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The Australian Government Department of Defence and the Norwegian Ministry of Defence today announced they will cooperate on further development of the Joint Strike Missile (JSM) developed by KONGSBERG.
New Joint Strike Fighter maintenance facilities open at Williamtown The Hunter is poised to capitalise on Joint Strike Fighter maintenance opportunities after new facilities were officially opened at Williamtown this week.
The Pentagon has chosen Australia and Japan as F-35 heavy maintenance hubs for the Asia-Pacific region. Both countries will conduct work on the airframe, while Australia will host the initial engine depot.
Sale, Victoria: BAE Systems’ Navigation Trainer Project (NTP)’s Airborne Navigation Trainers have completed 6,000 successful training missions for the Australian Defence Force’s School of Air Warfare (SAW).
On 10 July, Stephen Wells, Aurecon’s Chief Business Development Officer and Rosemary Peavey, Company Secretary, attended a formal ceremony hosted by the Department of Defence where they signed Aurecon’s largest defence contract to date.
An important step in the introduction of the Royal Australian Air Force’s electronic warfare capability has commenced, with the first pilot instructor commencing flying on the EA-18G Growler in the United States.
BAE Systems announced on October 22 that their Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS™) laser-guided rocket completed another major milestone when it was fired for the first time from an AH-64D Apache helicopter during flight testing.
Quickstep Holdings Limited (ASX:QHL), the manufacturer of high-grade carbon-fibre composite components, today announced that it has received additional purchase orders worth US$2.6 million for non-recurring work related to existing aerospace agreements.
During the 1950s and 60s Australia was a world leader in the design and development of uninhabited aerial systems for military use, with products such as the Jindivik jet powered target aircraft, the Ikara rocket-delivered anti-submarine torpedo and the Nulka hovering decoy rocket.
Boeing Defence Australia (BDA), a local subsidiary of The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA], has taken over prime responsibility for supporting the Royal Australian Air Force E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) fleet from Boeing in the U.S.
Through a five-year, AUS$66.7 million (US$60.45 million) contract with the Australian Department of Defence, Boeing announced on July 11 that they will provide enhanced support services for Vigilare, the air defence command and control system that is giving the Australian Defence Force unparalleled ground and airborne situational awareness.
After last year’s dramatic pruning of Defence’s budget by $5.454 billion over the Forward Estimates, there was not scope for further cuts and still maintain the Government’s defence capability intentions.
The undoubted highlight of a media tour to Airbus Military in Seville in late May was the opportunity to fly in an A400M, with the author being part of a small group of journalists selected for the first mission of the day. Demonstrating complete confidence in his aircraft
Given Australia’s strategic and budgetary circumstances, the 2013 White Paper seems reasonably well balanced. Or to put it another way, it could have been a lot worse. In foreshadowing a modest increase in spending in the short term and an aspiration target of 2% of GDP, the Government has sought to maintain its credentials in the national security domain.
Two years ago the amount of interaction was disappointingly low, but the situation this time was greatly improved – after a quiet first day. All of the major aerospace companies active in Australia were present, with the exception of Raytheon - which like many companies is in a cost-saving mode.
Most people are aware that bad news sells newspapers far better than good news. That’s human nature - try it for yourself. Describe to your friends the wonderful holiday you have just experienced and even the politest of them will tune out after a few minutes of boredom.
Human piloted aircraft, both fixed and rotary wing, will continue to be the ADF’s most important aerial assets for the foreseeable future. Although the ISR requirements of Australia’s huge EEZ, the third largest maritime jurisdiction in the world
Speaking to the media on August 23 August in Canberra, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 program manager Tom Burbage explained that once Australia’s F-35s are delivered they will never have to return to the US for maintenance.
Byline: Geoff Slocombe / Victoria Many small Australian defence companies are run by people who have a good idea, implemented with smart technology, which proves attractive to the Department of Defence.
The announcement that Australia would participate in the Joint Strike Fighter project was made almost exactly a decade ago on June 22, 2002. In another piece of symmetry, the Government’s contribution of $300 million to the System Design & Development phase is the same as the amount of work won so far by Australian industry on the aircraft since that time.
