F/A-18: Le Koweit s’approche d’une décision

28 nov. 2016 | Par Guillaume Belan

Il en était question depuis plusieurs mois, la nouvelle s’approche doucement d’une décision : le Koweit s’apprête à commander 28 F/A-18 Super Hornet. C’est ce qu’a confirmé le General Lafi al-Azemi, responsable des acquisitions militaire du Koweit. Le marché devrait dépasser les 5 Mds de dollars. Les F/A-18 de Boeing viendront remplacer les F-18 vieillissants. Des F-18 que Boeing s’est engagé à reprendre selon le général al-Azemi. Le Koweit en dispose de 39.

Il y a quelques semaines le département d’état américain avait accordé son feu vert pour cette vente. A noter que le le Koweit s’est récemment porté acquéreur de 28 Eurofighter Typhoon (lire ici). L’émirat s’apprête donc a gonfler considérablement ses capacités de chasse et de bombardement, à l’instar du Qatar, qui, outre le Rafale, souhaiterait acquérir jusqu’à 72 F-15 (lire notre article ici). Des besoins apparus avec la montée en puissance des tensions régionales (Yémen, Syrie, Irak, Iran…) qui provoque une certaine course aux armements dans la région. Le Koweit vient également de commander des hélicoptères H225M (relire ici).

Source: Air&Cosmos


Brazil Delays Fighter Buys



BRASILIA—Brazil’s defense minister said the economic slowdown has delayed the country’s long-awaited decision to purchase a new generation of fighter jets.

« The project is not being abandoned. There will be a decision in the right time. But, today, I would prefer not to give a date, » Defense Minister Celso Amorim said in an interview. « The economic situation has taken a less-favorable turn than expected and it naturally requires caution. »

The process, which has lasted more than a decade, involves three international contenders: the Gripen NG made by Saab AB of Sweden; the F/A-18 Super Hornet from Boeing Co. of the U.S.; and the Rafale warplane manufactured by Dassault Aviation SA of France.

Brazil’s government sent a letter to the three companies in June asking them to extend their jet proposals until December. According to the government, this is a common practice that typically happens every six months if a decision isn’t reached.

« I am not in conversations with any companies at the moment, which doesn’t exclude the possibility that I might receive somebody here, » Mr. Amorim said.

In 2010, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Nicolas Sarkozy, then presidents of Brazil and France, respectively, issued a joint statement saying Brazil entered into exclusive negotiations involving the Rafales. But the Brazilian government backtracked not long after and said the competition was still wide open. In the end, Mr. da Silva left the decision to his successor, Dilma Rousseff.

« Today, I wouldn’t say any company is [the] favorite, » Mr. Amorim said. « The important question is when we will do it and, then, we will again look into the proposals. There’s a need to re-equip, but it needs to be resolved accordingly with the country’s possibilities. »

Brazil will base its decision on price, quality and access to a jet maker’s technology, but « the specific weight that will be given to each one of these is something that I haven’t had the chance to discuss profoundly, » Mr. Amorim said. « There is no decision, » he added.

The defense minister said a decision earlier this year by the U.S. government to cancel an order of Brazilian-made military training planes wouldn’t weigh against Boeing. In February, the U.S. Air Force canceled an order for Super Tucanos manufactured by Embraer SA of Brazil and reopened the contest, saying top procurement officials weren’t satisfied with the documentation in the bidding.

Donna Hrinak, Boeing’s president in Brazil, said the company is « prepared to wait for the decision of the Brazilian government. » Representatives for Saab and Dassault couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday.

Other defense programs in Brazil are moving ahead, meanwhile, including one to build a nuclear-powered submarine in a joint project with France. Brazil also has purchased 50 new helicopters made locally.

Mr. Amorim is keen to see Brazil invest more in defense.

The ministry’s budget is about 1.5% of gross domestic product, or about 61.76 billion reais ($30.54 billion) in 2011. Ten years ago, spending was far lower, at 25.5 billion reais, but accounted for about 2% of GDP. Mr. Amorim said he wants to return to those levels, which would bring Brazil closer in line with spending in countries such as China, Russia and India.

« This is my goal. It’s not an approved government program. It’s something I consider reasonable to be attained, » he said.

Brazil—which fought the Paraguayan War in the 1860s and was involved in the First and Second World Wars—hasn’t become embroiled in a war in decades. But Mr. Amorim said the country needs a defense system capable of protecting its vast natural resources, which include recent discoveries of huge oil reserves off the country’s southeastern coast. Moreover, water has become a significant asset, he said.

