Saturday, June 29, 2013

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Friday, June 28, 2013

(En) Israel Will Be First International Customer To Fly Operational F-35 Units

Though late to sign on to the network of nations purchasing the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, Israel will be the first international customer to operate the fifth-generation fighter, Aviation Week’s David Eshel reports. “Israel will become the first non-U.S. operator of the F-35 in the world,” said Steve O’Bryan, Lockheed Martin’s vice president for F-35 program integration and business development in an interview at the Paris air show. The first F-35I combat squadron is expected to achieve initial operational capability in 2018. Eight other countries have already committed to the program with firm contracts.

“The F-35 fighters going into service with these users will use different initial versions that will be upgraded later into the latest version, as it becomes available,” O’Bryan said. That mean F-35s will be tailored to individual nations, he says. “Specific capabilities developed for certain users will remain exclusive, and open to other users only with the original user’s consent. For example, the software blocks pertaining to the Norwegian anti-ship missile will not be available to other F-35 operators except Norway, unless it decides to sell those missiles to one of the F-35 users. The same goes to the Rafael Spice 1000. Similarly, the advanced electronic warfare, data links and specific software modes developed for the Israeli air force will remain unique to Israel and not delivered to any other user. These capabilities will also be fully integrated with the aircraft capabilities, adhering to the stealth characteristics of the aircraft, particularly, at specific apertures cleared for the Israeli systems integration in the lower fuselage and leading edge,” he said.

The first Israeli pilots plan to arrive at Eglin AFB, Fla., for training on the F-35A in early 2016 (Aviation Week, 17 June 2013). The first aircraft is tentatively set to be delivered to the Israel air force toward the end of that year, and arrive in Israel in 2017. These F-35Is will be produced under Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) lots 8, 9 and 10. By that time, all 19 aircraft included under the $2.75 billion order will be delivered to the IAF under the current five-year plan. A follow-on order for more F-35Is is expected in 2018, under the next five-year plan. As the new fighter enters full-production rate, volumes are expected to increase, leading to proportionally lowering cost, expected to drop below $85 million in then-year dollars. Financing of this follow-on procurement is already under discussion with the U.S. Jerusalem is seeking creative ways for Washington’s agreement to guarantee payment for these planes, including the foreign military sales budget allocated annually to Israel. If this concept is approved, Israel will be required to pay for the interest but will be able to commit willingly to follow-on orders and receive the second squadron immediately after the first is delivered.

“With the F-35 Israel is expected to receive the AIM-9X short-range air/air missile (AAM) and the Raytheon AIM-120 AMRAAM Beyond Visual Range (BVR) AAM,” O’Bryan added. The F-35 currently carries the Raytheon AIM-9X Block at the outboard under-wing stations, in non-stealth configuration, as the current Block I missiles cannot be carried internally. This shortcoming will be corrected in Block II, which is to follow soon.

Nevertheless, the optimal weapon carriage for the F-35 comprises exclusively the AMRAAM missiles, enabling the fighter to maximize its “see-first, shoot-first, kill-first” strategy. The next generation BVR-AAM will offer both active and passive guidance techniques, offering effective intercept ranges in excess of 100 km. This makes part of the argument not to include the Rafael Python V missile in the aircraft configuration; the next generation Python VI will be designed to fit the new fighter. Yet, according to IAF sources, a decision whether to use a derivative of the Stunner or a brand-new AAM has yet to be made.

F-35s are prepared to fight air combat as a “networked formation,” sharing all information between all members at all time. The data link used for this process, called MADL, will also be available to all F-35 operators. In addition, Harris Multi-Function Advanced Data-Link (MADL) terminals could be installed on certain support elements, to extend information sharing and update the data available to the stealthy F-35 formation. In addition, the F-35 is now offering Link-16 connectivity and would obviously include a satellite link as well, providing secure, low-probability-of-detection communications on extended range missions.

In August 2012 Lockheed Martin received a $206 million award from the U.S. Navy Naval Air Systems Command, covering the development and integration of Israeli systems in the F-35A. Part of a larger package, the integration support agreement with Lockheed Martin covers a $450 million program to enhance Electronic Warfare (EW) equipment on the F-35, and integrate Israeli-unique systems beginning in 2016.

The US Navy recently received its first F-35C Lightning II that joined the training fleet at Eglin AFB. Israeli pilots are expected here by 2016, toward the handover of the first F-35Is to Israel, in 2017.

