Monthly Archives: April 2013

Germany Sells Israel More Dolphin Subs

SSK Dolphin Class(click to view full) In November 2005, reports surfaced that that Germany would sell Israel 2 AIP-equipped Dolphin submarines, to join its existing fleet of 3 conventional diesel-electric Dolphin Class boats. In 2006, the deal for 2 Dolphin AIP boats was finalized at a total of $1.27 billion, with the German government picking up 1/3 of the cost. The new boats are built at the Howaldtswerke-Deutche Werft AG (HDW) shipyard, in the Baltic Sea coastal city of Kiel, with deliveries originally scheduled to begin in 2010. Those have been delayed, and have not begun as of yet. Reports that an additional sale may be in the offing have now been confirmed, but just absorbing these 3 new boats will be no small challenge for Israel’s “3rd service”… The Dolphin Class, and Its Improvements Dolphin Class Cutaway(click to view larger) The Dolphins are quiet diesel-electric attack submarines that evolved from Germany’s famous and ubiquitous U209 Class…

Heat Vision: US Teen Series Fighters Getting IRST

IRST: B-2, ICU(click to view full) F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet Block IIs fighters are beginning to enter service with the US Navy and Australia, carrying significantly improved AN/APG-79 AESA radars and other electronic upgrades. Recent years have seen another spreading improvement within global fighter fleets, however: Infra-Red Search & Track (IRST) systems that provide long range thermal imaging against air and ground targets. Most of these deployments have been on Russian (MiG-29 family, SU-30 family) and European (Eurofighter, Rafale, Gripen NG) fighters, or special American exports (UAE’s F-16E/F Block 60 Desert Falcons, Korea & Singapore’s F-15K/SG Strike Eagles)…

Rapid Fire April 30, 2013: More Better Buying Power Material Than You Could Possibly Want

The US Defense Acquisition University posted a bunch of slideshows and videos dedicated to the implementation of Better Buying Power. Try this one [PPTX] for a start, which sensibly advocates basing programs on realistic requirements rather than “desirements.” On China’s nuclear weapons: has there been an implicit shift away from “no first use” doctrine, and how many nukes do they have anyway? Daunting questions, elusive answers. …

AN/TPY-2: America’s Portable Missile Defense Radar

AN/TPY-2(click to view full) The THAAD Ground-Based Radar (GBR), now known as the AN/TPY-2, is an X-Band, phased array, solid-state, long-range air defense radar. It was developed and built by Raytheon at its Andover, MA Integrated Air Defense Facility, as the main radar for the US Army’s THAAD late midcourse ballistic missile defense system. For THAAD, targeting information from the TPY-2 is uploaded to the missile immediately before launch, and continuously updated in flight via datalinks. The TPY-2 is always deployed with THAAD, but it can also be used independently as part of any ABM (anti ballistic missile) infrastructure. …

France’s PA2/CVF Carrier Project: Stalled in the Water

PA2 Concept, June 2006(click to view full) Throughout most of the Cold War period, France maintained two aircraft carriers. That changed when the FNS Foch, the last Clemenceau Class carrier, was retired in November 2000 (it will now serve the Brazilian Navy as the Sao Paolo). As Strategis notes, France has lacked the capacity to ensure long-distance air coverage during the FNS Charles de Gaulle’s maintenance cycles or during other periods when the carrier is not available for active duty (approximately 35% of the time). In 2015, the ship will be taken out of service for an extensive maintenance overhaul…

Rapid Fire April 29, 2013: With New Defense Whitepaper, France Dodges Necessary Tradeoffs

The French government released a much-delayed White Paper [PDF, in French] to refresh France’s defense outlook. What happened since the previous Livre Blanc published in 2008? The global financial crisis and the accelerated degradation of public finances in many Euro countries. Chocked with deficits running all the way back to 1974, France will pursue further defense personnel and armament reductions, without touching its core nuclear deterrence or aspirations to be heard worldwide. The building of a second aircraft carrier is shelved for good, and recent rumors of cutting Rafale purchases to 225 over the life of the program are confirmed by a description of what French forces should look like by 2025…

Floatin’ Smokey: The USA’s SBX Radar

SBX-1, Pearl Harbor(click to view full) As rogue state proliferation by the likes of North Korea made missile defense a growing priority for nations including the USA, Japan, and Israel, the USA began to look at the linchpin of any defense: powerful radars that could both track ballistic missiles, and guide interceptors. The USA has its BMEWS tracking system, but that would not serve. America’s Safeguard ABM system was dismantled long ago – though Russia still maintains its counterpart System A-135 network around Moscow…

F-35 Lightning II Wins Norway’s (Fake) Competition

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F-35: takeoff.(click to view full) Back in 2006 Lockheed Martin and the F-35 Lightning II team were facing difficulties and controversies in Norway. Since then, there have been some successes. The next milestone MoU was signed on Jan 31/06, amidst industrial and missile deals designed to bring Norway on board – but even that signing came with express statements that the country was keeping its options open. Norway had threatened to back out of its Tier 3 partnership in the JSF program, but a Kongsberg JSM/NSM missile deal helped, and a subsequent conditional composite structures deal shored up support…

Surion: Eurocopter’s Korean KHP/KUH Helicopter Deal

KHP/Surion rollout(click to view full) South Korea currently owns around 700 helicopters, but more than half are considered outdated, and they need to be replaced. December 2005 marked the endgame for a South Korean competition to produce about 245 utility transport helicopters, which would be developed and produced as a semi-indigenous program. The KHP/ Surion is in the 8-tonne class, and is designed to carry 11 troops. Industrial offsets were also important, as the program is designed to boost Korea’s ability to design and build its own rotary-wing aircraft. …