« Today, besides the energy, the oil, or the capacity of producing food, we have a resource that is likely the most sought-after in this 21st century, which is the fresh water, » he said.

The minister said defense spending also can be a powerful way to create and keep jobs during the continuing economic slowdown, and can provide incentives for technological advances.

Source: online.wsj.com (The Wall Street Journal)

Canada – Check out other jets

By Peter E. Greene, The Windsor Star

May 28, 2012

As someone who has worked in production and overhaul of military aircraft, I have been avidly reading the various letters and opinion/guest columns that have appeared in your paper, for and against the Canadian government’s decision to buy the F-35 aircraft for the Royal Canadian Air Force.

The latest salvo condemning the F-35 program comes from retired colonel Paul Maillet, an aerospace engineer and former fleet manager for Canada’s CF18 fleet.

Paul Maillet called the F-35 a « serious strategic mismatch » to Canada’s military needs.

The drawbacks mentioned were the F-35’s single engine, low range, low payload and low manoeuvrability .

The F-35 has been shrouded in controversy, cost overruns and delays, yet the Canadian government and Department of National Defence are adamant to go ahead with this aircraft deal.

Auditor General Michael Ferguson gave a highly critical report of the Defence Department’s handling of the F-35 project. Why doesn’t the Canadian government follow a tendering and evaluation process for new aircraft that it wants to purchase?

No doubt the military industrial complex in North America has a powerful lobby which will bring pressure on our government and DND to buy this aircraft. Canada should be looking at other aircraft that several countries have to offer.

It is interesting to note that rising superpower India, which was looking to buy a medium multi-role combat aircraft for the Indian air force, started a tendering process and evaluated six aircraft from different countries over a period of five years.

They evaluated the U.S.-made F/A-18 Super Hornet and F-16 Super Viper jets, the Rafale made by Dassault Aviation of France, The Eurofighter Typhoon made by a European consortium, the Russian MiG-35 aircraft and the Saab Gripen made by Sweden.

U.S. President Barack Obama made a special visit to India to lobby its government to buy the F/A-18 Super Hornet. It was a hotly contested race of strict technical and commercial evaluation and the two finalists were the Rafale of Dassault Aviation and the Eurofighter Typhoon.

The final clincher was the cost evaluation and the Rafale aircraft was selected. President Obama was disappointed and offered the F-35 aircraft to India.

The Indians rejected the F-35 and went ahead with their deal to buy 126 MMRCA Rafale fighters from France for $20 billion. Dassault will supply the first 18 aircraft by 2015 and the rest will be manufactured under licence by India.

This will be the longest opentender military aviation deal in the world.

Rafale is a twin-jet, semi stealth combat aircraft capable of carrying out a wide range of short-and long-range missions, including ground and sea attacks, reconnaissance, high-accuracy strikes and nuclear strike deterrence. Rafale can carry payloads of more than 9t on 14 hardpoints for the air force version, with 13 for the naval version.

The range of weapons includes: Mica, Magic, Sidewinder, ASRAAM and AMRAAM air-to-air missiles; Apache, AS30L, ALARM, HARM, Maverick and PGM100 air-toground missiles and Exocet/ AM39, Penguin 3 and Harpoon anti-ship missiles. The Rafale is a NATO-compatible aircraft and has flown in NATO operations over Tajikstan, Afghanistan and Libya.

Canada should evaluate more aircraft under a tendering process rather than making a hasty and costly mistake by going for the overpriced and untested F-35 aircraft. The Rafale aircraft offers high value for money.

It is high time that our defence department jettisoned the canopy, ejected and bailed out of the F-35 project.

Peter E. Greene lives in Windsor.

Le Japon préfère le F35 américain à l’Eurofighter


Yann Rousseau

Tokyo aurait finalement estimé que l’appareil de l’américain Lockheed Martin était le seul capable de répondre à la montée en gamme des aviations russe et chinoise.

Les industriels européens auront probablement une nouvelle occasion de fulminer, cette semaine, contre le gouvernement japonais. Tokyo devrait annoncer vendredi qu’il a choisi l’avion de combat F-35 du constructeur américain Lockheed Martin pour renouveler sa flotte vieillissante et non l’Eurofighter Typhoon, construit par un consortium regroupant les Britanniques de BAE Systems, les Italiens de Finmeccanica et les Allemands et Espagnols au sein du groupe EADS.