“The advantage of this F-35 for the Israel air force is not about higher performance or a specific weapon capacity, but the ability to understand the battlespace, identify, locate targets from standoff range and neutralize them before being engaged,” Brig. Gen. Hagi Topolanski, Chief of Air Staff and Deputy Israeli Air Force Commander, told Aviation Week in a recent interview (Aviation Week subscription required). “These capabilities are meaningful in dealing with modern fighter aircraft and advanced SAMs. While the F-35 has its limitations, it can take on and win against any threat currently available in-theater. Its ability to independently collect, assess and process a battlespace situational picture, and strike those targets by itself, from standoff range, is providing a qualitative edge over anything the enemy can confront with, in the foreseeable future.”

Israel insisted upon a number of requirements throughout the procurement negotiations on the F-35I. Those included the adaptation of the baseline F-35A including all its systems, to the Israeli air force’s operational environment, which will require some necessary additions. “Our F-35I will be equipped with our specific networks, armament and electronic warfare, among them the Spice autonomous EO guided weapon. It will also carry the AIM-9X2 air-to-air missile, which will become the first platform in the IAF to employ this advanced air-to-air missile. We also plan to continue and pursue the development of future air-to-air missiles; we are still evaluating the cost/performance trade-off between a common air-to-air and air-to-ground missile and a dedicated AAM design,” Topolanski explained. “Assuming the F-35 will offer the capabilities it is planned to deliver, it will bring a new dimension to air battles as we know today.”

One of the advantages of the F-35 is the aircraft’s ability to fly long-range missions with internal weapons, accelerate faster and maintain higher speed, compared to current F16s or F-15s or any of the opposing force combat aircraft (flying with internal fuel). To further extend the F-35’s range, Lockheed Martin is exploring an innovative concept from Israel, of using unique drop tanks, developed by Elbit Systems Cyclone. Designed in a similar concept to the F-22 under-wing drop tanks, these tanks, each containing 425 gal. of fuel, will use special attachment pylons that would completely separate from the wing, regaining full stealth capability after separation. An additional 900 gal. of fuel will significantly extend the F-35I range, enabling the IAF to operate its new stealth fighter at the “outer ring” of operation without mandatory aerial refuelling.

(En) The IAF received its first Hercules C-130J

Another step towards the integration of the advanced cargo airplane: Yesterday, the IAF received the first Hercules C-130J manufactured in the United States by Lockheed Martin. The airplane will remain in the company's factories until the special Israeli systems are installed. The Hercules C-130J squadron will be formed in 2014

The Beginning of the Hercules C-130J era: yesterday, in a ceremony held at the American Lockheed Martin factories the IAF received the first Hercules C-130J airplane. The aircraft will remain in the company's manufacturing facilities so that the Israeli systems can be installed, and is due to arrive in Israel in the year of 2014. "Because of the different systems that will be incorporated in the aircraft, its capabilities will be more geared towards the IAF's needs", explained Lieutenant Colonel Uri, commander of the Hercules C-130J squadron establishing team.

Many important members participated in yesterday's ceremony; an IDF attaché stationed in the US, Major General Yaakov Aish, other IAF officials and representatives of the Jewish community alongside Lockheed Martin and the American Air Force representatives. "The transfer of the aircraft was symbolized by a golden key", said Lieutenant Colonel Uri, "it's in the exact place where the first Hercules airplanes manufactured for the IAF in 1971 was transferred. It's a very meaningful event".

The Hercules C-130J is an upgraded version of the Hercules C-130 which has served the IAF for over 40 years, and has participated in many missions. The new purchase will strengthen and advance the strategic arm of the IAF: The Hercules C-130J has advanced capabilities in comparison to the Hercules C-130 and it can transport a larger number of fighters, carry heavier loads and fly longer distances. Soon, aerial teams will fly to the USA in order to learn how to aviate the advanced plane, in preparation for the establishment of an entire squadron of Hercules C-130J aircrafts. "The first airplane is destined to arrive in the year of 2014- we can't wait!"

(Fr) Israël reçoit son premier C-130J

Lockheed Martin a livré, mardi 26 juin, le premier C-130J destiné à Israël. Une cérémonie s’est tenue à Marietta, dans l’Etat de Géorgie, pour marquer symboliquement cette première livraison de l’avion de transport de Lockheed Martin.

Désormais, l’appareil doit subir quelques modifications spécifiques aux besoins israéliens. Ce premier exemplaire doit entrer en service au printemps 2014. Au total, l’armée de l’air israëlienne sera doté à terme de trois C-130J, alors qu’elle exploitait des C130 depuis 1971.

