP modification program, as opposed to more traditional "program depot maintenance" programs, is intended to get the avionics of the plane of the aircraft--any of the electronics related to communications, navigation, and more--upgraded within 75 to 90 days. This program gets the aircraft updated with the latest electronics and back into the field sooner, and has emerged as something of a benchmark for USAF modification work, Col. Sparks said.

"You may make discoveries during the modification process of things that need correcting, but that's a small portion of our work," Col. Sparks said. "This is a way to get scheduled on-time delivery of aircraft back into the field much more aggressively."--Ted McKenna

Belgium Modernizes C-130 Self-Protection Suites

The Belgian Ministry of Defense (MoD) in early April 2005 awarded Thales (Paris, France) a contract to equip its fleet of 11 C-130H Hercules aircraft with an updated self-protection suite. Thales formed a group of European contractors to carry out the upgrade, including Terma (Lystrup, Denmark), aircraft integrator OGMA (Alverca, Portugal), and display specialist Barco (Kortijk, Belgium).

The Belgian Air Force originally received 12 C-130H transports in 1972 and 1973 (one was lost in a crash in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, in July 1996). They are flown by the 20 Smaldeel (20th Squadron), reporting to the Groupement de Transport 15 (No. 15 Wing), at Brussels-Melsbroek. From the very beginning, they were used extensively in support of Belgian forces deployed worldwide as part of UN peacekeeping missions. Since flying to some of those areas was dangerous, Belgian C-130s were equipped with self-protection suites from the start. The suite included eight AN/ALE-40 chaff/flare dispensers and a CMC Electronics (Cincinnati, OH) AN/AAR-44A missile-approach-warning system.


Recent developments in the global security situation, however, have prompted the Belgian MoD to consider how it would conduct armed missions in more dangerous environments. One dynamic is the evolution of traditional peacekeeping operations to peace-enforcement and stabilization operations. Aircraft supporting such operations must be prepared to operate under much more hazardous conditions in which more modern air-defense means might be employed.

The Belgian C-130Hs will each receive a highly integrated electronic-warfare (EW) self-protection suite, called the SPS by the Belgian MoD. The heart of the system will be the Terma EW Management System (EWMS), which in the US is known as the AN/ALQ-213 (see "Dangerous Liaisons," JED, February 2002, p. 40). The EMWS includes a single-point cockpit control and processor unit capable of integrating a variety of different EW subsystems, such as jammers, radar-warning receivers (RWRs), missile-approach-warning sensors (MAWS), and countermeasures dispensers. The system enables automatic control of EW-suite operations, including warning and situation display in the cockpit, track-response processing, and automatic control of countermeasures. The system has an organic recording capability for cataloging RWR and MAWS threats, countermeasures-dispensing events, avionics data, flight-navigational data, etc.

The EWMS can operate in three main modes. In manual mode, the pilot/operator selects and activates the countermeasures program for the threat. In semi-automatic mode, the processor analyses threat signals, computes the most effective combination of countermeasures, and cues the pilot/operator, who then initiates the script program by activating a consent switch. On automatic mode, analysis and selection of the threat-adapted countermeasures responses occurs as in semi-automatic mode, but the system will then initiate the response without human intervention. The pilot/operator will be notified via a synthetic voice message or other audio, as well as a display message.

Under the SPS modernization, the Belgian C-130Hs will receive the Thales Compact Advanced Threat Surveyor-100 (CATS-100) RWR. The CATS-100 detects, locates (bearing), classifies, and identifies electronic emissions in the E-K frequency bands (2-40 GHz). The system has a library of 5,000 electromagnetic signals. It has also threat-geolocation capability based on the phase-measurement technique using standard radar-warning antennas. It is optimized for slow-moving platforms, such as transport aircraft and helicopters.

The AAR-44A infrared (IR) MAWS provides 360-degree coverage and is based on infrared sensors. The system operates across the C-130H's full speed and altitude envelope.

The eight 30-round ALE-40 countermeasures launchers on each Belgian C-130H are to be upgraded to the Terma Advanced Counter Measures System (ACMDS) standard, which includes digital switches for complex launch sequences. The ACMDS can be programmed to operate different types of payloads in user-defined sequences using the Terma-developed Mission Support Station. The number of rounds will remain the same.