Selon la presse japonaise, la décision des autorités devrait être entérinée par le Premier ministre, Yoshihiko Noda, à l’occasion du prochain conseil de sécurité nationale. Le ministère de la Défense, qui a repoussé à maintes reprises son arbitrage dans cet appel d’offres, où concourrait aussi le F/A-18 Super Hornet de Boeing, aurait finalement estimé que l’appareil le plus coûteux de la compétition était le seul capable de répondre à la montée en gamme des aviations russe et chinoise.

Un coût supérieur à 6 milliards de dollars

Les responsables de la Force aérienne d’autodéfense japonaise (JASDF) sont inquiets des ambitions de ces deux nations, qui mettent chacune de leur côté la dernière main au développement de chasseurs de nouvelle génération. Ils auraient donc plébiscité la grande furtivité du F-35 dans leur projet de remplacement de leurs « vieux » F-4 Phantom à partir de 2016.

Le renouvellement des avions de deux escadrons, soit environ 40 appareils, pourrait coûter, selon les analystes, plus de 6 milliards de dollars.

A Tokyo, les entreprises européennes commençaient à douter, ces dernières semaines, des chances de l’Eurofighter Typhoon, dont les performances et le prix avaient pourtant été vantés par une partie de la JASDF et de l’administration. Leurs « sources » dans les coulisses du pouvoir leur avaient confié que le lobbying de Washington s’était récemment intensifié.

Sauf surprise, le ministère de la Défense japonais, qui ne traite quasi-exclusivement depuis la fin de la seconde guerre mondiale qu’avec des industriels nippons ou américains, va refuser une fois encore de froisser son allié «historique et stratégique ».

Source: Les Echos

DoD Might Cut Jets from 5th F-35 Batch

Published: 8 Aug 2011 16:01

The Pentagon might have to cut the number of F-35 Lightning II fighters it purchases in an upcoming buy to cover increased development costs in early model jets, unless Congress approves a $151 million funding transfer, according to U.S. Defense Department documents.

DoD asked Congress to approve the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) money transfer in a 91-page, June 30 omnibus reprogramming. Congress has yet to OK the measure.

The cost overruns surround 31 of the single-engine jets purchased over the past five years, according to a Pentagon acquisition document. The aircraft were part of the first three low-rate initial production (LRIP) buys.

« If the reprogramming request is not approved, additional funding within the JSF program will be diverted to cover these costs, » the document said.

The additional funds would cover development cost increases involving « both airframe and propulsion contracts, » the reprogramming document said.

In addition to F-35 prime contractor Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems build parts of the fuselage. Pratt & Whitney builds the engine that powers the stealth jet.

The cost increases came before then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates restructured the multiservice F-35 program earlier this year, according to the acquisition document.

« The JSF program is already working to cover most of the cost overruns internally, » the document said.

Last year, the Pentagon and Lockheed negotiated an LRIP-4 contract for jets that caps the government’s vulnerability to cost increases and rewards the contractor for controlling cost growth. DoD plans to use a similar fixed-price structure during LRIP-5 negotiations later this year.

But if Congress does not approve the $151 million reprogramming, the Pentagon might have to shrink the number of jets purchased in LRIP-5.

« The diversion of additional JSF funds could result in the purchase of fewer aircraft in LRIP 5 and result in future cost increases for the JSF program, » the acquisition document said.

The F-35 is the Pentagon’s largest acquisition program ever, with a total price tag estimated at more than $380 billion, which includes development and production. An updated program cost is expected this fall.

The Pentagon plans to buy 2,443 F-35s, which will be flown by the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. Hundreds of foreign sales are also expected.

The Air Force jet flies from traditional runways and the Navy jet from aircraft carriers. The Marine Corps version can take off from short runways or smaller amphibious ships and land vertically.

The jet will replace a number of combat aircraft, including the F-16 Fighting Falcon, F/A-18 Hornet, AV-8B Harrier and A-10 Warthog.

After years of development issues, the program had gained steam in recent months, completing flight test objectives faster than most recently planned. However, all 20 F-35 test jets were grounded Aug. 2 following a failure of the aircraft’s power system.

Source: defensenews

Boeing Flags Goals, Concerns For Defense Division

May 26, 2011
By Guy Norris

LOS ANGELES — The head of Boeing’s defense and space unit says robust growth in the company’s international business will help spearhead additional revenues in 2011, but warns that budget reductions and industrial base health issues are among longer-term concerns.

Speaking at the company’s investors conference, Dennis Muilenburg, president and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space and Security, says defense revenues are forecast to be as high as $33 billion against $31.9 billion in 2010. Although describing the business as “a tough defense environment right now,” he says the company is poised for a strong year on the back of major developments such as winning the KC-46A tanker contract, signing the P-8A low-rate initial production contract, and F/A-18E/F and EA-18G multiyear procurement deals.

