Saturday, April 5, 2014

Saab looks for additional Thai Gripen sale

Saab is in discussions with Thailand for six additional Gripen C/D fighters, the Swedish company says.

In a press briefing, Saab Asia-Pacific president and chief executive Dan Endstedt said talks are ongoing. He did not give a timeframe for the possible acquisition, but says that he hopes the deal “happens soon”.
 Thailand already operates 12 Gripens, two Saab 340 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft, and two Saab 340 transports.

Endstedt adds that Saab has played a key role in helping Thailand create a highly integrated defence capability that connects aircraft, ships and ground units.

ZBD05 Tracked Amphibious Infantry Fighting Vehicle

Previously known as the Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAAV) The vehicle is developed from the ZBD/Type 04 infantry fighting vehicle chassis but is now a completely separate vehicle. The ZBD04 chassis has been extended slightly at the rear and an extended bow section similar to those on the Type 63C amphibious armoured personnel n extended bow section similar to those on the Type 63C amphibious armoured personnel carrier and the Type 86 amphibious infantry fighting vehicle.
The large bow wave plate is hinged and hydraulically extended when the AAAV is in the water. When stowed it lays across the bow and glacis plate providing another layer of frontal protection.

The ZBD05 carries a two man turret with components from the Ukrainian Shkval turret. The turret mounts a 30 x 165mm automatic cannon, coaxial Type 80 7.62 x 54mmR machine gun, two Hong Jian-73C ATGM launchers, one on either side of the turret and eight 76mm smoke dischargers.


AAAV with bow wave plate deployed:

Above, below, turret with Shkval 30 mm gun:

AAAV launching a Hong Jian-73C ATGM:

PLA Marines practicing a beachhead assault with AAAV:

C3 variant of the AAAV hull:

Excerpted from “How the PLA Fights: Weapons and Tactics of the People’s Liberation Army, Second Edition” published by the United States Army’s Training and Doctrine Command. Additions and updates by Dr Carlo Kopp and Dr Martin Andrew.

ZLT05 Tracked Amphibious Assault Gun

The ZLT05 Tracked amphibious assault gun uses a slightly modified turret from the Type 03P amphibious tank on the ZBD05 hull. There is a co-axial Type 80 7.72 x 54mm machine gun and cupola mounted QJC-88 12.7 x 108mm heavy machine gun and eight 76mm smoke grenade dischargers.
The 105mm gun has an effective range over 2,000m against armour, where presumably its HEAT round can penetrate between 460 and 500mm of steel armour plate or between 1 and 1.5m of steel reinforced concrete. The turret face is claimed to stop a 25mm AP round of unknown type at 1,000m and the turret rear and hull glacis plate can stop a 12.7mm AP round at 100m and the entire vehicle hull is proof against 7.62mm AP rounds. The turret roof can stop a 7.62mm ball round.

Excerpted from “How the PLA Fights: Weapons and Tactics of the People’s Liberation Army, Second Edition” published by the United States Army’s Training and Doctrine Command. Additions and updates by Dr Carlo Kopp and Dr Martin Andrew.

That Must've Suck

Italian Navy Test Fires Vulcano Ballistic Extended Range Projectiles

On 6 March 2014, the Italian Navy carried out a number of firing trials on board the frigate Bersagliere to test the 127/54 C gun equipped with Vulcano-Kit (V-kit). The firing trials, conducted with 127 Vulcano Ballistic Extended Range (BER) ammunition, proved to be successful, with projectiles achieving a range of over 38 km. The field of fire was limited to 40 km for security reasons.

Oto Melara has conducted firing tests of the Ballistic Extended Range Vulcano 127 projectile designed for the 127/46 gun mounted on the Italian FREMM and German F125 frigates. Photo: Oto Melara/
The Vulcano BER ammunition used in the firing trials are part of a pre-production lot; the production-line qualification is underway on a first pilot lot of ammunition. It is the first time a military ship, not equipped with the naval gun systems used in the Second World War, has reached such ballistic ranges. Vulcan BER ammunition provide very accurate and high precision firing actions at ranges beyond 60 km.

Commenting on the successful test OTO Melara said it is ready to supply Vulcano BER ammunition to the Navies employing the new 127/64 LW weapon system and those employing the previous version 127/54 C naval gun with the V-kit upgrade.
Vulcano 127 has already performed firing testing verifying the enhanced ballistic characteristics of the projectile. The one in the photo is the 127mm Guided Long Range projectile, showing the canard section and GPS/INS guidance and advanced multi-mode fuse section installed in the nose. Photo: Oto Melara 
In addition to the BER variant, Vulcano guided ammunition family also include the Guided Long Range (127GLR) and Semi Active Laser (GLR-SAL) guided versions, which will be available on board ships for firing trials starting from next year. The entire family of trajectory-corrected and guided projectiles will be able to conduct naval fire support at ranges from 35 km up to over 100 km, utilizing the OTO Melara naval guns systems.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Snowden: “Prism isn’t just metadata, it is about content” NSA: “If you are not connected to a terrorist target you are of no interest for us”

Appearing by telepresence robot, Edward Snowden speaks at TED2014 about surveillance and Internet freedom. The right to data privacy, he suggests, is not a partisan issue, but requires a fundamental rethink of the role of the internet in our lives — and the laws that protect it. “Your rights matter,” he says, “because you never know when you’re going to need them.” A system administrator at the US National Security Agency (NSA) until 2013, Snowden leaked thousands of classified NSA documents, sparking a global conversation about citizens’ rights to privacy on the Internet. He spoke with Chris Anderson on a recent TED interview.