After detailing a series of budget reductions, Defence Minister Stephen Smith has thrown into the mix an announcement on May 10 to acquire 10 C-27Js at a cost that seems to fluctuate. The initial Ministerial release referred to a price of $1.4 billion. The following day a media release from the US prime contractor L-3 said it estimated the contract to be valued at $600 million. The FMS price notified to Congress was $950 million. Then on June 3, Ministers Smith and Clare made a further announcement that Italian aircraft manufacturer Alenia had received an additional contract:
Budget 2012-13 impacts on sustainment and new capabilities Amongst the headlines of Defence’s contribution of $5,454 million across the Forward Estimates, announced in the Budget, little has been said about the impact on sustainment and approved new capabilities, even less about projects in the latest Defence Capability Plan which have not yet reached First Pass Approval.
In the lead up to the 2012 / 13 budget, Treasurer Wayne Swan insisted that it would be a tough one because of the need to achieve a surplus. Defence has made a major contribution to achieving that goal.
In a press conference immediately following the announcement, the Minister clearly stated that there had been a competition between the C27J and the Airbus Military C295 airlifter. Airbus Military is obliged to place on the public record our disappointment at the Minister’s choice of words, because there was no tender process and certainly no competition.
Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today announced that the Government had agreed to purchase 10 Alenia C-27J Spartan Battlefield Airlift aircraft at a cost of $1.4 billion.
The competition is really fierce for the billion dollar Helicopter Aircrew Training System (HATS) contract, where six teams of experienced suppliers and integrators of aircrew training systems have been attracted by the opportunity.
JP 2065 (IBS) and a parallel project, JP2089 Tactical Information Exchange (TIE), are intrinsic components of a Defence global communications architecture that will facilitate the use of the now rapidly evolving “ Everything Over the Internet Protocol” (EOIP) capability for real-time video, voice, digital data – contributing to the effectiveness of Network Centric Warfare (NCW).
What a busy few weeks it has been, from the announcement that Australia will be winding down operations in Afghanistan sooner than anticipated, through to the announcement of an accelerated White Paper process and decisions on a number of acquisition matters.
Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today announced more than $12 million in matched funding is being offered to nine Australian companies to commercialise new defence technologies that will contribute to Australia’s Priority Industry Capabilities in the defence sector. “This is an investment in cutting edge defence technologies developed here in Australia,” Mr Clare said.
As is now common knowledge, the F-35 JSF is still fighting its critics on numerous fronts and in the process it has collected many supporters and many detractors across the world, with Australia represented in both camps. In mid-March, Lockheed Martin representatives were given a comprehensive grilling by the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade. As we write it would be difficult to decide whether the optimists or pessimists will be proven correct, but it is noteworthy to report that most recently in December, Japan has opted to join a growing list to buy the aircraft to replace its ageing fleet. This came after a comprehensive evaluation in a competition against the Super Hornet and the Eurofighter.
Q: How does Elbit view the Australian market. A: Personally, Australia is one of my favorite countries. A first step for Elbit in any business activity is to have a good understanding of our customer’s needs. It is not always the case that in a formal way we receive all the information about what a customer truly requires – so it is essential to have a good background when it comes to technical and operational matters. For us, there are some countries that we have found easier to work with than others – and Australia is one of those positive cases.
As the Australian Defence Force moves down the path of Network Centric Warfare and with a greater emphasis on amphibious operations the importance of accurate and timely environmental information is of increasing importance. As CDF General David Hurley has recently observed, there are around 25,000 islands and 85,000 kilometres of navigable waterways in the region between the Eastern Indian Ocean and the South West Pacific. This is a huge area across which the ADF must plan to operate and of which it must maintain situational awareness.
There have been several recent developments in the effort to replace RAAF’s retired Caribou transport fleet, most notably the US decision to cancel their order for C-27J aircraft. The choice for Australia between Alenia’s C-27J – potentially to be acquired via the US Foreign Military Sales process - and Airbus Military’s C295 has been complicated by an unsolicited and unconfirmed bid from Raytheon Australia, also believed to be offering the C-27J.
In military aircraft it is the pilot’s job to keep safely to mission tracks then on to its planned destination, while the mission commander’s role is to navigate and fight the aircraft. In single seat combat aircraft these two roles are combined. Larger aircraft, including maritime combat helicopters, have a separate mission commander who “takes necessary directive action to achieve assigned mission goals by collecting, correlating, and coordinating data from networked multiple sensor devices and fire control systems; co-operating in the selection and delivery of weapons; conducting communications; and engaging in other tasks as necessary.”test
This non-technical article briefly looks at the history of cryptography through the ages and up to the present explosive growth of communications technology and the battle for cyber security. An overview of JP2069 is included. Origins of Cryptography.