The ALQ-213 controls the Thales CATS-100 RWR and AN/AAR-44 IR MAWS via a dedicated MIL-STD-1553 data bus and the ACMDS launchers through a dedicated digital bus. The ALQ-213 will also control the Tactical Data Unit (TDU) processor, which performs in-flight recording, embedded pilot training, audio control and generation, and display-signal generation. The TDU will drive a derivative of the Barco CHDD 5.4 Situational Awareness Display that will be situated to the left of the second pilot as the main SPS control and display unit.

The aircraft modifications are to be performed by OGMA in Portugal and will take four years to complete, since the aircraft will be sent for modernization in stages.--Michal Fiszer

Israel Receives First Apache Longbows

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) officially accepted delivery of its first three Boeing (Mesa, AZ) AH-64 Apache Longbow attack helicopters from the US Department of Defense in a ceremony in Israel on April 10.

Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, Israeli Defense Force Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Moshe Yaalon, and IAF Commander Maj. Gen. Elyezer Shkedy attended the ceremony.


The new helicopters, to be designated the AH-64D-1 Saraf (the name of a Biblical viper) in IAF service, are part of a major effort aimed at upgrading the IAF's attack-helicopter fleet, at an estimated cost of some $640 million, which will cover the acquisition of an undisclosed number of new Apache Longbows, the modernization of some older AH-64A Apaches to the D-model configuration with the Longbow radar, and the development of the necessary support infrastructure. A spokeswoman for Boeing confirmed that the company was handling both the production and deliveries of the new helicopters and the upgrade of the older models, but she declined to give further specifics.

Although the numbers of both new and upgraded helicopters are not being released, the Israeli government signed a letter of offer and acceptance for the upgrade of 12 AH-64A Apaches to the D configuration, including the Longbow radar, in October 1999 under the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. That deal was later modified in August 2000 so that it could be conducted as a direct commercial sale between Boeing and the Israeli government rather than through FMS, although the number of Apaches to be upgraded may have changed. The new helicopters, though, are being provided through FMS channels, but some of the modifications to these new Apaches for the IAF are being performed through direct commercial sales, per the August 2000 agreement. It is likely that the IAF could receive as many as 24 new Apache Longbow helicopters, as this was the number the Israeli government initially requested from the US back in 1999, when it first kicked off the program to modernize its Apache fleet.

Based on Israel's earlier requests for Apache Longbow helicopters, it is likely that the IAF's new and upgraded Apaches will be equipped with the AN/APR-48A radio-frequency (RF) interferometer, the Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor (TADS/PNVS), and AGM-114L3 Hellfire missiles, in addition to the AN/APG-78 Longbow millimeter-wave fire-control radar. Sources also indicate that the new Apaches will be fitted with a self-protection suite provided by Elisra (Bene Beraq, Israel).

The new Apaches arrived in Israel on April 4, delivered by a US C-5 Galaxy transport, with the official acceptance ceremony held on April 10 at Ramon Air Base in Negev, where they will serve in a new squadron, dubbed the Tzira (Hornet). All of the older Apaches will reportedly be merged in to a single squadron, also to be based at Ramon.

The IAF has operated Apaches since the early 1990s and, in addition to the three recently delivered Apache Longbows, has 23 older A-model Apaches.

Egypt also operates the AH-64D Apache, though without the Longbow radar. Should Egypt request the more sophisticated radar, it seems unlikely that the US would refuse, given its unofficial "tit-for-tat" policy on arms sales to Israel and Egypt.--Brendan P. Rivers

CROWS Deploying to Iraq

US Army forces in Iraq recently began receiving remotely operated weapons to be mounted on Humvees in Iraq. The XM101 Common Remotely Operated Weapon Stations (CROWS) will enable the crews of ground vehicles to locate, identify, and engage targets with a variety of weapons--all while the gunner remains inside, protected by the vehicle's armor.