15 pays se sont portés acquéreurs du C-130J à travers le monde, Israël est le dernier client de Lockheed Martin sur cette gamme du C-130. L’appareil avait dépassé en avril dernier le million d’heures de vol.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

(En) Up, up and away at home

Lt. B., 21, who made aliyah from New Jersey in 2009 to serve in the IDF, will receive the coveted pilot's wings this week • "I knew from a young age that Israel was an amazing country, and that I was destined to fall in love with it," he says.

The Israel Air Force's newest group of pilots, Class 166, were all promoted to the rank of lieutenant on Monday, before they receive their coveted pilot's wings this Thursday.

"The rank you carry on your shoulders is a great privilege and also a great responsibility; it is a privilege to have been chosen from the best of the [nation's] youth, and at the same time it is an immense responsibility to ensure the continued existence of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state," Hatzerim Air Force base Commander Brig. Gen. Tal Kalman said on Monday.

Unlike recent previous graduating classes, there were no women in this class. More than half the graduates (54 percent) come from cities, 36% come from rural communities, and 10% hail from moshavim.

Lt. B., 21, who made aliyah from New Jersey in 2009 to serve in the Israel Defense Forces, will also be receiving his wings on Thursday. B.'s parents initially remained in the U.S. and supported him from afar, but two years ago they moved to Israel themselves, and will be among the proud parents at Thursday's ceremony.

The family's move to Israel brought them full circle.

"My mom is Israeli and served as a bureau chief at Hatzerim for five years before meeting my American dad, who was volunteering in the Negev. After they met she moved to the U.S., where I was born," B. said.

B. graduated from a religious high school in the U.S., and went straight to a year-long program at a military preparation school in the Golan Heights. The year gave him time to adjust to Israeli society, although he was already familiar with the country from his summer visits as a child.

"I knew from a young age that Israel was an amazing country, and that I was destined to fall in love with it," he said.

However, the move still proved difficult, despite his perfect Hebrew.

"There is a big difference between New Jersey and Israel, and it was hard for me to adjust, mainly due to cultural differences," he said. "There are good people in the both places, but in Israel the feeling is more familial, whereas in the U.S. things are more formal. It took me a long time to understand the mentality here."

B. said his friends in the pilots' course helped him deal with the language and social difficulties.

"One commander challenged me to read a book in Hebrew every month," he said. "I took up the task and read a lot, and my Hebrew improved dramatically."

Monday, June 24, 2013

(Fr) Israël frappe la bande de Gaza après avoir subi des tirs de roquettes

Après deux mois de relative accalmie, la violence a de nouveau frappé la bande de Gaza. L'armée de l'air israélienne a annoncé avoir lancé des attaques aériennes, dans la nuit du dimanche 23 au lundi 24 juin, sur ce territoire palestinien, après avoir essuyé des tirs de roquettes plus tôt dans la soirée.

Ces raids interviennent presque sept mois jour pour jour après la mise en place d'une trêve, le 21 novembre, entre le parti Hamas, au pouvoir, et Israël. Cet accord avait été conclu au terme d'une semaine d'hostilités meurtrières. Depuis, des roquettes ont été tirées à plusieurs reprises sur le sud de l'Etat hébreu, des tirs la plupart du temps revendiqués par des groupes salafistes remettant en cause l'autorité du Hamas.

Les tirs de missiles de dimanche, qui visaient là encore le sud de l'Etat hébreu, n'ont fait ni dégât ni blessé, selon des sources militaires. Deux roquettes ont atteint le sol israélien, et deux autres ont été interceptées en vol par Iron Dome, le système de défense de l'armée.   En réponse, Tsahal a annoncé sur Twitter avoir ciblé avec succès "des infrastructures terroristes" de la bande de Gaza, d'où avaient été tirées les roquettes. Des témoins palestiniens ont pour leur part indiqué que ces raids aériens avaient touché des zones inhabitées, et n'avaient pas fait de blessé.

Dans un communiqué (en anglais), l'armée israélienne a imputé la responsabilité des tirs de roquettes, qui n'ont pas été pour le moment revendiqués, au mouvement islamiste Hamas. Le point de passage de Kerem Shalom, réservé au transit de marchandises entre Israël et la bande de Gaza, sera par ailleurs fermé jusqu'à nouvel ordre, précise le communiqué.

(En) IAF strikes Gaza targets in response to rocket fire

Air force strikes arms depots, rocket launching site in response to six rockets fired towards Bnei Shimon, Netivot, Ashkelon regional council overnight; Ya'alon orders closing of Kerem Shalom, Erez crossings.

The air force struck what it said were two arms depots in the center of the Gaza Strip, a rocket launching site and a terror activity site in the southern part of the Strip overnight Sunday.
All targets were accurately hit, the IDF Spokesman’s Office said.