Introduction. As described in the first two parts of this small series, Micronesia is an enormous, remote, thinly populated region containing two independent microstates (Kiribati and Nauru), three states in ‘Free Association’ with the USA (Republic of the Marshall Islands or RMI, Federated States of Micronesia or FSM, and Palau), and two US territories (Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or CNMI). Micronesia straddles the equator and is composed of atolls, islands and reefs scattered across the open ocean from the Philippines to Hawaii.
Kym Bergmann reports from Kabul: Even as France starts a slow drawdown of troop numbers prior to a complete withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014, combat units have recently completed one of their most intense fighting seasons since 2001. Most of the 4,000 troops are deployed in two provinces – Kabul (especially the district of Surobi) and Kapisa - which have seen some of the heaviest fighting of the war. While the capital city of Kabul is considered relatively secure by the standards of Afghanistan, the same cannot be said of the surrounding countryside. French responsibilities. Kabul itself sits on a piece of flat land surrounded by mountains but the geography of the Surobi district and all of Kapisa is inhospitable – high barren ridges, bleak terrain, steep sided gorges with small green pockets of agriculture found on scattered and isolated river flats. The city sits at 1,800 meters above sea level with nearby peaks rising to 3,000 metres. Kapisa in general and the Tagab valley in particular are considered insurgent strongholds, with a mixture of suicide bomb cells, tribal militias, members of the Haqqani network, fighters belonging to Hezb-i-Islami and so on. The picture is very complex and even sorting out the motives of the various anti-Government groups is not easy, with a senior French officer telling APDR, “the more we find out, the more unclear it becomes.”
The development and applications of military digital battlespace communications systems can be clearly shown to have been adapted from commercial enterprises that fashioned a network-centric style of operation, to optimise the command and control of them, advance their growth and profitability. Such enterprises have sponsored the development of seamless, open architecture, high data rate digital communications that use a plethora of techniques to achieve the objectives of the scheme. These systems are always on and use a range of data security designs.
Although Australian industry is arguably not a major player in the global Unmanned Aerial Systems marketplace, it nevertheless plays an important role in technology development and support of local programmes. The UAS industry has also been assisted by the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) through the government/industry Capability and Technology Demonstrator (CTD) programme, leading to several innovative developments which have commercial potential.
Only three months into the financial year and already there is some muttering within Defence of another looming hand back of unspent funds – although the problem can always be mitigated by measures such as the purchase of a sixth C-17 announced on September 23 and the decision to lease another support ship nine days earlier. The reasons for such pessimism – shared by industry – are not hard to find. There are around 130 projects listed in the Defence Capability Plan, yet the Department is able to commit to making a decision during 2011 / 12 on seven of them.
A clear blue sky, an azure swimming pool, gym, the gentle buzz of light aircraft arriving and departing, everything neat and clean, attentive smiling staff. Could APDR have been transported to a resort for the ultra-rich in the Seychelles or perhaps near Bora Bora? In our dreams. In fact the location is the Tamworth Flying School - operated by BAE Systems – and while it is not actually a tropical paradise it is in fact very pleasant.
(This is the first of two articles based on a speech given on September 19 to a Rockwell Collins “Connected, Aware, Responsive Technology” symposium) One of my favourite books is Barbara Tuchman’s “March of Folly”. In this classic work she examines four instances of folly, which she defines as acts which are clearly contrary to the self-interest of the organization pursuing them; conducted over a period of time, not just in a single burst of irrational behaviour; conducted by a number of individuals, not just one deranged maniac; and, importantly, there have to be people alive at the time who pointed out correctly why the act in question was folly. The acts of folly she chose were the Trojan Wars, the loss of the American colonies by Britain, the Renaissance Popes failures resulting in the Reformation, and the conflict in Vietnam.
It was at the poetically beautiful Boyd Education centre overlooking the Shoalhaven river 16 kiolmetres from Nowra that local companies had to swallow the bitter pill that there will be almost no work for them flowing from the decision to purchase 24 MH-60R ‘Romeo’ helicopters – at least not in the short term. During the tender evaluate phase ‘Team Romeo’ made considerable efforts to match the Australian Industry Content package of rival bidder Eurocopter and have signed up to obligations amounting to $1.5 billion, which sounds impressive. However, it is already becoming difficult to see how this substantial target will be met.