The first batch of 35 CROWS systems, produced by Recon/Optical, Inc. (Barrington, IL), is being delivered to Iraq, and they are being installed on the Army's up-armored Humvees under a contract awarded on Nov. 21, 2004. The first units to receive them will be military police, special forces, infantry, and transportation units, according to a April 7 announcement by the Army. Deliveries will not stop here, though, as Recon/Optical received a contract on March 15 for the manufacture and deployment of an additional 218 CROWS systems by the end of this year, with deliveries slated to begin in July, and the Army expects to field a total of over 300 over the next two years.

The CROWS allows a gunner to operate within the protection of his vehicle's ballistic protection, so that he is no longer exposed to enemy fire, weather, or other hazardous conditions associated with the use of traditional overhead-mounted weapon systems. Inside the vehicle, the gunner has a 15-inch color monitor, displaying live video from electro-optical cameras during the day and thermal imagers at night. Both cameras employ a laser rangefinder, allowing the gunner to lock onto targets, even while on the move, with an accuracy of 98%, according to the Army. The system can be used to control a variety of weapons--including the M-2 .50-caliber machine gun, the M-240B medium machine gun, the M-249 light machine gun, and the MK-19 automatic grenade launcher--on a two-axis, stabilized mount.


Another benefit of the CROWS is that it can be used at standoff ranges to detect and destroy improvised explosive devices (IEDs), which have proven to be a major hazard faced by coalition forces in Iraq (for more on the IED threat, see "Blast From the Past," JED, June 2004, p. 43). According to Recon/Optical President Mike Johnson, there have been "several good instances" of the CROWS being used to identify and eliminate IEDs in Iraq already, using prototype CROWS systems that were fielded with forces in Iraq beginning in January.

In addition to its up-armored Humvees, the US Army hopes to install the CROWS on other vehicles as well, including the Foxes and Strykers. Test articles for mounting on each of these two vehicles are already in qualification testing, Johnson said. Under the Army's Tactical Urban Survival Kit (TUSK) program, the CROWS will also be installed on M1A2 tanks for controlling their .50-caliber machine guns and M-249 light machine guns. Johnson said that, particularly during the fighting in Fallujah, it was found that, while deploying tanks in urban settings proved valuable, the narrow confines of the city's streets made the exposed gunners extremely vulnerable to attack, thus driving the Army's decision to move the gunners inside with the CROWS (and to install additional armor on the tanks, also under the TUSK program).

A smaller version of the CROWS, dubbed CROWS Lite or Mini-CROWS, is also being developed for other vehicles, such as transport trucks and high-mobility vehicles, that don't have strong enough tops to support the standard CROWS or the heavier weapons with which it is associated. Johnson said Recon/Optical is currently negotiating a contract with the Army that would see an initial four such smaller systems sent to Iraq for operational evaluation.

Johnson said the Army was very pleased with the performance of the CROWS in Iraq and that the system had attracted quite a lot of international attention as well. But he said other countries will have to take a backseat to the US Army, which has already informed the Recon/Optical that it "will eat up the company's entire production capacity" for the CROWS.--Brendan P. Rivers

Construction of First Advanced Hawkeye Underway

The US Navy and Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems celebrated the assembly of the keel for the first of two E-2D Advanced Hawkeye test aircraft on April 25 at the company's facility in St. Augustine, FL

Initial construction of the E-2D began in early April as part of the program's $1.9-billion system-design and -development (SDD) phase, with completion slated for August 2007. First flight of the SDD aircraft is scheduled for later that year, with delivery to the Navy set for 2011, according to Northrop Grumman spokesman John Vosilla.

The Navy plans to procure a total of 75 E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes, including the two test aircraft, to replace the service's entire fleet of E-2C aircraft. The E-2D will serve as the Navy's pimary airborne-early-warning and command-and-control ([C.sup.2]) asset, just as its predecessors have been doing since 1973. It will provide advance warning of approaching enemy surface ships, aircraft, and cruise missiles, along with area surveillance, communications relay, search-and-rescue coordination, and air-traffic control. However, while the E-2C operated primarily over water, the E-2D is being designed so that it can also perform missions in the littorals and over land, including on-call response to US Army and Marine Corps forces on the ground for target prioritization and strike control, a function it is has already served during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Navy also sees the Advanced Hawkeye as a key enabler for the development of a single integrated air picture and as contributing to theater air- and missile-defense missions.