Few days later, following Edward Snowden’s interview, NSA deputy director Richard Ledgett answers Anderson’s questions about the balance between security and protecting privacy. Ledgett is the deputy director of the agency, acting as the agency’s chief operating officer, responsible for guiding and directing studies, operations and policy.
Ledgett claims that Snowden has placed national security assets and human lives at risk, by disclosing capabilities to adversaries of the USA. The need for surveillance is ubiquitous and protected by law, Ledgett said, “we are on the same network” Ledgett said, “I am using the same email network that is the No 1 email service of choice for terrorists”. 
He justified the large scale surveillance operations the NSA is conducting, including the ‘Bullrun’ saying – “everyone does it” about surveillance by metadata, he said” metadata is the information that lets you find connections that others are trying to hide”. he added that the alternative to that will be gigantic content collection that will be more invasive to privacy. “If you are not connected to those valid intelligence targets you are of no interest for us”.

Is Iran building an Aircraft Carrier?!

Iran is building a 1/3rd replica of a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier to use in a movie called "Airbus", which narrates the story of the ill-fated Iran Air Flight 655.
Iran Building a Mock-Up of US Nimitz Class Super-Carrier
What is interesting about this simple prop is the attention it's getting. More than one news site claimed it's actually built for military propose, primarily to serve as a simulation target. A few went as far as claiming that Iran is building this to gain experience about carrier building.

Whoever producing this movie, probably never anticipated they will get this kind of publicity.

Brimstone and Tornado GR4: Fits With Fates

Brimstone GR4 Possible Carriage Configuration

BRIMSTONE on Tornado GR4

Cropped Tornado GR4 with Brimstone and ASRAAM

MBDA's Brimstone Aboard on "REAPER"


BRIMSTONE substantially increases persistence through single shot precision, 3 missile per pylon aerodynamic fit, and fast-jet qualified levels of environmental robustness.
Training Missile BRIMSTONE on left
Reaper brimstone view_1
Reaper brimstone view_2
Reaper brimstone view_3
Reaper launched Dual Mode Brimstone intercepting 50 mph target
Reaper launched Dual Mode Brimstone intercepting 70 mph high speed crossing target
BRIMSTONE 70 mph Inert TOM No warhead
Dual Mode Brimstone hitting 70 mph high speed crossing target
Dual Mode Brimstone hitting 50 mph target
BRIMSTONE Post Impact Still 1
BRIMSTONE Post Impact Still 2

MBDA's Air-to-Ground Missile(AGM) System "Brimstone"

Brimstone is an air-launched ground attack missile developed by MBDA for Britain's Royal Air Force. It was originally intended for "fire and forget" use against mass formations of enemy armour, using a millimetre wave (mmW) seeker to ensure accuracy even against moving targets. 

Brimstone GR4 Possible Carriage Configuration

Experience in Afghanistan led to the addition of laser guidance in the dual-mode Brimstone missile, allowing a "man in the loop" to pick out specific targets when friendly forces or civilians were in the area. 

The Tandem Shaped charge warhead is much more effective against modern tanks than similar weapons such as the AGM-65G Maverick, whilst the small blast area minimises collateral damage. Three Brimstones are carried on a launcher that occupies a single weapon station, allowing a single aircraft to carry many missiles.

After a protracted development programme, single-mode or "millimetric" Brimstone entered service with RAF Tornados in 2005, and the dual-mode variant in 2008. The latter has been extensively used in Afghanistan and Libya. 

An improved Brimstone 2 was expected to enter service in early 2015, but has been delayed. MBDA is working on the targeting of swarms of small boats under the name Sea Spear. The RAF are waiting for funding to fit Brimstone to their Eurofighter Typhoons and planned to integrate it with their Harriers until they were withdrawn from service in 2010. 

MBDA are studying the use of Brimstone on ships, attack helicopters, UAVs and from surface launchers; it will be integrated on the F-35 Lightning II when the F-35 enters British service. The US, France and India have expressed interest in buying Brimstone for their aircraft but Saudi Arabia is the only export customer to date.