Boeing announced on September 14 that it has delivered Australia’s fifth C-17 Globemaster III airlifter to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) during a ceremony at the C-17 program’s final assembly facility in Long Beach. A RAAF delegation led by Stephen Smith, Australia’s Minister for Defence, received the country’s latest C-17 at an event also attended by Chief of the Defence Force General David Hurley, Australian Secretary of Defence Duncan Lewis, and U.S. Ambassador to Australia the Honorable Jeffrey Bleich.
Recent skirmishes between China, Vietnam and the Philippines have threatened to reignite the long-standing and protracted dispute in the South China Sea. The potentially resource-rich islands in the South China Sea remains a source of friction and instability between the claimant states of the Asia-Pacific region. A peaceful resolution to the South China Sea dispute is imperative for the stability and security of the region.
t is highly unlikely that scholars in the Middle Ages actually debated how many angels could stand simultaneously on the head of a pin – though Thomas Aquinas did postulate that more than one angel could occupy a place at the same time. However the aphorism is a useful metaphor for an inordinately pointless intellectual debate, which brings us to parts of the recently released Black Review, titled “Improving personal and institutional accountability in Defence.”
Major Leigh Perkins, commander of Charlie Company, conducted his morning briefing that outlined the scheme of operations for an upcoming attack. A three-dimensional terrain map had been created on the ground, and his platoon leaders were gathered around to hear how the impending assault was to proceed that afternoon and on through the night. Their dust-caked faces were daubed in camouflage cream, and although they had been sleep-deprived for several days because of ongoing operations against the enemy, they listened with careful attention.
The new US Navy helicopter was selected by the RAN in June 2011 to replace ageing Seahawks following a competitive tender between the US Navy and NH Industries - offering the NFH-90 - to supply up to 24 complete aircraft and associated support services. The decision seems odd when 46 NH-90s, labelled the MRH-90 will support the RAN’s “transport” capability and means that the RAN will operate two different helicopters and by doing so will ignore the 80% commonality of the two NHI aircraft. This paper reviews the MH-60R.
Airborne tactical transport. One of the principles of modern warfare is that a country can never have too much airlift capacity. With this in mind, Defence hopes to have another slow motion crack at plugging an annoying gap in capability caused by the retirement of the long-serving Caribou battlefield airlifters last year. Known as project AIR 8000 Phase 2, this is likely to be a re-run of a competition a decade ago that had exactly the same aim, but was cancelled for reasons that are the subject of speculation and rumour, which will be put to rest later in this story.
This afternoon Defence Minister Stephen Smith announced the Government's response to the Black Review into Departmental lines of accountability. These are largely in line with expectations and the main features are: * the establishment of two Associate Secretary positions to strengthen Defence’s capacity to implement the Black Review; * the strengthening of capability development and acquisition; * increasing rigour and contestability within capability development, including the establishment of a new process for the inclusion of projects into the Defence Capability Plan;
The Land-Based Test Site (LBTS) at BAE Systems in Williamstown for the Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) project is now complete. BAE Systems, Saab and L-3 Communications (L-3) completed the installation in July 2011 as a key milestone in the development of the integrated combat and communications systems.
With Australia’s most comprehensive industrial base, NSW industry is integrated into local and international defence supply chains. The diverse capabilities offered by the State’s small-medium enterprises (SME) are essential to Australian defence requirements.
The Northern Territory’s strategic importance to Defence is well documented. Industrial growth in the Territory is booming: major offshore and onshore gas and oil projects are leading the way with an anticipated investment of around $25 billion over the next few years.
• More than 900 aviation and aerospace companies are located in Queensland • Over 16,500 aviation and aerospace jobs in Queensland Queensland - an aviation and aerospace hub After almost a decade of unprecedented industry growth, the Government's vision for Queensland as an aviation and aerospace hub for the Asian Pacific region is fast becoming a reality.
South Australian SMEs in Global Supply Chains – What the South Australian Government is doing to support defence export, including entry into global supply chains. South Australia is a state focused on its defence future – and that future includes innovative, sustainable defence companies working from Australia’s Defence State to equip the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and other defence customers around the world.