Using the E-2C Hawkeye 2000 configuration as a baseline, the new-build E-2D will be equipped with an new integrated cockpit from Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems (Woodland Hills, CA) and a new identification-friend-or-foe (IFF) transponder from BAE Systems (Greenlawn, NY), as well as other system improvements. The centerpiece of the Advanced Hawkeye, though, will be an entirely new radar, currently being designed by Lockheed Martin (Syracuse, NY), that will replace the AN/APS-145 system, also produced by Lockheed Martin, which is currently flying on US Navy Hawkeyes. In fact, the new radar will have no hardware in common with the legacy system at all, according to lim Day, Lockheed Martin's technical director for airborne radar, but it will fit into a space about the same as the housing for the AN/APS-145, despite the new system's additional capabilities and complexity. These additional capabilities include a "dramatic improvement in over-land and littoral environments," Day said, made possible primarily through the use of adaptive processing for improved clutter cancellation. He also noted that the new radar, which is based around an 18-channel solid-state transmitter, is more reliable and has the flexibility to support mechanically or electronically scanned arrays, or even a combination of the two. Northrop Grumman officials also stated that the radar will have improved performance against jamming.


It is also hoped that the new radar, along with the AN/ALQ-217A electronic-support-measures (ESM) system (originally developed for the E-2C Hawkeye 2000), will enhance situational awareness sufficiently enough to provide early warning of potential threats to the Advanced Hawkeye itself, as the E-2D will be equipped with no electronic countermeasures, such as radio-frequency or infrared jammers, a dedicated radar-warning receiver, or even chaff/flare dispensers.

During the SDD phase, under a subcontract valued at $413.5 million, Lockheed Martin will produce two engineering-development models and four pre-production radar systems to be used by Northrop Grumman for qualification, reliability, and flight testing. The radar passed its critical design review (CDR) at the beginning of this year. Lockheed Martin has only been contracted for the SDD phase so far, but current Navy planning sees an eventual need for 75 new radar systems, one for each aircraft, which Day said would likely be produced at a rate of four each year.

The overall E-2D program has already passed its preliminary design review and will face its CDR at the end of this year, Vosilla said.--Brendan P. Rivers

US Navy Eyes International Involvement in P-8A Development

Three countries--Australia, Canada, and Italy--were named at the end of 2004 by the US as being the most likely partners in the development of the Multimission Maritime Aircraft (MMA), now officially designated the P-8A. The US Navy is now in formal talks with these potential international partners.

Other US allies were also approached but were less responsive.

A spokesperson for the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) said that these talks are expected to be concluded by the end of this summer in order to meet the MMA program's scheduled preliminary design review (PDR), by which time the basic aircraft and systems will have been defined. Each potential international partner would be expected to contribute approximately $300 million toward the development of the P-8A.

In June 2004, Boeing (St. Louis, MO) received a $3.9-billion contract from the US Navy for the system design and development (SDD) of the P-8A, set to conclude in 2010 (see "MMA Contract Awarded," JED, August 2004, p. 18). Boeing's P-8A design passed a system functional review this month and is slated to undergo its preliminary design review in September. Currently, the Navy intends to buy 108 P-8s (down from an earlier plan of 150), plus approximately 50 Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). If BAMS UAVs are not produced, the Navy claims it will need 150 P-8s, although there is no funding for that number.

The total value of the P-8 program has most recently been estimated to top $44 billion worldwide by the end of its run. The Navy's current P-3Cs may be made available for international sales as they are replaced by the MMA, although their high-time airframes are creating cascading maintenance problems.

The Navy plans to begin fielding the P-8 in FY13, but Boeing estimates it can begin delivering the aircraft in quantity a year early. The PDR is scheduled for the second or third quarter of FY06, but Boeing reportedly believes the review can be moved up to September of this year.