The fastest-growing areas in the portfolio include “proprietary work, cybersecurity and rapidly expanding international business,” he notes. The international sector “was 5%, is 17% now and will grow to 25% over the next few years.”

Despite an overall reduction of around $18 billion in the fiscal 2011 U.S. defense budget, Boeing will see a $1.2 billion increase. “If you include NASA, that’s a $3 billion increase,” Muilenburg adds. However, over the next five years, the company anticipates seeing an overall defense budget reduction of $78 billion in fiscal 2012-16. International customer growth, particularly in the Middle East and Asia, is expected to help defer this. “This environment is not a surprise to us, we’ve anticipated it,” Muilenberg asserts.

Aside from the ongoing U.S. defense drawdown and looming concern over America’s ballooning national debt, Muilenburg cites escalating energy costs, the shrinkage of the force structure and industrial base health issues as longer-term risks for the company’s defense arm. Nearer-term concerns are focused on the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) missile program, currently being rebid, as well as the troubled Brigade Combat Team Modernization Increment 1 effort. The dwindling backlog for the C-17 military transport aircraft remains a near-term concern, though he adds “we think there are added opportunities beyond 2013.”

In terms of troubled programs that have dogged the company in recent years, such as the Australian Wedgetail and international tanker, Muilenburg says “we can clearly see the finish line.” The 737-based Wedgetail is entering service with the Royal Australian Air Force and two of the four delayed KC-767 tankers have now been delivered to Italy, he adds.

Regarding the recent loss in India for the F/A-18E/F, Muilenburg says “we still haven’t had the debrief.” However, he says, “we see India as a long-term business investment and as a long-term partner,” adding that pending C-17 and rotorcraft deals will strengthen this. In Japan, he adds that the destruction of training aircraft in the recent tsunami has accelerated procurement plans, and Boeing is confident of gaining business in the region in the near term.

Source: aviationweek.com

Malaysia – Advanced Targeting Forward Looking Infrared

Washington – The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress today of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Malaysia for upgrades to existing F/A-18D aircraft, as well as associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $72 million.

The Government of Malaysia has requested the procurement and integration of a Mid Life Upgrade to existing F/A-18D aircraft including six (6) AN/ASQ-228 ATFLIR Pods. Also included are software development, system integration and testing, test sets, aircrew and maintenance training, support equipment, spares and repair parts, publications, technical documentation, U.S. Government and contractor technical, logistics, engineering support services, and other related elements of program support. The estimated cost is $72 million.

This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a friendly country that has been, and continues to be, an important force for political stability and economic progress in East Asia.

Malaysia needs these assets to support future coalition operations and aircraft interoperability with the U.S. and other regional partners. This will upgrade the current FLIR pod to a current configuration, reducing obsolescence issues, and aligning the Malaysian Navy with functionality similar to the U.S. Navy.

The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The principal contractor will be The Boeing Company in St. Louis, Missouri.

There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

Implementation of this sale will require the temporary travel of approximately eight contractor representatives to Malaysia for installation, system validation, and verification of this system along with other upgrade capabilities being integrated and installed simultaneously.

There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.

This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.

Source : Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA)

F-35 deal isn’t perfect but it’s the only one in town

May 8, 2011


ZURICH — Canadians are missing something in the debate over the purchase of the Joint Strike Fighter, also known as the F-35.

Two unprecedented shifts are rocking the global arms market for fighter jets.

First, there’s a quasi-revolution taking place in fighter jet technology. We are now entering a period dominated by “fifth generation” aircraft, fighters which will have “allaspect” stealth abilities with internal weapons systems, integrated avionics at the pilot’s fingertips, and “supercruise” capabilities that greatly enhance performance.

When it becomes operative, the F-35 will be the most advanced fighter aircraft in the world.

While opponents of the F-35 argue that Canada’s aging CF-18 Hornets can be replaced with fourth (and “fourth-plus”) generation aircraft, they’re missing the broader point. Upgraded fourth generation aircraft —like the F-18 Super Hornet — will be able to fly future combat missions, but that won’t stop them from becoming increasingly obsolete.

It won’t happen overnight, but eventually fourth generation aircraft will go the way of third and second generation aircraft: To the dump.

The F-35 will have a qualitative edge over older aircraft models no matter what the upgrade. The only comparable fighter is the F-22 Raptor, flown by the U.S. Air Force.

But Washington has already phased out the Raptor’s production, having placed all its bets on the F-35. Our allies have gotten the message: Britain, Australia, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, and Norway will all be flying F-35s by 2020. Israel, Japan and others are likely to follow.