When it comes to Australia’s defence industry, Victoria has a long and proud history of providing innovative solutions for the Australian Defence Force. Speak to many Victorian SME defence companies today and they will tell you that the best blueprint for international success is consistently delivering high quality products and services, nurturing highly skilled people and a willingness to expand beyond national borders. According to Ric Smith, Chair of the Defence Council Victoria “Victorian SMEs, with their record of innovation and their global reach, are ideally placed in the changing world of defence industry”.
Established in 1958 as a family owned South Australian business, Static Engineering provide exciting design solutions for challenging projects for their commercial and Defence clients. In 2007, Static Engineering became part of the Broens Group, led by Broens Industries together with Calbic Precision Engineers based in South Australia. Broens Industries, based in Sydney, have offices in Adelaide, Melbourne, as well as international offices in Europe, Asia and the US. The Broens Group is a one-stop-engineering-shop, providing concept design, product development, specification, manufacture and after sales service.
It was almost as if people from two different planets were intermingling at the Adelaide Defence & Industry conference, held in the last week of June. Listening to a series of Departmental presentations all appeared to be well with the world of defence procurement, with statistics apparently proving repeatedly that the outlook was healthy with billions of dollars to be spent. However, most of the talk from industry representatives was about the tangible slow down in the number of First and Second Pass approvals being granted and the negative impact this is having on a number of companies.
AIDN National President Article for the APDR July / August Edition Global Supply Chain feature. I thank Mr Kym Bergmann the editor of APDR for the opportunity to contribute to the magazine’s feature on Australia’s defence industry small medium enterprises (SMEs) experience in marketing and selling their equipment and services in the global supply chains of Australian based Prime and overseas defence industry companies. AIDN represents over 800 Australian defence industry SMEs and while our organisation works with Government to promote our members’ interest in the development of defence industry policy, skills development and capacity building, our main aim is to maximise the business opportunities for members, both in the domestic market and those overseas. Our members’ participation in global supply chain of large international Prime defence industry companies and their major suppliers is one strand in achieving this aim.
Micronesia is an enormous, remote, thinly populated region containing two independent microstates (Kiribati and Nauru), three states in ‘Free Association’ with the USA (Republic of the Marshall Islands or RMI, Federated States of Micronesia or FSM, and Palau), and two US territories (Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or CNMI). Micronesia straddles the equator and is laid out in a light dusting of atolls, islands and reefs scattered across a truly enormous expanse of open ocean from the Philippines to Hawaii. The total population is about 500,000 people on about 2,000 square kilometers of land dispersed across millions of square kilometres of sea. Of this population, about 400,000 are US citizens or residents, or have unfettered access to the USA due to Compacts of Free Association with that country.
Thales announced on 16 June that its support contract for the Tiger Aircrew Training Means (TATM) has been extended by the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) representing Germany and France.
Bucking the trend of recent years, the Defence budget has actually been pruned with money being returned to consolidated revenue – but is still healthy at a fraction more than $29 billion. The majority of the “savings” have resulted from the Department not spending as much on equipment for which funds had been allocated in the previous budget, totaling $1.3 billion. For this, Defence Minister Stephen Smith blames industry for not meeting payment milestones. This seems to over simply the situation and it is worth noting that last financial year the Government only managed to give Second Pass approval to eight out of a scheduled 14 projects and only two out of more than 20 of those scheduled for First Pass. Clearly, the Government’s own processes are far from perfect. Delaying First and Second Pass approvals is denying the ADF equipment it needs, is hurting industry and will have the inevitable consequence of leading to a funding blow out in future years.
The Australian Defence Force’s programme to deliver a Pilot Training System (PTS) which will take a candidate from initial flight screening through to his or her possible entry into the post-graduate Lead In Fighter Trainer, is arguably the most important project on the books at this moment in time. The Pilot Training System, AIR 5428 Phase 1, will deliver a turnkey solution to the ADF, something that has never happened before in this domain. In the past, training projects have been platform-centric – selecting and introducing a specific aircraft type to service and adapting training accordingly. AIR 5428 is a holistic approach, which is outcome driven, rather than a project to acquire a new training aircraft (or two). As such, it is crucial that Defence gets it right.