The air strikes came as retaliation for six rockets that were fired from Gaza into the South late Sunday night. Four rockets were fired towards the Bnei Shimon council area and Netivot. The Iron Dome rocket defense system intercepted two rockets fired towards the Ashkelon Regional Council. No injuries or damage were reported in the attacks.

As a result of the rocket fire, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon also ordered the closing of the Kerem Shalom and Erez border crossings between Israel and Gaza for the transport of commercial goods.

"Code Red" sirens were heard in the regional councils of Rahat, Netivot, Bnei Shimon and Lahavim.
The rockets are thought to have been fired by Islamic Jihad but no organization has taken credit for the attack yet.The rockets have shattered a lengthy period of calm enjoyed by civilians in southern Israel.
Early on Wednesday morning, "Code Red" warning sirens sounded in Ashkelon and surrounding areas.
Shortly after the sirens went off, three rockets fell in Palestinian areas, Israel Radio reported. The rocket attack marked the first time Palestinian terrorists in Gaza have attempted to strike Israel for nearly two months.

About 20 rockets have been fired by militant groups this year. Several rockets were fired during US President Barack Obama’s visit in March.

The rocket fire broke a months-long period during which the Hamas regime in Gaza restrained elements in the coastal enclave, bringing about quiet. Since Operation Pillar of Defense in November, there have been few incidents of rocket fire.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

(En) First Israeli Boeing 737 Flys C-MUSIC DIRCM Self-Protection System

Elbit Systems is presenting the newest member of the MUSIC Directional Infrared Countermeasure (DIRCM) systems at the 2013 Paris Airshow. Defense-Update reports.

The new, compact system dubbed ‘mini-MUSIC’ is designed to protect small rotary and fixed-wing aircraft against heat seeking Ground to Air Missiles (MANPADS) threats. In 2012 the company has demonstrated the C-MUSIC pod system in flight, mounted on a Boeing 707 flying testbed. More recently the system was installed on a Boeing 737 passenger jet to be used for type certification. The system has been selected for the Israeli national program for protection of Israel’s commercial fleet, installing MUSIC DIRCMs on Boeing B737, B747, B757, B767, B777 and Airbus A320 platforms. While all relevant aircraft will be fitted with the A-kit attachments, MUSIC DIRCM systems will be provided to those aircraft flying to high threat destinations or such locations reported to be high-risk, based on short-term assessments.

The proliferation of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, particularly with terrorist groups operation in Asia, Africa and Latin America has increased the demand for DIRCM, protection helicopters, medium and large transport planes, as well as VIP aircraft and heads of state transportation aircraft (VVIP). Several manufacturers are currently developing similar systems, including Northrop Grumman, Selex ES, BAE Systems and Raytheon – all developing lightweight DIRCM systems under the CIRCM . The Israeli system is considered the most mature of these systems

Elbit System’s DIRCM systems are providing optimal solutions for the ever-growing MANPADS threat. Mini-MUSIC is a derivative of the flight-tested MUSIC, packed in a single compact and lightweight package. The MUSIC family now includes four systems providing protection for all different aircraft types: MUSIC designed for protection of medium to large rotary and fixed-wing aircraft; C-MUSIC – the world’s first DIRCM system in production for commercial jet aircraft; J-MUSIC – for distributed installation for aircraft such as military transport, air refueling tankers, business jets, etc. and mini-MUSIC – for small and medium sized platforms.

The system comprises a fiber-laser based DIRCM housed in a sealed turret for maximized reliability. A missile warning system provides the initial detection of incoming threats. When a threatening missile is detected, the warning is passed to the DIRCM that then directs a thermal tracker to acquire and track the threat. A powerful laser beam is then fired accurately at the missile causing it to be deflected away from the aircraft.

Elbit Systems is under contract to provide MUSIC based DIRCMs for several customers, including the Italian Air Force for C130J, C27J and CSAR AW101 (together with our Italian partners at ELT), the KC-390 for EMBRAER and the Brazilian Air Force, VIP helicopters

Monday, June 17, 2013

(Fr) Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) présente son TaxiBot au Bourget

Alors que Safran et Honeywell annonçaient hier, la présentation de leur système de taxiage électrique (EGTS) lors du salon, Israel Aerospace industries présentera un système similaire concurrent : TaxiBot, le véhicule semi-robotisé conçu pour transporter des avions depuis l'aérogare vers les pistes.

Le système, qui aurait dépassé les attentes au cours des derniers tests effectués à Châteauroux, a commencé des tests avancés sur son étalonnage, sa préparation et sa certification à l'aéroport de Francfort ce mois-ci. Ces essais sont effectués sur un Boeing 737 de Lufthansa avec le soutien de Boeing et des représentants des autorités EASA et ACCI.