The NAVAIR spokesperson said that the Navy does not yet have any estimates for the number of aircraft likely to be purchased by international development partners, although Boeing was previously quoted as saying it believes there are opportunities to sell 100-150 P-8s abroad. When Boeing was approached for confirmation, a spokesperson declined to participate and deferred all questions back to NAVAIR. The P-8 Program Office noted that there are no firm estimates yet on how many P-8s international buyers might want, and that P-3 sustainment programs available to them could push P-8 procurement out into an indefinite timeframe.


The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) currently has a requirement to replace its AP-3C Orions with a mix of unmanned and manned aircraft under the $4.2-billion Project Air 7000. Australia, which has been contributing to the Global Hawk program, seems likely to be looking at that UAV for the first phase of the project, valued at some $769 million, while the second phase would focus on the manned replacement at a cost somewhere between $2.7 billion and $3.5 billion. One source has quoted Australian authorities as saying the RAAF would like to start replacing its AP-3Cs with the P-8 starting in 2015. In March, the last of Australia's fleet of 18 AP-3C air-craft completed upgrade and delivery to the RAAF from the production facility at Avalon airfield in Victoria. Despite one report that the RAAF is making plans to buy up to nine P-8s after 2013, neither Boeing nor NAVAIR would comment.

NAVAIR noted that Boeing is already planning to supply both US Navy and international customers. Initial limited production is now scheduled for FY10, with three limited production lots, one each in FY10, FY11, and FY12. The full-production decision will occur in FY13 for the US program, at which time a maximum of 34 aircraft may have been built. The start of full-rate production in FY13 is based in part on an estimated international demand of four to eight additional P-8s per year, plus one or two extra as demand occurs. NAVAIR indicated that international partners have no articulated replacement schedules for their P-3s or Atlantiques, nor do they have the budgets. They all have a budgeting process similar to the US Navy's, and as such, their P-8 replacement schedules may still be outside of current events.

Potential international partners have indicated they want what the US Navy wants in the P-8, with specific integration of personnel and weapons systems as needed for their unique requirements, such as torpedoes for anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare and air-to-surface weapons.

There is yet no estimated total dollar value to international participation and sales beyond what has been pledged to SDD. SDD participation would, however, allow an international partner to influence the design of the aircraft and would likely get that country's defense industry involved in P-8A production. Potential international partners are also interested in employing a BAMS-type extended-range system, though no specifics have yet been discussed. International requirements may be better defined at some point after a cooperative agreement has been finalized, when international integration into the program team occurs and more specific international requirements are defined.--Kenneth B. Sherman

Indian Navy Looking to Orion Alternative

The Indian Navy is now focused on buying Falcon 900 maritime-patrol aircraft (MPA) from Dassault Aviation of France, as over two years of negotiations over the acquisition of P-3 Orions from the US have not borne fruit.

The Indian government has been negotiating the purchase of eight used US Navy P-3Bs Orions, which would be upgraded to the C model prior to delivery to India. However, an Indian Navy official said, with only three Il-38 maritime-surveillance aircraft (two crashed in October 2002) and the service's aging Il-142 surveillance aircraft long overdue for upgrades, the Indian Navy is now focused on buying the Falcon 900 MPA, offered by Dassault just last month. He also said that the Falcon 900 MPA is much cheaper than the P-3 Orion, with the price of a new Falcon MPA being the equivalent of the second-hand P-3 Orion aircraft, the purchase of which India has been negotiating under the US Foreign Military Sales program. The official added, though, that the Indian Navy would still procure additional maritime-reconnaissance aircraft, should a deal for the Falcon 900s be reached.

The Indian Navy official said the Falcon 900's mission systems include a tactical command system, communications suite (with datalink), radar altimeters, a radar subsystem that provides 360-degree coverage, an acoustic subsystem, a GPS/inertial-navigation system, forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sensors, and electronic-support measures (ESM). In addition, he said the aircraft can cover great distances like the other maritime-surveillance aircraft with the Indian Navy (such as the Il-38, for instance, which can fly to South Africa and back without mid-air refueling).

A senior Dassault executive in India noted that the aircraft has already been evaluated by a team of specialists from the Indian Navy.