On 7 June 2010 the New Zealand Minister of Defence the Hon Wayne Mapp, addressed the Shangri-la Dialogue in Singapore on the topic of “Humanitarian and Disaster Relief in the Asia-Pacific”. The Minister’s main observations were that we live in a region which regularly experiences a wide range of natural disasters, and that skills in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief are of vital importance throughout our region. Furthermore the Minister noted that disaster relief is increasingly a core task for defence forces and that the necessary capabilities should be available specifically for humanitarian tasks and not just be seen as an add on or ‘nice to have’. He went on to say that such capabilities should form “part of core military business, not be simply a secondary task”. Observing that defence forces are often amongst the few national organizations that hold large fleets of deployable assets and have large numbers of disciplined personnel, the Minister noted that when a disaster occurs the public expect all available resources to be made available and that the defence forces must play a major role in disaster relief. “The public expect in response to a disaster nothing less than the full mobilization of the NZDF to the extent necessary to save lives and property. This expectation is shared by both local and national leaders.”
Elbit Systems to Supply an Asian Country with Electro-Optical Payloads for Maritime Patrol Aircraft Under Contract Valued at Approximately $20 Million On May 18, Elbit announced that it was awarded a contract to supply an unnamed Asian country with dozens of CoMPASS™ (Compact Multi Purpose Advanced Stabilized System) payloads for maritime patrol aircraft. The Asian country, which operates one of the largest maritime patrol fleets in the world, has selected the CoMPASS™ payload as a solution to protect its coastlines. The contract, valued at approximately $20 million, is scheduled to be completed within two years.
Three phases of Project AIR 9000, the Australian Defence Force’s helicopter roadmap for the future, are due to progress to either type selection or contract over the next year or two, realising a reduction in the number of platforms flown.
Aerospace companies, helicopter manufacturers and training and simulation providers are teaming up in readiness for the launch of the Air 9000 Phase 7 helicopter training competition – hardly a surprise given its estimated value is approaching the $1 billion mark.
As an emerging economic superpower, India’s spending on defence is on a rapid upward trajectory. The main driver appears to be emerging rivalry with China – especially as Beijing seeks to increase its presence in the Indian Ocean. However, traditional rivalry with Pakistan as well as increasing internal security issues are also factors.
Given the recent very public problems with the Navy’s existing amphibious ships, there are high hopes that the 2 Landing Helicopter Docks (LHDs) currently under construction will be more than adequate replacements. And at a mid-way point in the programme, work seems to be progressing extremely well. Despite still having some way to go – especially with a few complex electronic systems integration issues coming up – all of the contractors spoken to by APDR expressed quiet satisfaction about how successful the programme has been to date.
Since the Defence Simulation Roadmap was first published in 2006, work to ensure the document evolves to better plan for future development and establish a system of simulation governance for both the ADF and industry has continued without pause. Simulation governance protocols are being developed which will not only guide the ADF along the path to greater and more efficient use of simulation in its activities, but also to shape a vision for the establishment of partnerships with industry and academia in the future.
The death of Osama Bin Laden is now being analysed, with new information emerging almost by the hour. He had been on the run for almost a decade and was able to frustrate US and allied intelligence agencies in their attempts to track him down, which added to his mythical status. In an extraordinary comment three minutes into his address to the nation, President Barak Obama revealed: “Shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the Director of the CIA to make the killing or capture of Bin Laden the top priority in our war against Al-Qaeda.”
Every year the National People’s Congress (NPC) meets in the Chinese capital Beijing to lay out policy for the coming year. Among the first items on the annual agenda is the defence budget. On 4 March, on the opening day of the Fourth Session of the 11th NPC, the party leadership announced military spending would increase by 12.7%. This figure marks a return to double-digit growth after last year’s budget expanded by 7.5% as China weathered the global economic crisis.
There is continuing uncertainty as to when the RAAF’s long awaited Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft will be delivered. From a technical viewpoint, two of the modified A-330s have been ready to be transferred since October last year but delays have occurred because of problems with the provision of ancillary items - especially documentation – and more recently issues concerned with the refueling boom. A Departmental spokesperson explained:
The dozens of aircraft shot down in Afghanistan and Iraq over the last decade continue to underline the importance of self protection systems for aircraft, especially helicopters operating within easy range of man portable air defence systems. At the same time, advanced aircraft like the Chinese J-20 and Russian / Indian PAK FA are adding to the number of threats modern military aircraft face. The rapidly growing multi-billion dollar aircraft self protection market is testimony to the fact that such systems are an essential component of modern warfare and are something that no military aircraft can afford to fly without.