At the DIMDEX exhibition in Doha, Qatar (25-27 March 2014), MBDA is presenting for the first time ever a new coastal defence system based on the Marte missile family. This system, the Marte Coastal Defence System (MCDS), guarantees maritime coastal traffic surveillance and interdiction to hostile ships in territorial waters.

Michele Di Nunzio, anti-ship missile expert at MBDA, introduces the Marte Coastal Defence System during DIMDEX 2014.

The System is Capable of:

» monitoring and picturing sea communication lines;
» detecting and identifying hostile vessels through the use of active surveillance equipment;
» receiving target data via data-link;
» neutralising hostile vessels by using a new generation of anti-ship missiles.

The MCDS is available with different and flexible configurations depending on customer requirements. This system can operate in either a stand-alone mode or integrated within an existing surveillance radar network. 

At the DIMDEX exhibition in Doha, Qatar (25-27 March 2014), MBDA is presenting for the first time ever a new coastal defence system based on the Marte missile family.

In addition, MBDA can offer two different missile options for MCDS; the Marte MK2/N for the control of brown waters and Marte ER, for the control of a more expansive sea area.

The System Configuration Consists of:

» a Command and Control (C2) module, comprising an ISO standard 12 foot shelter that can be connected via data-link with the upper level surveillance system. This module includes consoles to manage the local picture provided by its own radar (stand-alone mode) or to track targets provided by the upper level surveillance system (integrated mode).

» a launcher module, comprising up to four firing units that can be mounted on ISO standard trucks. Each launcher can deploy up to four missiles.

» a logistics module, comprising a logistic and support vehicle, plus a variable number of reloading vehicles.

The all-weather Marte MK2 is a fire-and-forget, medium-range, sea-skimming anti-ship weapon system. The new version of the missile, called Marte ER (Extended Range), keeps the basic characteristics of the Marte family, but extends its range.

The Marte Missile Family

The all-weather Marte MK2 is a fire-and-forget, medium-range, sea-skimming anti-ship weapon system. It is equipped with mid-course inertial and radar-based terminal guidance and is capable of destroying small craft and seriously damaging larger vessels. The missile weighs 310 kg and is 3.85 metres long. Marte was first developed in the 1980s with the 30km range MK/2 version being deployed on helicopters. Subsequent models followed for integration on different platforms and thus a family of missiles came into being.

The Marte MK-2/S, where “S” stands for “Short” and indicates shorter munitions in order to enable simpler on board integration, has already been integrated on AW101 and NH-90 NFH helicopters (Naval/Nato Frigate Helicopter) in service with the Italian Navy. The Marte MK-2/A was then developed for launch from fixed-wing aircraft (fighter or patrol aircraft). Finally, in response to the growing interest for a lightweight, rapid-response surface-to-surface naval missile system for littoral operations, Marte MK2/N was developed.

The new version of the missile, called Marte ER (Extended Range), keeps the basic characteristics of the Marte family, but extends its range. The new product is different from previous versions thanks to two main features: turbojet propulsion (leading to a four-fold increase in range compared to the rocket motor version), and the new ISO-calibre cylinder cell. The missile, equipped with these new important components, still preserves a series of elements that were already present in previous versions of the Marte missile, providing a number of significant commonalities that are widely appreciated by the market.

Thanks to these improvements, the new missile has a range that now exceeds 100 km and a much increased speed, both in the cruise and final attack phases. However, it is shorter than the previous model. Logistic systems, such as the transport and stocking canister in the helicopter version and the trolley for moving and hooking the missile to aircraft, are the same as those used in the Mk2/S model, offering clear user advantages.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Pakistan plans to sell JF-17 Thunder combat jets to Saudi Arabia

Pakistan is in talks with Saudi Arabia to sell its JF-17 Thunder jets and be more involved in future arms deals. 

Pakistani Govt. Official said it is looking to sell JF-17 Thunder combat jets and trainer aircraft to Saudi Arabia, but rejected reports it was in talks with the oil-rich nation for nuclear cooperation. Saudi Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud is scheduled to visit Pakistan during February 15-17. The visit is expected to focus on deeper security and defence cooperation between the two sides.

Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam told a weekly news briefing that defence cooperation would figure in the Crown Prince’s interactions and that Pakistan was eyeing Saudi Arabia as a market for military gear. “Certainly, defence cooperation would figure in the talks. The army chief would be calling him separately,” she said.

Pakistan is interested in selling arms to Saudi Arabia, including the JF-17 Thunder jet co-developed with China, the Mushak trainer aircraft and other equipment, she added. Aslam rejected recent Western media reports suggesting that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are looking at nuclear cooperation, describing them as “baseless”. “There is a whispering campaign and at times there are reports based on leaks or background briefings…They are baseless. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are not discussing nuclear cooperation,” she said.

This would be Crown Prince’s first visit to Pakistan after he became Defence Minister in 2011. Prince Salman, Aslam noted, was also the Deputy Prime Minister. During the visit, the Prince will hold talks with President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on bilateral and global issues of mutual interest.