Après la certification, l'évaluation sur la mise en service sera effectuée sur des vols commerciaux au départ de l'aéroport de Francfort.

Friday, June 14, 2013

(En) Elbit offers cockpit upgrade for aged Hercules - 10 Jun 2013

Elbit Systems has developed a cockpit upgrade package for the Lockheed Martin C-130H, describing its C-Suite Tactical design as enabling customers to meet demanding conditions in low-altitude operating environments.

By integrating aircraft sensors and systems, pilots are able to see real-time flight information projected on a head-up, head-down or helmet-mounted display, resulting in greater situational awareness and enhanced safety, Elbit says.

Key elements of the full upgrade package include a Northrop Grumman APN-241 terrain following/terrain avoidance system; a terrain awareness and warning system; and enhanced and synthetic vision systems (SVS). This combination, along with real-time reference to a digital terrain elevation database, enables accurate low-level flight in any condition and regardless of terrain or the presence of man-made obstacles, says Gil Russo, a senior director at Elbit's aerospace division.

The SVS, meanwhile, shows a 3-D synthetic image of the external environment on a flight display.

Elbit was recently awarded a contract by the Israeli defence ministry to upgrade the Israeli air force's C-130H transports. The modernisation project will extend the operational life of the aircraft and significantly improve their operational capability, particularly during precision flying, low-level night flight and operations in adverse weather conditions.

The effort will replace obsolete analogue cockpit systems, which have become unreliable and costly to maintain after four decades of intensive service.

(En) Israeli air force to get Heron UAS mission trainer - 10 Jun 2013

Israel Aerospace Industries is in the advanced development phase for an unmanned air system mission trainer (UMT) to be employed by the Israeli air force, an operator of its Heron system.

According to the company, the UMT will assist the service in meeting the growing demand for well-trained operational crews by providing training that complies with the increasing complexity and variety of UAS missions.

High-fidelity training and simulation features range from a basic internal pilot and operator training system to full mission crew and multi-team training, including accurate payload models for electro-optical/infrared, radar and signals intelligence sensors. The system uses an instructor operating system to support planning, briefing, debriefing and trainee progress monitoring, IAI says.

Shaul Shahar, general manager of the company's Malat division, says use of the UMT will reduce training costs and improve personnel operational skills.

IAI has already delivered various UMT versions to foreign customers, and can adapt its technology to support any type of UAV and payload.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

(En) Elisra to unveil UAS self-protection suite

Elisra is to unveil a new self-protection suite for unmanned air systems during the 17-23 June Paris air show.

The Elbit Systems company says it has developed the SPS-65V5 system using experience gained by producing a wide range of electronic warfare and signals intelligence equipment for manned fighters, utility aircraft and helicopters operated by numerous nations.

Elisra general manager Edgar Maimon says the increased global use of UAS is accompanied by a growing demand to provide such assets with survivability capabilities to protect their mission, the platform and its valuable sensors.
Elbit Hermes 900 UAV - Credit Elbit Systems
The self-protection equipment could be used with types including the Hermes 900 tactical UAS
  Described as being capable of protecting unmanned aircraft against "a great variety of threats" in a hostile area, the new self-protection system is suitable for integration with a variety of types, ranging in size from tactical to high-altitude, long-endurance UAS, the company says.  

The specific capabilities of the SPS-65V5 are classified, it adds.

(En) Royal Thai Air Force visits Israel

The Royal Thai Air Force has a strong bond with the IAF: six months ago, two IAF pilots flew to Thailand for a training visit to the royal force's bases. Last week, aerial Thai air crew members arrived in Israel for a visit to IAF bases

The IAF has developed many strong bonds with allies across the seas: one of the important relationships is with the Royal Thai Air Force. Accordingly, ten Thai air crew members arrived in Israel last week for a special visit around the country and IAF bases. "We came here to observe the IAF's activities, their air crew qualification process, and the technological advancements", said Colonel Napaj Dofatmia, commander of the delegation and deputy commander of the operational formation of the Royal Thai Air Force. "Regardless, this is our first visit to Israel and it completely changed my entire perception of the country. I imagined Israel in a very different way".

Once every two years, two IAF air crew members of the combat formation are sent for a visit to Thailand, in order to conduct various seminars for small groups of Thai air crew members. Their arrival in Israel is a reciprocal visit. Members of the Thai delegation visited Hatzerim and Nevatim airbases and were impressed by the IAF's Aviation Academy. "This visit is a chance for us to see things we have never seen before", added commander of the delegacy, "There are many cultural differences between both forces, yet many things to learn from one another".