On February 24 Boeing announced that it has received a contract from the U.S. Air Force to build the next-generation aerial refueling tanker aircraft that will replace 179 of the service’s 400 KC-135 tankers.
The topic of the commercial survival of an air show – even a large one such as Avalon – might at first seem a trivial topic. However, the issues affecting the future of the event say a lot about the relationships between Defence, industry and the media.
On February 14 the company announced that assembly of the Mk32 Mod 9 torpedo launchers for the Hobart Class Air Warfare Destroyers is now underway at Babcock’s Techport Australia premises, marking an important milestone in the contract. Babcock Pty Ltd, part of Babcock International Group, was awarded the contract in December 2008 by Raytheon Australia Pty Ltd, on behalf of the Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) Alliance.
Thales announced on February 11 that together with the Tiger and Huey UH-1Y helicopters, its TopOwl® Helmet Mounted Sight & Display system (HMSD) has been deployed with the French and US Forces in Afghanistan, to provide high levels of night vision performance and targeting capabilities for helicopter pilots.
CAE Australia announced on February 17 that a major upgrade to the Australian Army's S-70A Black Hawk full-flight and mission simulator (FFMS) has been completed on-schedule and recently entered service for the Australian Army.
Raytheon Australia announced on December 16 that it has teamed with BAE Systems to bid for the Air 5428 Pilot Training System Program. Air 5428 Phase 1 aims to utilise advanced training systems to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the Australian Defence Force’s fixed wing pilot training.
Lockheed Martin announced on December 15 that the F-35 Lightning II program team reached its 2010 goal of 394 test flights jointly established by the Joint Strike Fighter Program Office and Lockheed Martin. Since the first flight of the F-35 on Dec.15, 2006, the program has logged a total of 531 flights, expanding the performance envelope of the three F-35 variants and testing the mission systems.
Australian Aerospace Limited, which assembles the Army’s and Navy’s MRH90 helicopters in Brisbane, has welcomed the imminent return to flying operations by the Australian Defence Force (ADF) of what it describes as a world leading and most advanced multi-role helicopter.
EADS has announced that preparations have begun to deliver thousands of items of tooling and spare parts from Europe to Australia to support the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) new fleet of Airbus Military A330 Multi-Role Tanker-Transport (MRTT) air-to-air refuelling tankers.
Canada’s CAE announced on 5 May that towards the end of its fiscal 2010 it was awarded several new military contracts in Europe and Canada to support the German Army and Royal Netherlands Air Force as well as Canada's Department of National Defence. The value of the contracts combined is approximately C$50 million.
Never far from controversy, the Joint Strike Fighter programme is facing pressures both from within Lockheed Martin, in terms of the delayed testing schedule, and those exerted on defence budgets by the global financial crisis.
The Commonwealth has allocated AS$2.5 billion over a period of 10 years to provide support and sustainment for the introduction of 24 F/A-18F Block II+ Super Hornets with the Royal Australian Air Force.
It boggles and saddens the mind that Defence, the launch customer for the supply of an airborne early warning and control capability for Australia, and the supplier Boeing, have failed to perform satisfactorily on this critically important program for the defence of Australia.
And well might it be said as the Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter [ARH], now beginning to enter into service in the Australian Army, is demonstrating that it is an outstanding example of European commercial and technological aviation expertise that is stealing the march on a heretofore entrenched market for United States helicopters in Australia and also in other nations.
The search for a successor to Australia’s geriatric de Havilland DHC-4 Caribou fleet, which started way back in the 1970s, has stalled a number of times in recent years but with annual support costs for the fleet now reaching A$35 million continuing operation of the type is no longer feasible.
Speaking at the rollout of the first RAAF Super Hornet, RAAF Chief Air Marshal Mark Binskin said that he personally is in favor of the future conversion of some of the aircraft to the Electronic Warfare ‘Grizzly’ variant. Previously known as the Growler, the EW variants have been rechristened to avoid confusion with their predecessor the Prowler.
There is very little information available about the J-XX. The existence of the program was first disclosed by US Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) in 1997 when J-XX was described as a 4th generation fighter to enter the service around 2015.