The Indian Navy and Coast Guard are facing an acute MPA shortage. In fact, the Indian Coast Guard currently has no maritime-surveillance aircraft and relies on the Indian Navy for these needs, and the Indian Ministry of Defense (MoD) is already on a hunt for suitable maritime-surveillance aircraft, hoping to purchase 12 such aircraft initially, two of which would serve with the Coast Guard and the remainder going to the Navy (see "India Seeks New Maritime-Recon Aircraft," JED, March 2005, p. 33).

The Indian Navy's requirement is for surveillance around the Indian state of Gujarat to Sri Lanka and across the Indian Ocean to the coast of Southeast Asia (i.e., Myanmar, Thailand, and Indonesia). Requirements for the aircraft itself specify that the maritime surveillance aircraft and its subsystems be fully ruggedized for operation tropical climates and optimized for prolonged operations in the salt-laden sea atmosphere, as well as possess the necessary capabilities for short takeoffs and landings. The aircraft should also be able to carry fuel both internally and externally, should be twin-engined, and have a patrol speed of 180-405 kmph and a minimum endurance of eight hours. In addition, the aircraft should have night capabilities, provisions for para-dropping, and a radar with 360-degree coverage.


Meanwhile, the Indian Navy's eight Tu-142 maritime-surveillance air-craft are already long overdue for upgrades, a program which is itself in limbo, as the Indian Navy has rejected the upgrade proposed by Russia, calling it overpriced, and has opted for a proposed Israeli upgrade instead. This proposal, from Israel Aircraft Industries and Elbit, would see tailor-made mission avionics, command-and-control, and electronic-warfare systems installed on the Tu-142s. However, the Russians have warned that, should India go ahead with the Israeli upgrade, Russia would not provide any spares for the Tu-142 in the future.

A request for proposals for new maritime-patrol aircraft has been sent to ATR of France, CASA of Spain, Dassault Aviation of France, Saab of Sweden, Embraer of Brazil, Antonov of Ukraine, Ilyushin Aviation of Russia, Dornier of Germany, Fokker of the Netherlands, Bombardier of Canada, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. of India, and Lockheed Martin of the US. Given the status of its maritime-patrol fleet, however, the Indian Navy's best option is to buy the Falcon 900 MPA as soon as possible, the Navy official said.--Pulkit Singh

AMRAAM Proposed for Polish SA-6 Launchers

Raytheon International (Brussels, Belgium) earlier this year unveiled a proposal to equip Polish Kub (SA-6) systems with SL-AMRAAM missiles, based on the AIM-120C-5 standard, which had already been purchased by Poland for its F-16 aircraft. The proposal is connected to a Polish Kub modernization program, conducted by Wojskowe Zaklady Uzbrojenia nr 2 (WZU-2, Grudziadz, Poland).

Poland launched an earlier Kub modernization program in 1997. The effort resulted in an improved IS91M2-P1 fire-control radar, replacement of vacuum tubes with solid-state circuitry and digital amplifiers, replacing the KT-53-2 day TV tracking camera and VPU-44 cathode-ray-type display of the 9Sh33M optical tracking system with a KT-1 CCD TV camera with continuous zoom developed by Przemyslowe Centrum Optyki (PCO) (Warsaw, Poland) and a liquid crystal color display, and adding the Sagem (Paris, France) IRIS 8-12 [micro]m thermal imagery camera for day/night tracking of targets at distances of up to 40 km (in favorable conditions, the range of observation can reach 70 km).

In late 2004, Poland began to modernize the 2P25 launchers of the Kub system to a 2P25M2-P1 standard. The work included replacing the old power supply system; replacing the 1A18M1 electro-mechanical calculator and electro-mechanical azimuth/elevation reference mechanism with two digital, solid state processors; and installing a new communication systems based on solid-state technology. Modernization of the launchers has opened the door to easier SL-AMRAAM integration, and this option is now being seriously considered by the Polish Army. All Kub missiles are approaching the end of their guaranteed life-time, and adopting the agile AMRAAM with its active-radar seeker would not only increase the single kill probability, but would also enable multi-target engagement by a battery--theoretically up to 12--where the present engagement capability is only a single target.