If Canadians want to equip their air force with the best available tools, they need to focus on next generation technology.

There’s little point in looking back. The future rests with fifth, not fourth, generation technology. The risk in spending less today on a souped-up version of the CF-18 is Canada will find itself replacing outdated hardware before long — an expensive proposition.

Second, the fighter-jet industry has become increasingly polarized. The Americans, Russians, and Chinese are tomorrow’s heavyweights. While some Canadians find it suspicious no alternative bids were entertained when selecting the F-35, in reality, there are virtually no competitors.

When a government decides to purchase military hardware from another country, it isn’t only thinking about improving the quality of its armed forces. It’s also thinking about the political and strategic signals it’s sending to others.

The arms trade can be a political minefield. Ideally, Canada will buy its fighters from an ally.

In doing so, we’ll avoid sending an unintended message with our purchase and pre-emptively grease the wheels in the event spare parts are needed during periods of crisis. It’s important, too, that Canada signs off with a manufacturer that will survive over the long haul. That will ease maintenance, upgrades, and future developments. Buy Russian? Chinese? Where does that leave Canada? We could approach the French or the Swedes. Both have sophisticated options in the Rafale and Gripen but, like the Super Hornet, these rely on older technology.

Given the huge investment needed to leap into the next generation, both countries are likely to eventually close shop. It’s possible a European consortium, like the one behind the Eurofighter Typhoon, will emerge in the future, but it’s a long shot.

Several European partners have already invested in the F-35 project, so they won’t be inclined to support another risky venture. Like it or not, the era of the European fighter jet is coming to a close.

That leaves Russia and China. Both countries are developing next generation fighters to rival the F-35. Russia began testing the PAK-FA a year ago, while China unveiled its J-20 in January.

But are Canadians really prepared to fly Russian or Chinese jets into battle?

The political and strategic ramification would be monumental. What would our allies think? What would Moscow and Beijing think? Neither option will do. While the F-35 deal isn’t perfect, it’s the only one in town.

Source : Calgary Sun

Un camouflet pour les états-Unis

29/04/11 | 07:00 | Patrick de Jacquelot

La non-sélection du F16 et du F18 constitue un sérieux camouflet pour les Etats-Unis, dont le gouvernement était monté en première ligne pour défendre ses champions. Barack Obama lui-même avait plaidé pour Lockheed Martin et Boeing lors de sa visite à New Delhi fin 2010. Washington comptait recueillir les dividendes du partenariat stratégique noué avec l’Inde. Mais aussi du rôle clef joué par les Etats-Unis à l’automne 2008 en autorisant les transactions nucléaires civiles avec ce pays non signataire du Traité de non-prolifération. Coïncidence ? L’ambassadeur américain à New Delhi a démissionné hier matin. Aucune allusion dans son communiqué à l’actualité : Timothy Roemer quitte son poste pour des raisons familiales et se félicite d’avoir « développé de façon exponentielle » le partenariat Inde – Etats-Unis dans la défense, avec les ventes d’avions C130J et C17. Le calendrier de cette annonce reste pour le moins troublant. Au début du mois, Vivek Lall, patron de Boeing en Inde, a rejoint le groupe indien Reliance Industries.

Les Echos

Chasseurs / Brésil: le russe Su-35 réintègre l’appel d’offres

MOSCOU, 22 avril – RIA Novosti

Le chasseur russe Sukhoi Su-35 réintègre l’appel d’offres brésilien pour l’achat d’un important lot d’avions polyvalents de combat, a annoncé vendredi par téléphone un représentant de l’industrie de défense brésilienne.

« Le chasseur russe Su-35 sera réadmis à l’appel d’offres et il a toutes les chances de le remporter. Le commandement de l’Armée de l’air brésilienne l’apprécie beaucoup », a indiqué le responsable.

En 2001, le Brésil a lancé son premier appel d’offres visant à remplacer ses F-5E américains obsolètes. L’avion russe Su-35UB a remporté ce concours grâce à ses caractéristiques techniques, mais les résultats de l’appel d’offres ont été annulés en 2005. Un nouvel appel d’offres a été lancé en 2008. Le chasseur Su-35 de génération 4++ présenté par l’agence russe d’exportation d’armements « Rosoboronexport » n’y a pas été admis. Le concours brésilien a été suspendu en 2010.

Parmi les concurrents de l’avion russe figurent les chasseurs américain Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, français Dassault Rafale, suédois Saab JAS 39 Gripen NG et européen Eurofighter Typhoon.