The major obstacle to putting AMTAAMs on Kubs is, predictably, the cost. A recently planned reduction of Polish Army strength, due to cost overruns associated with the Iraq deployment, will likely force the withdrawal of Kubs from service, some of which have recently been modernized. The Polish Air Force (PAF) is also interested in land-launched AMRAAMs, but since the PAF does not operate Kubs, it would prefer a HUMRAAM solution: AMRAAMs launched from a Hummvee. However, the general lack of funds available for Polish Forces will probably force the Air Force to go with the cheaper solution of using modified S-125SC Neva (SA-3) systems for air defense of its NATO airbases.

Interestingly, it is more likely that Hungary, which purchased AMRAAMs for its Gripen fighters and will face the same problems with its modernized Kubs, will opt for Kub-launched AMRAAMs. But such decision has not been made.--Michal Fiszer

Euro Parliament Favors China Arms Ban

Members of the European Parliament on April 14 passed a resolution calling on the European Union (EU) to maintain its ban on the export of arms to China, the strongest indication yet that the latest efforts by some EU members to lift the embargo will fail.

European Parliament ministers voted 431 to 85, with 31 abstentions, in favor of an annual report on the EU's common foreign and security policy, which says "relations with China have made progress only in the trade and economic fields, without any substantial achievement as regards human rights and democracy issues." The report expresses "deepest concern" about missiles in southern China that are pointing at Taiwan, as well as China's recently passed law justifying an attack on Taiwan should that country formally declare independence from China (for more on the China-Taiwan tensions, see "Flashpoint Taiwan Straits," JED, November 2004, p. 51).

The EU, along with the US, established an arms embargo against China following the Chinese government's arrests, imprisonment, and executions of political dissidents protesting at Tiananmen Square in 1989. Leaders of France and Germany have been the most vocal of the EU countries this year in pressing to lift the ban. UK Foreign Minister Jack Straw told the British Parliament in January that the EU would likely lift the ban in 2005, and EU President Javier Solana subsequently said he also expected the ban to be lifted within the first half of this year.

But US opposition to ending the ban has been predictably stiff, given US commitments to protect Taiwan from Chinese aggression. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, during her trip through Europe earlier this year, reportedly brought up the matter with all the EU leaders with whom she met, noting that one significant consequence of ending the ban would be a steely response from the US Congress, members of which have vowed to institute severe new arms-sale restrictions with EU countries should the ban be lifted (see "Controversy Dogs EU-China Arms Ban," JED, March 2005, p. 30).

Given the growing economic buying power of China, including its large contracts with Europe for everything from commercial aircraft to telecommunications equipment, European governments are eager to stay on the Chinese government's good side, foreign-policy experts note. China has portrayed its drive to end the arms embargo merely as the wish for a symbolic gesture of friendship rather than a desire to acquire new Western military technology.

In any case, the arms ban hasn't stopped arms exports from the EU to China, because compliance with it is strictly voluntary. Sales of arms to China by EU countries have been rising, from $300 million in 2002 to $540 million in 2003, for example. China is estimated to spend some $80 billion or so a year on defense, though the official defense budget is around $30 billion. Proponents of lifting the ban have, however, called for a new mandatory "code" detailing what arms exports are permissible. In its vote in favor of maintaining the ban, the European Parliament said that a binding EU code on arms exports should be established.


The EU has not set a date on when it may vote on this issue. According to some news reports, British officials now expect a delay on a vote until at least next year.--Ted McKenna
Planned and Projected Procurements of the F-35 JSF

US                      2,923
Air Force               1,763
Navy                      480
Marines                   680

UK                        150
Royal Air Force            90
Royal Navy                 60

Italy                     131
The Netherlands            85

Australia           up to 100
Canada                     60
Denmark                    48
Norway                     48
Turkey                    100-200

Note: To date, only the US and the UK have committed to procuring the
Joint Strike Fighter.
Source: Teal Group
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Title Annotation:ec monitor; Joint Strike Fighter; European Union
Comment:JSF international: the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is gearing up for the next phase of the program, which will carry it through the next three to four decades.(ec monitor)(Joint Strike Fighter)(European Union)
Author:Rivers, Brendan
Publication:Journal of Electronic Defense
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2005
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